Today is Thanksgiving in the US. This Thanksgiving feels different. Nonetheless, there are always reasons to express gratitude and thanks.
I have deep gratitude for my 139 days of sobriety, and this blog, where I’ve been able to connect with some lovely folks and have the freedom to write what comes to mind without feeling judged for it. More and more, my sobriety is becoming integrated into who I am, which is a weird and exciting thing. I don’t feel the need to explain myself anymore. I don’t feel jealous of people who are drinking. I think I’ve made it through the majority of the emotional & physical PAWS symptoms. Now, it’s just…me. Doing life. Figuring it out as I go.
I’m thankful for my boyfriend, even when I sometimes feel a bit of discordance between our communication or affection styles. For all the fretting I’ve done over the past several months, I need to say that I am very grateful for the chance I’ve had to experience a relationship that doesn’t involve excessive drinking, unnecessary complexities, power plays, hidden agendas, abusive substructures, or plain old disrespect. I had one relationship similar to this during early 2015, but it didn’t last long. The fact that I’ve somehow managed to stay in a healthy, steady-paced, non-toxic relationship for over a year is truly a first for me!
I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to pursue my higher education over the past 12 months. Sometimes I sit and wonder if I’m really doing the right thing, or if I’ve made a huge mistake that will end up in wasted time, energy, and money. I worry about going through school to become a counselor and then realizing that I either hate it, or that I’m no good at it at all. These thoughts bother me from time to time, yet I’m persisting. I dreamt about going back to school too many times to not follow through with it, now that I’m actually here. And despite my fears, I’m thankful that I have the opportunity in the first place, and that my employer is supportive of my pursuits, even though my education isn’t necessarily going to benefit them in the long-run. It’s been a wild ride so far – I’m nearing the end of my first year as a graduate student (holy crap!), which means I’ve only got two more years to go.
I’m thankful for the continuing support of my parents and family members in my pursuits. I think to some of them, my desire to become a counselor was somewhat of a surprise. Yet, they’ve been supportive and proud of me regardless. I’m sure watching me flail around over the past couple of years has been a little difficult, but they stuck through it with me. And even though I still feel restless about living at my dad’s house right now, I’m sure I will be so thankful that I had this space open to me during school, once I’m finally out there paying rent and slogging through bills again.
I’m so glad for the new friendships I’ve made throughout this year, as well as some of the older friendships that I’ve rekindled. It finally hit me recently that I was holding onto a handful of friendships – or at least, the idea of those friendships – always hoping that they would somehow revive themselves, or that I could perhaps revive them. These were friendships from high school, with girls who I was incredibly close to during 11th and 12th grade. Then something finally clicked for me recently. These girls are friends to me, yes, but they haven’t been holding out or making the space for our deeper, more intimate friendship in the same ways that I have. Letting go of the idea that those friends were my social lifeline has been incredibly freeing for me. And so, I’m thankful for the new friends I’ve made, and for the chance to finally re-define those old friendships that were hanging out in limbo for so long.
And finally, I’m thankful for the opportunity I have to be so thankful for so many things in the first place. A lot of things feel uncertain in the world right now. There are many people out there who are weary, tired, heartbroken, and scared. There are people who are still struggling to reach and maintain sobriety, who may not realize that there are people out there waiting to help. There are people who can’t count on their families or friends, or who want to go back to school but can’t. There are people who would do anything to have a free place to live like I do. Remembering these things always humbles me, and reminds me to take a step back from micro-analyzing my life and its pain points in order to see the bigger picture unfolding around me.