*** Even though this is a delayed post from Thanksgiving, it’s still a valuable message. ***
Merriam – Webster dictionary meaning of the word gratitude is: a feeling of appreciation or thanks. Surprisingly the word gratitude does not appear in the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous commonly referred to as the first 64 pages of the AA Big Book. The only time the word gratitude appears in AA literature is in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions on page 95. It reads “An honest regret for harm done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent asset we shall seek”. For me that statement is the essence of Thanksgiving and the mission statement of No More Secrets. As the Men of NMS pause for the Thanksgiving holiday break, the true gifts and blessings of recovery are coming through even for those of us who are still languishing in the throes of a wicked addiction and uncertainty relationships.
Five different NMS men opened their hearts and homes to the “orphans” of NMS. Over fifteen men spent the holiday in the company of recovery men and their families. We are a community that cares. We are more than a group of lost souls sitting in a process group or just making support calls. We are a recovery village! And it takes a village to raise an addict.
Currently we have three men who are away from their traditional families living with men in recovery. We have a total of thirteen single men who are either divorced or who have never been married who are trying to stay sober during a very difficult time of the year. The conventional wisdom of AA says that more people relapse between Thanksgiving and Christmas than at any other time of the year. The greater culture tells us that life is one big Hall Mark card. For some of us that’s a hard pill to swallow. I encourage everyone to stay close and circle the wagons. Misery is optional!
Currently we have 9 additional married men who are living at home and working hard to create a new recovery tape. The old tape was hurtful and painful and needs to be dismantled. For each of them it’s a work in progress. Coming back from betrayal for a couple is a difficult if not impossible process, but many of our couples do recover, if they can get to and hold gratitude. There is no place in a healthy marriage for contempt or resentments.
Has we pass the turkey around the table with all the exciting side dishes we are blessed to have a new chance and a new choice at a new life. The willingness to try for better things tomorrow and that desire to work hard at it will become a permanent asset we can continue to seek forever. That is our great ideal and goal for everyone in recovery. What could ever be better than to live in a state of gratitude!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.