Back in 1999, I started a gratitude journal. At the time I had finally managed to seperate from my alcoholic, drug addicted, abusive husband and the journal brought some light into some very dark days. Some days there didn’t seem to be much to be grateful for but I always managed to find 5 things and it brought enough peace into my heart that I could sleep at night.
I kept it up until 2003 when a very close friend died suddenly, at the age of 38 and I sunk into a deep depression. I didn’t seem to have the heart for it anymore. When my daughter’s addiction began to manifest itself in 2004 I was so angry that the last thing I wanted to do was to think in terms of gratitude. I had put myself through nursing school, was working shift work, getting no child support, my closest friend had passed away and now my daughter was fighting alcohol and drug addiction. Oh, I was so mad at God and the world. How in the world could I find anything to be grateful for in all of that?
Skip forward to 2010 and some of those things are still the same. I still work shifts and get no child support. My daughter has been in and out of 6 rehabs. But, there’s been some good in there too. I’ve gotten remarried, my other children are doing well. Despite ADHD, ODD, DCD and…ahem…general laziness on the part of one or two! None of them has so far even experimented with mind altering substances and I pray that continues. I had a great counsellor in 2008-2009 who helped me get through some very hard times. I have a wonderful family who are really supportive and have been there for me and my children.
I need to soften my heart and find happiness in the little things again. I need to seek peace and light so I no longer have to dwell in the shadows. So last night I put pen to paper and this is what I wrote:
Today I am grateful:
1. That H went to a meeting when her grandparents pulled out the wine at “her” dinner and that she didn’t engage with her Dad in an unhealthy way.
2. For an afternoon nap
3. That my blood pressure went up
4. For my children: a reason to get out of bed in the morning
5. The love, care and support I have found through my blog
Regarding number one…my daughter (H) is, as previously mentioned, visiting her paternal grandparents. Her grandfather has been in recovery for about 12 years (from alcohol). Her father is in the same city currently working with his brother (also an alcoholic). Her Dad is still in very active use and is serving weekends in jail for assaulting his girlfriend. Last night, her grandparents had a dinner “for her”, invited everyone and served wine and beer! They know her situation. And they also know she didn’t want to see her Dad, she told them so on the phone before she left. These people are unbelievable…Luckily, she had made plans ahead of time to go to a meeting with a friend from her last stay in rehab who lives in that same city. So when the alcohol came out she found the strength to steer clear. By the time she returned it had all been cleared up and everyone was gone. Anyway…
In keeping a gratitude journal again I hope to regain my footing and find the peace that I so desperately desire.
Thank you so much to everyone who has commented. Your support means the world. I don’t feel so alone…