The day after I reached the milestone of 17 years continuous sobriety, I find myself sitting and contemplating the things that matter to me in my life.
There are many, many things that I am grateful to have and many people I am grateful to share my life with.
I have come to understand, as I have wrangled the ‘demons’ of my addiction into order over the last 17 years, that one of the most important things to staying happy is staying grateful.
Today, I want to share with you ten simple things that I have deep and profound gratitude for in my life.
17 years of continuous sobriety
The cornerstone of my life today is remaining sober one day at a time. That may not be the path for some people, but I proved to myself over and over again that until I was abstinent from alcohol, I had no chance at life. The last seventeen years have been a joyful experience for me. I have had my share of ups and downs (who doesn’t have those--for that is life) but I’ve also been blessed to see the world through a whole new (sober and sane) lens. I have the pleasure of experiencing life in all of its messy glory and that’s something that I love so very much.
My gorgeous sons
I could not imagine my life without Mr Gamer and Mr Muso. These two eccentric, creative, kind and caring young men mean the world to me. Watching them grow over the last 17 years has been both a pleasure and a terrifying experience. I try to explain to people today that having a child is learning to let them go--one step at a time. I still worry myself sick about how they are doing and what they’re up to in the world--but I know I have to leave them to make their own way. Besides, they’re both pretty quick to tell me when I’m interfering, or when I should just back off. They’re also both pretty quick to tell me how much they love me and how proud they are of the life that I’ve made for myself. We’re a mutual admiration society!
The written word
Where would I be without my journals and diaries and the ability to write my romance novels? I cannot imagine my life without the opportunity to get the insanity inside my head out and down on the page. Words are where I hide when it all becomes too much. If I’m ‘scratchy’ and it feels as if Iife is just not going well, all I have to ask myself is, “When did you last write something?”
A good book
The other place to hide. More words...There’s a pattern here...
Words and melody… Hmm!
Enough food to eat
I feel strangely calm when the shopping has been done and the pantry, fridge and fruit bowl are filled with a colourful variety of wholesome foods.
It’s the middle of winter as I write this, but there are a few flowers around the winter garden. The overachieving lemon tree seems to have an out-of-season blossom going on and the scent is so uplifting. Bees buzz around the garden foraging on the winter flowers. Flowers always make me smile.
A beach to walk along
I’m blessed to live close to the ocean. The water calms my (sometimes) frazzled nerves. The scent of the ocean is so cleanings. I’m not too hot on the large deposits of sand that the Golden Retriever brings home with him--but I’m practising tolerance on that one.
A man and a dog to walk with
My husband is my best friend, my lover and the one person in the world that I never want to be away from. He knows me better than I know myself and I’m so grateful for his continual support and encouragement. He never allows me to wallow in self-pity or any other kind of negative emotion and he constantly encourages me to be the best me that I can be. I couldn’t do it without him.
I learned how to laugh again 17 years ago when I gave up drinking. I mean really laugh. Those good belly laughs that leave you feeling exhausted and spent and exhilarated.
It might be the middle of winter as I’m writing this--but the sun still streams in through the windows of my home. I’m blessed to live in a country where (I swear) the sun comes out at least once a day.
There are, of course, more than ten things that I’m grateful for. Two that I can’t leave off the list are:
I said this was in no particular order and I’m sticking to my original statement.
I lost my dad seven years ago. I was ten years sober when he passed away. It was one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever gone through sober. I’m so grateful that I didn’t need to numb and bury the feelings in alcohol or any other kind of drugs. It was raw and painful, but I was able to deal with it and, more importantly, I was able to be there for my mum and my brother--two other people who mean so much to me. My mum and my brother have always been there for me. They carried me when I was unable to carry myself and now, I get to return the favour on a daily basis.
I make amends to my family on a daily basis by remaining sober. I can never take away the hurt or the anguish that I caused them, but I can make damn sure that I never do it to them again.
And then there's:
I’m pretty grateful for my cat, Freyja. She means the world to me. I saw a funny meme online this morning, it said: “Women of a certain age begin to collect cats--they call it many paws”.
I intend to have many paws in my life for many years to come.
What are you grateful for today?
Much love and gratitude,