“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley, American motivational speaker and writer (born 1933)
Life is what we make of it. Despite this well-known quote, we often fail to give it credence. This is especially true for those of us who are newly sober, but it also applies anytime we go through a particularly rough patch, encounter obstacles we’re afraid we cannot overcome, are ill, feel a little blue, lose someone or something dear to us or worry that we won’t be able to accomplish all that we’d like in life.
It’s at times like these that we need a little reality-check to make sure we’re not making a mountain out of a molehill, that we put things in perspective, and get our heads on straight. This is not a criticism, mind you. It’s merely a reminder that we need to sometimes take a step back and realize that things aren’t as bad as they seem. They may only be this way temporarily, or we may need to seek help or resources from others or allocate time to figure out an appropriate strategy, but nothing is failure or doomed unless we choose to regard it this way.
In recovery, we want a lot of things: we want happiness, peace, joy and fulfillment. While we may fleetingly feel one or more of these emotions, we don’t feel each one of them all the time. That’s OK and to be expected. The point we want to get to is where we accept the bad with the good and see the good even in the bad. We want to be able to live our lives with love, grace and gratitude, being thankful for all that we have been given, being able to demonstrate our love and caring to others, and to do so with a kind of grace (that some would call peace or serenity).
All this is within our grasp. So why does it feel so out of reach? Again, it could be our mindset. After all, we’ve only recently emerged from the darkness of addiction and are beginning to find our way in sobriety. We cannot expect to have all the answers immediately or to have all our problems solved in an instant. This will take work and time and a lot of patience. It will also take continued support and encouragement from those in our support network, our sponsor and fellow group members in the self-help meetings, our loved ones and family members and close friends who back our recovery efforts, our co-workers and neighbors and those with whom we come into regular contact who are aware of our recovery journey and encourage us to succeed.
Keep in mind that as long as we have life, we have opportunity. With each breath, we are living a gift, for life is indeed precious. We cannot buy life, but we can make the most of it every day. What better way to live than to embrace each day, say a prayer of thanks or be grateful for the opportunity to learn something new today. Be loving and kind and caring. Find the joy in simple things, for these moments are often the most valuable – they’re also free. Doing so, we’ll also be living in grace.