Updated: Jan 1
I know many people, who read this blog from around the world, do not celebrate Thanksgiving as we do here in the states. For us, it's meant to be a day where we express gratitude for the things, people, and positivity in our lives. As children, we really couldn't care less about the gratitude as much as we tended to look forward to the meal and especially the desserts afterward. As we grew older, some of the gratitudes began to make sense. We started listening to the adults share what they were grateful for around the table before we ate. Some of what the adults said made sense, some of it did not. Nevertheless, we began to actually feel small amounts of gratitude for things in our lives.
As we grew up, things began to change. I can't speak for everyone but in my young adult life, I lost touch with the essence of Thanksgiving. I was too busy worrying about myself and my life to consider thanking anyone for what I had at the time. Granted, I was also drowning any gratitude I might have had in alcohol for most of my young adult life. Now, as an adult on the other end of his life span, I have come full circle. I am understanding gratitude again but from an entirely different level. I cannot get through the day without feeling grateful for the people in my life, for the things I enjoy, and for the old and new talents, I continue to explore. Today, I could not imagine living without gratitude.
One of the most humbling aspects of sobriety is the realization we may have burned some bridges, lost some good friends, and generally fucked up with some people who may have been good for us. The hardest part is when you finally realize your mistakes and decide to reach out again in an effort to reconnect and make amends. People do not always reciprocate the gesture, and most of the time this is rightfully so. Swallowing that pill is never fun, and it can also curb our enthusiasm to try again with others in the future. While this day is meant to be a day of thanks, I am also reminded of those people with who I may have lost connection, indefinitely. To those people, I would like to say I am now grateful for what you tried to be in my life. I am sorry I was unable to see it at the time. I will try not to make the same mistakes in the future.
Family is the most obvious thing to be thankful for on this day. I have a very small family, extended or otherwise. We have had a long road together, and we have often lost touch with one another along the way. Some of us stay in touch and remain close. Others not so much. For those of you, I remain close with, I am grateful for your presence in my life. I appreciate your support and patience with me as I continue to find my way in the world. I know I have not always been an easy person to support. For those of you in my family, I am not in close contact with, I am grateful for you as well. While we may not play an active role in each other's lives, I know there is no animosity between us, and I hope we can find our way back to each other in the future. To my oldest son, whom I have lost connection with, I hope you will forgive my inadequacies as a father and know I have grown leaps and bounds as a person since we knew each other. I am always here if and when you are ready to give our relationship another chance.
To my partner and youngest son, I am grateful more than you could ever know for your presence in my life. We have been through a lot together. It seems, all of our hard work and dedication to build and remain a family has finally come to fruition. I am thankful to spend this Thanksgiving with you both as a family. To my partner, well, what do you say to the one person who has been there through it all. I would not be the person I am today if it were not for you and your love and support. I will always be indebted to you for helping me find my true self. Of course, what makes you even more beautiful and me even more thankful, is how it would never even occur to you to think you did anything worthy of someone's debt. Thank you, for being in my life. To my youngest son, you are the epitome of kindness and empathy. I love how much you feel and how much you try to make others happy. I hope you will carry that with you for the rest of your life. I look forward to seeing you grow, and to see who you become. Thank you for helping me learn how to be a better father.
Friends often rate highly on our gratitude list during Thanksgiving. While I think I whittled down my friend pool over the course of my life, I know there are still a few of you who get me, even after all my shenanigans. For you I am grateful. I hope I continue to grow and learn how to give back as much as I have received over the years. I am extremely grateful for the new friends I have made along this crazy new journey of mine. Many of you I have never met, though I feel as close to you as anyone I have met in person. I appreciate your support and willingness to learn and grow with me as we continue to forge our way down these new and ever-changing paths. To the new friends, I have not yet met, I look forward to beginning our relationships with an open heart, mind, and love as a person who appreciates and respects the blessing that comes with connection.
It may seem things are not as important as the people in our lives, but I believe some things warrant just as much gratitude as people. For me, something I give thanks for every day is our beautiful home. I feel blessed to live in a home I truly call home and one I feel safe and proud to live in. There have been plenty of times in my life where that was not the case. Another thing I feel incredibly thankful for is my desire, passion, and determination to write. It has changed my life over the past year, and I look forward to seeing where this passion leads me. I mean, I already know, but I look forward to watching it happen. I am grateful for my job, while it may be somewhat temporary (those of you who truly know me understand why), it is a great career to be a part of. I work with some truly amazing people. My students remind me every day how powerful the human mind, spirit, and potential are. I am grateful to be a part of their journies as well.
Another "thing" I am grateful for, and it can be considered one of the most important, is my sobriety. I spent a lot of my life lost in my addictions. I have to remember not to blame myself for all the lost time, it is already gone. We all make mistakes, some of ours are more detrimental than others, the important thing is whether or not we learn from them. While it may have taken me a long time to finally figure this out, I finally did, and I could not be happier. Looking back, it seems like such a simple thing I did. If you have followed me at all, you know I have considered it to actually be quite easy. With that in mind, it is sometimes hard to imagine how much has manifested from such a simple change. Letting go of drinking, nicotine, and other damaging behaviors opened up a world for me I am still trying to get used to believing and understanding. I have learned to live with intention, to be productive, to be present, and to be grateful.
Sobriety has given me so many things, but I have also come to realize something else. Sobriety is just a word. It means living without alcohol. While it may have been the catalyst for my positive transformation, "it" does not define me. I was the one who found the courage, determination, and desire to do the work required to become the person I am today. With that in mind, I would be remiss if I did not say I am also grateful for myself. We often forget we are a culmination of our beliefs, thoughts, and actions. When all those things align, we have the capacity to be and do anything we want. My beliefs, thoughts, and actions are finally starting to align and I am thankful not only to be aware of them but also to have the wherewithal to act on them. I hope acting on my beliefs, thoughts, and actions will also help others find their own truths so they too can begin living the life you and we all deserve.
My last gratitude I wish to share comes from deep within my heart. I hope I can adequately articulate my truth here. I am humbled and feel blessed for each and every person who has ever taken the time to read my blog, listen to my podcast, or made comments regarding your thoughts. Your continued support encouraged me to keep writing, to keep learning, and to keep trying to find ways to help others. It was the most unexpected consequence of my sobriety, and it is one for which I feel incredibly thankful. Thank you, from the depth of my heart, for your support. I am here today because of you.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. What are you grateful for today?
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