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Sober 13+ Years, This is How Gratitude, Self-Awareness, and Acceptance Saved My Life

*Possible Triggers*


I learned in recovery to strive for balance in my life. I also found out how powerful gratitude is, so I blogged daily about what I was grateful for. I began that on 2-12-2013. I knew it was life changing, but I do not know what it felt like.


The subtle changes occurred slowly and over several years. My brain, simmering in problems and depression, needed the slow improvements daily gratitude afforded me so I could adjust to the changes. Years later, I came across an article detailing how a suicidal person goes through with their plan because their brain is drowning in negativity. Their problems overwhelm them and they can only see one way out.


I can relate to that because I have been suicidal twice in my life and took pill overdoses on both occasions. I give thanks to say both failed, but my point remains. I understand the drowning in negativity outlook. I could not see any other way out of my problems. And every thought I had reminded me of more problems I did not know how to resolve.


Determined to find solutions reading about recovery, I learned our brains are like sponges. No different from a sponge saturated and dripping what it soaks up, our water-logged brains drip positive or negative thoughts. It does not distinguish between what is good or bad; it contains the chemicals our thoughts produce. Our emotions and our instincts tell us whether something is right or wrong, except for the lies our abusers pounded into our heads.


If you have felt that, you know it is crippling.


So by changing my brain’s environment a little every day with my daily gratitude, my fog lifted. I could feel a positive difference, so I kept going.


Looking back, I can’t remember when I developed my self-awareness. Maybe acceptance came first? I recall working hard to accept what worried me and feared back then because I knew of no other way to change those fears into anything positive. I had to accept them for what they were: an integral part of my reality. My fears are part of who I am. By facing and accepting them as wounds on my soul, they heal.


Developing those three qualities brought me the farthest. The only one I did intentionally was my daily gratitude. The others followed in a natural progression.


That is why I encourage people to address their emotions; when we resolve our emotions, our own logic develops because that area of our life heals. For me, my logic unfolded into my self-awareness and the acceptance of problems I knew I had to address. I saw firsthand in my day-to-day life how trying to understand why I did what I did came easier as I addressed the painful emotions that fueled my depression and crippling complex ptsd I did not know I had until 2017.


Because of the trauma I carried around, locked up inside me, I had no logic or common sense. As I faced my emotions, slowly and over a long time, my thinking straightened out. I faced what I needed to face and accept based on my thoughts. Mine, my thoughts and no one else’s.


Our brains and our emotions let us know what we need to pay attention to, what we need to address. If you do this, start with what problems are uppermost in your thoughts, with the guidance of a professional if you are not familiar with the process. Our thoughts, our pain, our emotional wounds lay out the map each of us needs to follow to be whole as genuine, authentic individuals. Do you know anyone else who has the same wounds you do? No, their path is specific, custom-made to their needs. That is because each of us is unique.


So, what can you do for yourself to find your gifts, your talents, your uniqueness? What does your brain tell you? What do you think your path would be if you added gratitude to your life?


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