What can happen in one hour that is so completely transformative, so entirely life changing, so utterly unbelievable?
I walk into a room with other like minded individuals. We don't all agree on everything, hell on most things, but on this one thing, we agree we need each other.
I walk into a room of people absolutely different from yet exactly the same.
I walk in with a foul, no good, don't bother me attitude and I leave with a great big smile on my face.
You know what happens when I spend an hour with these folks? We talk. We share our experience, strength and hope and we nod our heads because even if the experience isn't exactly the same, the feelings are.
I gain perspective. I get out of my own head. I call an end to the pity party for one I've been throwing in my honor all damn day.
We are reminded where we come from for we all come from the same place. Anything is better than that.
Our paths are all different, but the regret, remorse, shame and loneliness that led us to each other is the same.
We don't solve the world's problems. We don't care what you look like or smell like or what color your skin is or your sexual affiliation. We care about you. HELL, we don't talk about that stuff because we only talk about one main thing.
Our weakness. Our downfall. Our disease. Our alcoholism.
We talk about what it was like, what happened and what it's like now. We talk about what we can do to make life better and all the things we've learned about ourselves and that really, everybody else is none of our damn business.
The solution, for ME, is other people who experienced this giant loss, this gaping hole, this devastating sorrow in their life that becomes unbearable. And drinking only made it a million times worse. The consequences were too massive and the payoff became too small.
We come together to talk and encourage and laugh. How we laugh. Because that's what we do now. Because we know what it feels like to live in the light. Though we may be in a basement, it is the brightest shiniest light you will ever feel upon your face.
We once hated ourselves and everyone else. The fear, man. We couldn't look ourselves in the mirror and we would do anything to hide and escape. We were once so hurt and so sad that we couldn't function in society. We once had nothing.
Today, we slowly and nowhere perfectly exist in a world that once didn't want us. We walk with our heads held high (WE ARE TRYING) and we carry the message of hope.
It's about the people. It's about the connection. It's about the love. The gratitude. That's what heals.
We find the gratitude. We reach for the gratitude. We express the gratitude. We savor the gratitude.
Community is everything. Community is the answer. We are not alone. Wherever there are two like minded folks, we can have a quorum.
We reach out to help. We listen. We pass it on. That's how this works.
One hour to Gratitude.
Sometimes I forget. We have short memories and need to be reminded. So we go. Hopefully we go.
When the rest of the world is too much, it's a sanctuary. When my own head feels too heavy and too much like my enemy these four walls and the people within calm me with stories.
When I see the faces. When I hear the voices. When I feel the hot tears and the rolling belly laughter, I know I am home.
Be it a church, be it your home, be it a community center or a meeting, we all need people and place to call home with our people. It can be anyplace, anywhere. Community and love are what matter.
And that is how one hour completely turns my life around to gratitude. Not from the outside, you see, but from the inside. Where it really counts. I can't tell you the science behind it and I don't have to know why it works. I gave that up long ago. All I know is it works. And I am so thankful it does.
See also - We are all in recovery from something
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