I think becoming grateful is something that just happens. For me it happened March 15th 2007.
Before that there was good but I could not name it. The things that I thought were special were mostly materialistic. I loved my son—he was and still is a precious part of my life—but at the time I did not know how great that was.
I came to be grateful when I finally admitted defeat. I could not go on deceiving everyone and myself. I placed myself in the care of my Higher Power and was ready for whatever that meant, including the consequences and the possibility of losing my family and my home.
This process happened over time. It was mixture of meetings, sponsorship, and Tamarack. I am thankful for Tamarack. I had to be removed from my old life so I could learn to live a new one.
I maintain gratitude by knowing I am still growing. 7 ½ years later I am grateful for who I am and not what I have. I don’t have to be that man who controls everything and everyone. I am grateful that I don’t have the answer. That just means that I will experience learning something soon, patience perhaps. More importantly, I know that if the answer isn’t what I want, I can still have a good day.
There are times when feeling gratitude can be more of a challenge but that is when I know something is going on. I make it challenging for myself with selfishness, when I go to the “pity party” or when I want to take back my power and my definition of a good or bad day. At times like that I ask for the power to change my thinking and enjoy the day instead.
Being grateful is no longer difficult. It feels more normal to be grateful now.
If you would have asked me ten years ago what I was grateful for I would have said it was all the things I accomplished on my own. Now I see that everything that is special has come from my higher power and not my doing. Today I am grateful for my God-given sobriety and everything that falls from that. And everything does fall from that.