“as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” – King Solomon
We in recovery know: “there is no room for anger or resentment in a grateful heart.” This mental posture of recognizing and inventorying the grace; the good fortune and blessings in our lives brings a more positive focus, one that diminishes those darker spiritual senses.
Just as we perceive the world through our five physical filters: taste, touch, sound, sight and smell, we experience our spiritual life through five emotional, ethereal senses: fear, anger, joy, sadness and surprise. Do you suppose that three of these are negative and two are positive filters? What if I were to say that there are productive levels of all of them?
We chronic alcoholics are advised in our fellowship’s primary literature: resentments and their predecessors – fear and it’s reactive state, anger – these are the most common causes of relapse.Â At this phase of my development, that makes sense to me. These volatile emotional states can mushroom into an overwhelming desire to escape the immense spiritual tension they bring and the technique most often misconceived as the easiest, quickest route to relief is through numbing the senses with alcohol and/or a combination of drugs. Or is there another way – how about taking a moment to see life through a window of gratitude? It’s a bit like replacement therapy, a skill that requires practice, repetition and reinforcement, ( three elements of reaching tangible results).
I do it through using my “Gratitude List” – what I have to be thankful for – a running inventory of my blessings. Beginning with the simple gifts of life and health, food, clothing and shelter, the presence of love and my sobriety, I then move on to the people, places and things, the situations and circumstances that are blessings in my world. When I recognize them making this effort, it nearly always negates my mind’s focus on fear, anger and resentment. Yes – it takes an effort, but one for which I am thankful. It was given to me by my little-old-red-haired sage sponsor with 33 years of continuous recovery.
If Mae hadn’t shown me this basic technique of positive reinforcement, I might’ve gotten to a spot where my perceived need to escape would have overcome my gratitude, blurring the clear window of thankfulness that can bring me to the state of honest humility I seek: “knowing who and what I am, as well as what I can be if I apply these principles to all my life’s situations.”
Try it. In an old movie, “Going My Way” – Bing Crosby – in his character, Fr. O’Malley sang it in a song: “Counting My Blessings.”He used it to go to sleep, (not a bad idea) – but I use it to maintain my sanity and stay sober.
Thankful for you all,
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