Living in Gratitude

by:  Donna M.


When my son was active in his addiction/alcoholism I felt helpless and hopeless.  I was a lost soul, just like he was.  I didn’t know where to turn or who to turn to because I knew the stigma back in the 90’s could ruin our businesses and our reputations.  For the first six months of knowing what I thought at the time was everything about my son’s addiction was too much for me to bear, my bed was my safe place, and my crazy place.  I would lie in the fetal positon crying, my heart was so broken that there were days that I thought I should admit myself to the 5th floor at Concord Hospital and there were days that I truly thought that I would die from my broken heart. 

It took many years of allowing me to be in a helpless and hopeless state of mind that I felt emotionally dead; I didn’t have any fight left in me, I hit my enough.  When I hit my enough, it slowly dawned on me, that I had to start taking care of myself, I knew I needed to change me and start looking at the positives in my life’s rather than all of the negatives.  I started with a gratitude journal.  Every morning when I woke up, before I made myself get out of bed, I made myself write one thing that I was grateful for.  I was pretty pathetic in the beginning but in time, I was writing paragraphs about the blessings in my life.

When I changed, the family dynamics changed, when I changed and stopped trying to control my son’s addiction and the outcome of it, he would seek me out to talk and to spend time with me.

Today, my son’s life is better than I thought it could ever be when he was in active addiction and I was active in enabling and being codependent. When we are lost in the bowels of our children’s active addition, it’s paralyzing, it’s heartbreaking and it’s difficult to find anything to be grateful for.

Gratitude was not my natural disposition; it took some time and effort. It was a discipline to remind myself of the many reasons I have to be grateful for.  It was an exercise well worth the discomfort. Learning to live in gratitude changes a person’s attitude, it’s easy to do, yet hard to master.

If you are wondering what some of the things that I’m grateful for, I am honored to share them with you:

I am grateful for my loving family and beautiful grandson
I am thankful for my health.
I am grateful for my eyes , ears and all my working limbs
I am grateful that I can have a warm, cozy home to live in
I am grateful to be able to do support work for other parents who are sick and suffering.
I am grateful for the journey of my son’s addiction, if I didn’t go through it; I wouldn’t be who I am today.
I am grateful for being able to turn part of my brain off, stop the negative chitter/chatter and still be inspired.
I am thankful for Grace — for love that cannot be explained
I am grateful for my purpose and my hope that there is more to the story and it will unfold as I move forward living in gratitude.

I challenge you to set a time every day to write in your gratitude journal

Donna MarstonComment