“If you are grateful for your life, then you have to be grateful for all of it.” –Stephen Colbert
I understand the importance and the impact of gratitude and being grateful. The struggle comes in waves for me. I struggle to be grateful for hard times, losses and challenges. I immediately read this quote and said, “I’ll never be grateful my Dad died or that he died young and suddenly. Stephen Colbert is a moron who has no clue what devastating pain feels like.” I’m still not grateful for any of that.
But today, as I re-read it, I realize there are other terrible times that I have come to be grateful for. I just recently got to celebrate six (!) years clean and sober. Something I never thought I could or would achieve but also I never thought I would be grateful that I’m an addict and an alcoholic. But I am. I can’t say I’m grateful for the pain I caused others throughout my lifetime of addiction but I look back on the disaster that I was and I’m grateful. I’m grateful I can see the different person I am today. I’m grateful I faced the struggles because even in my addiction they helped me become the overcomer I am right now. My addiction/alcoholism and recovery molded me into someone that others can count on, someone that can walk through the loss of her Daddy and stay focused on becoming more…. Something Dad always knew I would do.
So maybe someday I will be grateful for the situation surrounding the death of my Dad. Today isn’t that day but even now I can find ripples of gratitude. I’m grateful that I’m clean, sober and able to feel the pain because it means I’m also feeling the joys in life I couldn’t see.
I am able to be grateful today and that alone is a miracle I didn’t have for decades.
Be grateful Good, bad, ugly… gratitude wins.
Sarah Deats is the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer. Her goals are to make a connection with everyone that she can while building community, spreading hope, and sparking change. She believes that while life may not be easy, it is never lived alone.