Pain is not Punishment

I'm coming to believe that genuine gratitude goes beyond a sense of thankfulness for my life and all the good stuff that has happened and continues to happen to me. I'm trying to learn that I can extend gratitude to every area of my life -- all the way to the emotional turmoil and upset I experience from time to time. An old timer said to me once that I will become grateful for the pain. It didn't make sense to me then, but I'm coming to see the truth in what he said.

Life doesn't follow my script. In sobriety I've experienced painful job loss, painful relationship problems, painful financial setbacks and the painful frustration of my wife's serious health issues. I've lived much of the time in uncertainty and insecurity. I wish these painful things didn't happen but they do -- they seem to be part of life's terms.

I begin to be grateful for the pain when I remember that the pain is not punishment from an angry God or some penalty I have to pay for screwing up. The emotional pain I experience is a message. It says to me that one more time I've lost my way. I'm holding on too tightly. I'm resisting. It tells me there is a lesson I have not yet learned.

Once I realize the pain is a message and not a punishment. I can begin the process of letting go and letting God. Then I get to be grateful for the pain because I wouldn’t grow without it.