Attitude of Gratitude

23 May

This is a very bittersweet weekend for me. Memorial Day weekend was the last time I drank, three years ago, on a girls’ trip to NYC. It’s the kickoff to summer, and right now the sun is shining brightly and it’s beautiful outside. Last night as I drove kids to various activities, I couldn’t help but notice all the people in our neighborhood who were sitting outside, enjoying the evening with a nice cold beverage. Visiting with neighbors, coming out after a long, cold winter. There are certainly going to be challenges for me this weekend. But I’m so much stronger now than this same weekend one year into my sobriety, even two.

For some reason, anniversaries of sobriety are hard for me. I get very anxious and squirmy. I’ve written about that on my one-year and two-year celebrations of my recovery. There’s great potential for “stinkin thinkin” as they say. Potential for me to think that I’ve made it this far and that now I would be okay “just having one drink.” Or potential to say that I’ve made it this long, that’s enough. Vivid memories of all the fun I had in NYC that weekend come rushing back. But so do the haunting visions of my hands shaking at lunch until I got a glass (or six) of wine in me and nearly throwing up on stage at a Broadway show (a story for another day). And I’ll never forget sitting on the street corner in New York, at four in the morning, finally admitting to my friend that I was an alcoholic. That same friend hasn’t missed a single day, now three years later, with the same text every morning checking on me. That’s pretty high up there on my gratitude list.

Other friends have continued to hold me up, support me and carry me when times got tough and the power of this cunning, baffling disease tried to overtake me. They wouldn’t let it. I’m grateful to them and especially to my sponsor, who is even able to simply sense when I am having a difficult time and shows up at my doorstep. And it goes without saying (obviously not if I’m saying it) that I couldn’t do this without the love and support of my family. To have my thirteen-year old daughter tell me that she’s proud of me means the world to me. Can you say gratitude?

Thanks for the comments on my blog pieces, the pats on the back and the kind words. And special thanks to the friend who pulled up yesterday while I was walking my youngest home from school and handed me a big, beautiful bouquet of flowers from her garden and a lovely handwritten note (yes, people actually still do that) of congratulations and encouragement. It meant a great deal to me and I’m very grateful for caring friends.

So I won’t lock myself away in my bedroom this weekend, pulling the covers over my head to avoid all the temptations. I’ll celebrate my son’s birthday today present, clear-headed, not hungover, and at peace. And I’ll remember it when I wake up tomorrow morning too.

Most of all, let’s not forget what this weekend is all about. A heartfelt thank you to those who have served our county and humbled remembrance of those who gave their lives. Freedom is way up there on my gratitude list too. Happy Memorial Day.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

7 Responses to “Attitude of Gratitude”

  1. Flying Dutchman May 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    Wonderful Martha… celebrate with. Joy and grace… should be relatively easy for the sobermom YAY !

  2. earth-school May 23, 2015 at 6:30 pm #

    Beautiful. Love the broadway story reference! Hope Ben’s day was special!


    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Christy May 23, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    Yes, anniversaries come around every year. We are eager to have completed another year of successfully beating our addiction due to very hard work on our part. It’s time to celebrate and rejoice. But, it also lends itself to confusion and misery. Why do these anniversary occasions make us feel so unsettled and crazy? Because they DO! We will always remember the date and year we admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. We were broken, desolate beings harboring pain so great that no human power could have relieved us of our suffering! Fortunately, our HP leads us through these times through the help of friends and family. We learn to understand and appreciate those that have been consistent in our walk to sober living. Those people will always remain so important to us. As your sponsor, I take my role seriously and I am gifted the uncanny ability to know when you need help AG without you asking for it. And for that, I am grateful. Way to go!

  4. Bob Hisel May 24, 2015 at 8:48 am #

    Having flown 69 combat missions in Vietnam, I assure you the hardest 6 months of my life were my last 3 months of drinking and my first 3 months of sobriety. No wonder we ALL get antsy around our anniversary. Mine is June 10th which is also AA’s anniversary(The day Dr. Bob got sober in 1935). Like you, I am filled with emotion this time of year and, fortunately, most of it is Sincere Gratitude……….Bob Hisel

    • Flying Dutchman May 24, 2015 at 8:57 am #

      Your day is coming up soon! May joy fill you more than anxiety….

  5. Anne May 24, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    Very nicely said Martha……. I wish I could add more to this – but just want to let you know that you are doing an amazing job. Three years strong – wow…….. congratulations…..

  6. Susan May 28, 2015 at 6:30 am #

    I love this! Congratulations on THREE YEARS! And yes, anniversaries are definitely hard for many reasons. Know that your village is there for you and continues to be so proud of you, esp how open you are about your journey. Namaste, my friend.

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