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 learning 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. When I was new an old timer told me that I will become grateful for the pain. It didn't make sense to me then, but I'm beginning 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 through an honest inventory and heartfelt amends.
Bill Wilson's essay on Emotional Sobriety resonates with me. He says my basic flaw is my demand that others give me what I want. He goes on to say I cannot hope to fully heal my alcoholism until my "paralyzing dependencies" on others are broken at depth. My job here is to be of service. What others think about me and how others treat me is none of my business. Boy these are hard lessons to learn!