Today, for whatever reason, I am keyed in on gratitude and expectations. There is a Ray Wylie Hubbard song where he says something along the lines of when gratitude is higher than expectations, the day is sure to be a good one. I remember my first few months in recovery very well. I was not grateful at all, for anything. I was stuck in a victim mentality and had myself convinced that life had given me the rough end of the shaft and it was outside of my power to change that. I was miserable when I was using and miserable when I was not using, and those jerks at the meeting hall were sober and happy about that fact which pissed me off even more. My cynical self thought that there was no way these people were actually sober and the reason they were happy is because they had found a way to use without all the terrible consequences that are associated with using. Fortunately, only part of that was true. On my own I most certainly did not have the power to change my situation. The rest of what my sick mind dreamed up was, for the most part, in my head. After a while hanging in there and really getting to know some people it hit me that they had something I could not even imagine, peace. They weren’t battling the day in and day out war against wanting and not wanting to use. The were, in fact, sober and very happy about it. At that point I wanted some of that because I was “white-knuckling” like a mother and was not far from putting something in my body to quell the storm raging in my mind. So, I got a sponsor and went through the 12-steps. (Please do not misunderstand, I am not saying that a 12-step program is the ONLY way. Different people need different routes to the best versions of themselves and I had tried almost everything else and nothing had worked for me.) A short time later, I had gotten there, I had found some genuine peace and I can not describe how great that feels. It is insanely easy, especially early on in recovery, to put expectations on everything and be grateful for almost nothing. When I find myself feeling particularly ungrateful at how a situation has turned out or how someone is acting, I make an A-Z gratitude list. (Sidenote: Zaxby’s is always my Z). I have learned that putting things I am grateful for down on paper helps put things in perspective for me. Five years ago I was essentially homeless, on the brink of death, and had burned every bridge possible in my life. Today, I am married, own my own home, have two beautiful children who will hopefully never have to see me drunk or high, and I have a job I absolutely love where I get to help people like myself. I have everything to be grateful for today. If for nothing else, I SHOULD be grateful that I did not wake up homeless, destitute, dopesick, broke, and alone today and, if I continue to do what I have been taught to do, I don’t ever have to wake up that way again. I hope everyone has a great day!