As a recovering addict, there is really only one thing I can’t do, and that’s pick up a drink or a drug. That being said, there are many things I ‘ought to’ do, and leading that list is nurturing the practice of gratitude. Like many people around the world, I too, felt the shockwaves of the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Many of us are in disbelief that someone so brash and caustic is set to become the leader of the most powerful country on the planet.
Yet, here I sit at my computer feeling grateful… Grateful that I’m an addict in recovery. Grateful for the countless hours spent in 12-step meetings most often taking place in musty church basements. Grateful for the gallons of bitter coffee I’ve consumed drawn from immense silver coffee urns that have seen better days. Grateful for the uncomfortable folding chairs that populate these meeting rooms. Grateful for the ‘still-struggling addict’ who wanders into our meetings. Grateful that to the right of me sits a Bay Street banker who has lost everything to addiction, and to the left of me sits a young man, homeless yet not broken of the spirit to crawl out from the ravages of his addiction.
Yes, today I am grateful for my addiction because for many days every week for the past 19 years, it as brought me to recovery rooms where I come face to face with what scares me most—‘you’. My illness likes to tell me I’m ‘different’ from you… My addiction likes to whisper to me that I should fear everything about you. Today, I’m grateful for those moments of clarity that remind me that you and I are not so different. If I am willing to truly see you, and really listen to you, I might just receive the grace of change that comes only in community.
Yes, today I’m grateful I am an addict in recovery... It's far too easy for me to smugly condemn the sense of myopia south of the border that led to the election of Donald Trump. The reality is that there is a growing movement around the world in which people are choosing 'fear' over 'acceptance'... choosing to silence the most vulnerable under the auspice of 'national self-interest' and a return to a so-called 'golden era'. What I fear most is that just as globalization has made our 'world smaller', somehow in the process, our hearts have become 'smaller' too.
Yes, today I am grateful for you.