Dear Hope Nation,
“There is nothing new under the sun.” King Solomon in Ecclesiastes
Old Solomon was absolutely right, on this and many other topics. As long as people are people and the earth is the earth, nothing new appears, just the same things in new relationships. Likewise, in recovery on whatever pathway, the foundation doesn’t change over time. From SMART to Three Principles to AA to NA to HA to Recovery Dharma to any other mode of recovery a through-line exists: the importance of gratitude, a fundamental endorsement of identifying and listing things for which we are grateful. I don’t keep going to meetings of various kinds with the hope I’ll learn something new. I do it to prevent my forgetting the things I’ve already learned, to remind myself of what has worked in the past and is likely to go on working.
When I first got into recovery, my first mentor uttered a sentence that would have been true for Solomon, applies today and will likely work for my great-great-grandchildren: “a grateful heart will never use.” That’s so important, let me repeat it. “A grateful heart will never use.”
I know life in the US today is tough, with millions out of work, almost a hundred-thousand infected with coronavirus, thousands dead and an uncertain future. Still, when we reflect on our blessings–and we still have many—we find comfort. When we complain, we find none. Given the choice between warm comfort and cold judgment, only a fool would choose the latter.
Let me take the example of coronavirus in New Hampshire today and try to squeeze some joy out of this seemingly poisonous fruit. My gratitude list, with no items that were true 13 years ago.
Gratitude List 3/26/20
- I can call friends and fellow recoverees for support, friendship or just to shoot the breeze.
- I have enough food to last me for a while. None of it is outdated or just plain disgusting (e.g., no canned beets, canned meats or leftover Halloween candy).
- I have enough clothes to wear, sometimes for two or three days in a row. Still, they keep me warm and are in good repair.
- My house is heated.
- I have a flush toilet and a working shower.
- I have a dog who really loves me.
- I have enough money to get through today
- I can look myself in the eye with pride rather than disgust.
- I can finish each day with pride and begin each day with excited anticipation.
- I don’t need to drink or use today.
And neither do you! If you’re feeling like using, please, please, please reach out for support and help. Go to Hope’s website (hopefornhrecovery.org) and get hooked up with a recovery coach! Text or call a friend. Text or call your sister. Hell, if you’ve got no one else, text or call me (603)361-6266. You don’t have to use.
Be thankful for today. It is a beautiful day! Really! None of us have seen this one before and none will ever see it again.
You matter. I matter. We matter.