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, March 23, 2013

Gratitude for Small Things

Clients sometimes ask "what do I have to be grateful for?"

I believe the answer is in our perspective. Depending upon my view, I can find a lot to be ungrateful for. Or I can find a lot of things to be grateful for.

While reflecting upon what I was going to write this morning I thought of gratitude. And I thought of gratitude because I appreciate things others might find trivial or inconsequential.

For example, this morning after I returned from the gym at 5 am I was greeted by our two Chihuahuas РJos̩ and Lucy.

Of course, the only reason they were awake so early is because they were hungry. And, as is my habit, while I was preparing their food, I asked José "are you hungry?"

And, as he does about half the time, he replied in an almost human voice "uh huh." He also replies in the same voice with the same "uh huh" when I ask him if he wants to go for a ride or if he wants a treat. Might sound stupid or silly but I'm grateful to have these animals in our lives. Maybe it's because they're loving and mostly happy and only whine when they really need something. Nothing like us addicts.

Something else I'm grateful for - and I can't really put my finger on it - is the two beautiful ducks - a male and female - that show up in our swimming pool this time of year. I'm not even sure they're the same two ducks because ducks all have pretty much the same wardrobe. In any event, twice a year two ducks show up and hang out - sometimes all day. After I feed them they rest on the side the pool in the shade or laze around in the water. Even though they're messy and kind of aloof - only friendly when they want food - I'm always pleased when they come to visit.

Sometimes I reflect on where they go when they're not here. Do they go to Canada? Or maybe Flagstaff? And what kind of navigation system allows them to show up back here at this particular house in suburbia?

Somehow this connection to nature is a way of affirming that there is a power greater than ourselves that orchestrates this complex world in which we live.

Having gratitude for the small things enriches my life.