“A Grateful Heart Will Never Drink” (guest gratitude by Diane K.)
Personal note from Lauren:
I asked Diane to be my very first guest blogger as she has been an instrumental part of my gratitude journey. Diane was my very first sponsor in my 12-Step fellowship and came into my life when I really needed guidance and to be shown that a life without booze is one to be GRATEFUL for. Her wise words of “A grateful heart will never drink” will stick with me every day for the rest of my life.
That lantern that she says the other women carried for her? She carried that lantern for me for the first 2 years of my sobriety. Diane exudes light.
So when I decided to add guest blog posts, for me, there was no better option than to ask Diane. She is just lovely and a wonderful example of light and love to the women of my local meetings. I love you, Diane. Thank you! Love, Lauren
GUEST POST BY DIANE:
I was not raised on a diet of gratitude.
No – the emotions most familiar to me were fear, shame and isolation. My alcoholic, violence-ridden family of origin created a child most comfortable with being invisible. As a teen, not an easy time to begin with, I developed a strong case of resentment. I felt I’d been entitled to a better home life, a safe family, freedom from fear and shame, and I knew I’d been cheated.
As a young adult, I tried to extract the care-taking I believed I was owed, getting into relationships for all the wrong reasons, and growing ever more resentful. I was angry; I was afraid of life; I was so lost.
The one reward I gave myself was alcohol – it ‘took the edge off’ and enabled me to be more comfortable around people. Drinking seemed like the solution to all life’s problems. It became my best friend – until I eventually had to admit that it was ruining my life and I was powerless to stop.
I’d heard throughout my childhood that I had to “pull myself up by my own bootstraps,” and “stand on my own two feet,” so I kept trying to control my drinking by myself. My self-sufficiency nearly killed me, and was ruining the lives of my children.
Desperate, I finally reached out for help. And strangers grabbed that hand and held on.
It has been a long road, with lots of twists and turns. But the very day I finally reached for help, I experienced a miracle: I didn’t drink that day. And I was able to tuck my two little girls into bed that night, sober.
I sure didn’t know it then, but that’s when my journey in gratitude started. I came to count on the support and guidance of some wonderful women who shared with me how they had changed their lives. Without judgment or criticism, they helped me begin to learn how to have healthy, caring relationships. They taught me how to mother my daughters, as I had no history of my own to draw from.
Those women were ahead on a path I wanted to stay on, carrying the lamp that would light my way. Others had done the same for them, and, in gratitude, they were now doing so for me. Somewhere along the line, I was able to pick up the lamp and begin lighting the way for others, showing them there was a solution to their misery, and leading them to the steps that could be the way out.
When I was drinking, I’d sunk pretty low, and I was ashamed of many choices I’d made along the way. I am grateful that I didn’t get what I deserved, but instead was given the gift of sobriety. Eventually, I even became grateful that I was an alcoholic – because that has led me to an amazing new way to live.
It’s not that everything suddenly became perfect – not at all. Life has dished up some really painful situations. A miserable marriage, breast cancer, a brother’s suicide – all these and more challenged my ability to carry the light. But I firmly believe what I heard when I was first getting sober: “A grateful heart will never drink.” And I’ve found it to be true. Some people in sobriety say they’re grateful they were given a second chance at life. I’m grateful that I’ve been given a chance for a second life.
I am grateful that I have learned how to have real relationships, ones based on trust and kindness rather than control or manipulation. Because of this, I have a family beyond my wildest dreams. I’m grateful beyond words for my relationship with my kind, wise, trustworthy husband, a gift I’m very conscious of after the misery of my first marriage. I’m grateful that, in becoming a different woman, I was able to form a very different union.
My little girls are all grown up now, and I treasure my relationships with them. They don’t remember the drinking mom I was when they were young (for which I’m VERY grateful), and trust me to be nurturing, supportive and loving. They’ve become capable young women who were happy to help take care of me after my recent knee replacement surgery.
I am grateful. My gratitude is almost never for anything material (though I am still grateful for the adorable house my husband and I found after a long search). Most of all, I’m grateful for the people in my life. I have true, loving, joyful relationships, and am blessed by many wonderful friends, with whom I share life’s ups and downs.
I think that, for me, gratitude has become its own light, a torch I carry into whatever I do and wherever I go. I enjoy the richness of a multifaceted life, and am so grateful that I am eager for what life brings rather than cowering in the darkness of fear and resentment as I did so many years ago.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.gratitudeaddict.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/image.png[/author_image] [author_info]by Diane K.
Diane lives out in the country, where she laughs every time she hears her neighbors’ donkeys bray or their goats bleat. She adores her husband and daughters, and especially enjoys spending time with her rescued dogs, both of whom are certified therapy dogs. She considers herself to be in those golden years of life when she cares little for what other people think of her, and simply enjoys being herself.