Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Power of Gratitude

Yesterday I received some 25 or 30 text messages and phone calls from friends and associates, wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving. These messages made the day one of reflection and gratitude about how great life is today.

As someone who's been in recovery for many years, and who works in the recovery field, gratitude is a presence in my life. It's a rare day that someone doesn't show up expressing gratitude for being sober, being thankful for TLC and what it's done for their life. These words are gifts that keep on giving. I have a warm feeling about the messages I received yesterday.

But gratitude is about more than warm and fuzzy feelings. If we are cloaked in an aura of gratitude we shield ourselves from negativity. We are armed against those who are feeling bad and who might bring us down with their problems. Instead of reacting, we can offer positive suggestions to those who are facing difficulties. We can walk through our day relatively unscathed.

We may ask "what do I have to be grateful for?"

But if we open our minds and our hearts can always find something. Many of us have contemporaries who have succumbed to our disease. Some in our lives are suffering from negativity and bad attitudes. If we can't find something to be positive about at least we can be thankful we're not in the same space. We can find lessons from those who are grappling with issues they have difficulty overcoming. 

We can develop the mental and emotional tools to realize that life presents challenges to all of us – but that the right attitude will help us deal with these challenges in a positive way.