I have much to be grateful for this holiday season. Much more than usual. I have probably never before in my life known this depth & breadth of gratitude, to be honest. Admittedly I don’t leap out of bed every single morning, ready to take on the world in no uncertain terms (in fact it’s rarely “morning” when I do get up); however, there is no denying that each new day is a blessing and a gift. 2013 has served as a serious wake-up call to the fact that I have in the past taken advantage of my own mortality, teetering perilously on the brink. As I’ve studied, learned about, contemplated on, and meditated over the crippling nature of alcoholism and the vice-like grip it has held on my personality and livelihood, I have through this period of growth been able to appreciate just how lucky I am to have walked away mostly unscathed.
I’m grateful the dense cloud of fog & fumes years in the making has been lifted, and I can see clearly my path again.
I’m grateful I have weathered the mental storm that has raged internally, churning with turmoil & frothing with anguish.
I’m grateful I have retained my most valued cognitive faculties, despite my best efforts to undermine & destroy them with wave after wave of poison.
I’m grateful for the myriad of invaluable resources I’ve been granted access to, that have allowed me to more wholly understand & accept that which I cannot change.
I’m grateful for the ability to fully express myself in my own words, and for the courage to publish my innermost thoughts, ideas, & desires freely.
I’m grateful for all who take the time to read & reflect on what I present in my writings.
I’m grateful for the clarity & presence of mind bestowed upon me by the ongoing process of composing & cataloging these musings, some of which are ultimately shaken and completely shed from my feedback loop of thought.
I’m grateful for the cathartic emotional reset that often follows such a release of existential tensions.
I’m grateful for the relative degree of normalcy that has returned to my life, as I’ve become more and more comfortable & practiced in handling increasing levels of autonomy & responsibility.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with my family, as provided by the blessing in disguise of a selfish but necessary move back home.
I’m grateful for the adult relationship I can now share with my mother, and that I may over time reciprocate all her steadfastness as she has continued to be my emotional buoy through and through, tethering me safely with unconditional love so I am not lost to the murky depths of rock bottom.
I’m grateful for the chance to watch my youngest sibling navigate the character-defining transition from young adulthood to manhood, and to guide him as best I can with all the lessons I’ve accumulated – most especially those I’ve learned from my mistakes.
I’m grateful for the reformation and mutual mending of the bond between myself and my sister, broken and almost lost through the mismanagement of diseased priorities – and to similarly be able to offer her sound, sober advice on the many pitfalls of independent adult life.
I’m grateful for the consistent & endless stream of support from all my extended family; it has kept me far and above the threshold for relapse mode, and honestly I can’t think of even a single time I’ve faltered – that’s how strong a backing network I have.
I’m grateful for my unyielding inner circle of friends, whom I consider ‘blood’ more so than ‘buddies.’ They understand, they advise, they offer guidance, they care, they recognize & respect boundaries, they reciprocate loyalty – and together we all grow & benefit through our shared experiences.
I’m grateful for the mistakes I’ve made & the losses I’ve endured. They’ve made me who I am and I proudly wear my personality like a badge of honor, flanked with stripes of imperfections & idiosyncrasies.
I’m grateful for my health, that I have not damaged my body & organs irreparably; that I now tend to it with a renewed focus on long-term betterment.
I’m grateful for the drive to continue making progress, to keep marching onward and upward. Retreat is not an option & defeat is unacceptable.
I’m grateful for music, on so many levels. Life used to be booze & beats, alcohol & eighth notes, lounge bars & loud bass. In no small way did my fondness for one help me overcome my dependency on the other. And what’s more, removing the liquor has not had an adverse effect on my ability to enjoy music in any setting, be it private or public. I would have been supremely upset if no longer drinking also meant I no longer had an interest in listening for pure pleasure as I once did.
Tryptophan Jams for lulling your foodbaby to sleep & drifting off into a turkeycoma.
So, seriously: thank you. For reading, for responding, for encouraging. For letting me reach the revelatory conclusions on my own, free of a forced hand – no matter how painful it might have been. For not giving up on me, for believing in me, for always being there for me. I’ve got real love in my heart, and it’s thanks to many of you that I no longer have to dig impossibly deep within myself to even catch a glimpse of it. For all this, I am grateful.
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