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Making a daily gratitude list was a critical part of my early recovery. I finally found a sponsor who had what I wanted. Before I was actually ready to work with a sponsor, I spent about a year “working” with people who did not have what I wanted, and with whom I did not really connect. It was what I did to prove to everyone that 12 step programs had no value. Of course, I had never worked the steps. Deep down inside, I knew I was different, and therefore, it wasn’t going to work for me!

The person I asked to sponsor me when I was actually ready to commit to the steps was someone I had known since the very first meeting I ever went to. She had a nice house, a husband she loved deeply and meaningful work. I was attracted to her spirit. She was full of joy, compassion and understanding—none of which I believed I deserved. I was shocked when she said yes after I asked her to sponsor me.

The first assignment she gave me was to write down three things I was grateful for every day. Then she dropped the bomb and suggested that I call her on a daily basis. That was a bit much, but I did it anyway. She would share her gratitude list for the day with me, and I would do the same. Calling her every day was easier when I knew there would be a structure to it. There was nothing worse for me back then than calling a complete stranger and stumbling through an awkward, uncomfortable conversation. Actually, my disease was worse for me at that time, but it didn’t always seem that way when I faced the prospect of taking a new action…especially one that involved other human beings.

There were days that I found it hard to see three things to be grateful for, but making a conscious effort to look for those things changed me, my view of the world, my view of my life and God’s presence in my recovery. There were several days when I saw no progress, and felt abandoned and alone, but that gratitude list helped me see the many ways God was actually in my life in the present.

And now many years later, I can come up with about three things per minute that I am grateful for, such as the many messages of gratitude I receive from the women whose lives have been transformed through the journey they started at TK. Women who were once devastated by depression, eating disorders, addictions, and trauma, who are living full and abundant lives in recovery. Real deal.

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