From Despair to Gratitude In A Single Moment
“Don't despair, not even over the fact that you don't despair. Just when everything seems over with, new forces come marching up, and precisely that means that you are alive. And if they don't, then everything is over with here, once and for all.” Franz Kafka (Diaries)
I never thought I would be grateful for the fellowship of alcoholics on Christmas Eve. Tonight as I sat among the people and listened to them I realized I understood each of them, even those who did not speak. There is an unspoken bond in the fellowship. As each of us took our turns sharing or just saying our names and passing to the next person there was the theme of gratitude. Even in despair we know that gratitude is the elixir that will change our thoughts. There is usually one gratitude meeting a day in 12 Step meetings. Sometimes the chairperson will apologize for the “fallback gratitude meeting,” but the truth is for this alcoholic gratitude meetings can change everything. Each person in the room has a different story, yet our stories are the same. This Christmas some in my fellowship have no family, some have strained family relationships, some have awful exes, some are homeless, some have to work, some have family who support them, but they don’t really understand the alcoholic in their family. The common thread we have is that each of us is so grateful to have made it to the rooms sober this Christmas and to have the support and understanding of each other. We might not even understand why we are thinking the way we are or why we are feeling what we feel. The moment we begin talking about gratitude you can see a glimmer of hope in the most pained faces. Most of all we are grateful for the fellowship, being alive, being sober and having a place to share our experience, strength and hope. I didn't have dreams of growing up and being an alcoholic. And, no one plans on ending up at a 12 Step meeting on Christmas Eve. But this alcoholic is grateful today that it's not over and that I am alive, sober and that I went to a meeting.