Gratitude’s Wings

Courtesy of CPP

Courtesy of CPP

I can picture no element of gratitude.

I feel insignificant, bleak—dare I say annulled.

There is no half-full or half-empty because there is no glass.

There is no leap, for I have no wings. I was mistaken. I cannot make sobriety work for me.

She asks me to hand her my paper. At 96 days of sobriety I pass her my “Gratitude List.”

It is void of words. With the exception of its title there are doodles.

Ninety-six days clean and sober. I may as well have been hung over. My body, racked with pain. My mind puzzled. How could sobriety could feel so sh**y?

I had traded my booze for this—so unfair. Why do they get to drink and not me? My question did not go unanswered:

The Evolution of Gratitude


Sometime Later

Even Later



At least I’m hanging on.

I accept the necessity of change.

Thank you for change. Without it my life remains stagnant. Nothing that is living is stagnating. It is growing or decaying.  

He’s still here!

I can tolerate him.

He is a good man.

Thank you for my husband to stand by my side through the struggles.

It’s too hard.

Why do I always have to be the one who changes?

I can try and see if it works—once.

Thank you for the gift of options. Thank you for free will. Thank you for teaching me to choose again.

I will never make it to six months sober.

I’ll never make it to one year sober.

If it’s still a good idea tomorrow I will drink then— but not today.

Thank you for teaching me to say, No thank you.

They need to do what I say. I’m the mom.

They can do whatever they want. I don’t know how to parent.

I can learn to parent.

Thank you for showing me that we teach each other. Thank you for teaching me it’s a monarchy, not a democracy.

Not drinking is ruining me. I’ve lost my fun—my me.

Maybe drinking wasn’t working that well—most of the time.

Drinking sucks.

Drinking sucks.

Stopping drinking is the enemy.

Stopping drinking is the first part of my solution.

Universal principles work in every area of my life.  I’m applying them whether I know it or not—every moment.

Thank you alcoholism.

You are the vehicle that taught me life is so much more than I imagined …

That I am so much more than I imagined.

Gratitude has given me wings.

Peace has given me air.

Change has given me wind.

Spirituality has given me life.

Today I can be in pain, puzzled, lost, alone, angry, or scared. And I don’t drink.

I am a different woman for having learned to see Gratitude.

I fly high and look down on my troubles, lest I stay in them.



To a woman filled with gratitude, little Ms. Miracles: Happy two year anniversary tomorrow. (I’m thinking you’re going to bed sober tonight).

31 Responses to “Gratitude’s Wings

  • just what I needed to hear today- I found myself in the lists- and look forward to more freedom. Thankyou!

    • Yay, Seeing where we are on the list. I could not hear these words when I was in early sobriety. I held ‘hope’ close to my heart. I wanted to be alcohol free, I just didn’t think I could do it one more day. Guess what? I did. And I’m so glad I did. Don’t get me wrong, I can be back in jail-cell on a dime, but at least today I don’t have to stay long. I have some keys. 🙂

    • More freedom is coming. When we don’t drink and we don’t slow its arrival.

  • Love this post.


  • Hi Lisa, nice portrayal of the stages of growth. I see myself in them even though I don’t have drinking challenges.

    • WtF:
      Thank you for the kind comment. I love when non-alcoholics feel confident to post. It is always nice to have a writer comment, because many of you writers are my teachers. I don’t consider myself a ‘writer’, as much as I see myself a ‘coach’. I have enjoyed your blog. Lisa

  • Beautiful! Gratitude is an powerful tool 🙂

  • Hi Lisa, heading up to bed, and I’m doing it sober! Thanks so much for remembering… let the sober celebrating begin!

  • … And now it is morning… 2 years!

    Lisa, that chart is AMAZING! It is so true how gratitude is an evolution, and it’s not to say I don’t backslide now and then, but my capacity for awareness of all the blessings in my life has grown so much in the past 2 years, it’s breathtaking!

    This morning, in addition to my gratitude for 2 consecutive years of sobriety, I am also profoundly grateful for having people like you in my life to light the sober way for me!

    Thanks for sharing your experience, strength and hope!

    • So, you will be well into year number three by the time you get this. Hoping your day was wonderful. You light my way too. It’s always equally yolked. 🙂

  • This. Is. Amazing.


    • Sherry,
      I am so into these one word sentences. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to read those words with a period after them. You put emphasis with such a small shift in punctuation. Mind if I use that idea in my writing? I love it. Love you too.

  • Beautiful, Lisa!

  • Best. Post. Ever.

    Poetic and endearing and just stunning in it’s simplicity and power. You have a gift for that, Lisa. You really do.

    That shift in perspecitve and that growth…wow. I still need to get to those right sided columns. But it’s good to know that they are achievable.

    Thank you for this…amazing.


    • Paul,
      For me the right columns are not a permanent place, but a place of grace that I can either recognize or not. Sometimes I still choose “not” but the goal it to remember to choose again when I find I am in pain. One thing I try and remember in sobriety is that there is no place I have to get to… Only this moment I choose to Be in. There are plenty of left column moments still in me. (Just not the drinking one—today!)

  • How much beauty there is in gratitude! I am grateful for you and your amazing blog. You are light in my path. Love you so.
    Me 😉

  • Love the evolution chart and seeing myself in some of these. Amazing how anger and self-pity transform to gratitude for the very same conditions. Beautiful post here, Lisa. Loving this.

    • BBB. Thank you. It’s interesting you mention this because ‘the pendulum’ is an excellent tool for one’s tool box. I just put together a workshop called The Pendulum. I have found great interest in the distinction of when a thing evolves or not. Especially as it relates to recovery. Hey when is your sober anniversary. Trying to get my calendar up to date? xox

  • You know how I love a good table chart. You know what else I love? Finding those little one-off’s — those little things that catch and hold my attention for an extra moment because they are different. You have only one phrase that repeats itself, and only once, on your chart:

    Drinking sucks.

    Even when everything is changing around us and we are either moving toward or away, it’s nice to know there remains one universal truth for us, at least at this stage of our process: drinking sucks.

    Maybe at one point we will accept and believe that alcohol has no bearing on our ability (or inability) to have fun, to have confidence, to have a full life. We move beyond “drinking sucks,” to “I have no opinion about drinking because it is no longer part of my present or my future, It’s in my past, and darlin, I ain’t goin’ that way.”

    Sending happy thoughts your way, xoxo, C

    • I’m still laughing as I re-read this comment. I simply could not think of anything new to say about drinking. Not even today. I’ll grow, of this I am sure. Hey, congrats on your WP feature. You’re such a superstar.

  • Mine is 6/21/2011. Your workshop sounds interesting. I am enjoying your Ogel emails. The brief but eerily well-timed and dead on messages have helped me a lot lately. xo

    • Good, glad you’re enjoying those. I don’t dialogue with those followers unless they send me an email. It’s nice to know that you’re on there and that they resonate. Thank you for sharing that with me. (You and Christy have close sobriety dates. I just put that together.) much love

  • Hey Lisa! I just nominated you for the Sunshine Award Thanks for inspiring me!

    • Yay, awards! I still love awards. I’m going to go check it out. Thank you. Thank you for your words, love, and encouragement. My WP friends are a huge part of my beautiful life. Glad to be in your company. xox

  • Hi Lisa,

    The word that hits me when I read this is ‘beautiful’.

    You have a real gift with the quill Lisa.

    “Why do I always have to be the one who changes?”

    This one jumped out at me because it really struck a chord. I have lost count the number of times I have said this to myself, and blared it into the faces of hose I love.

    It took me a long time to realise that as much as I was complaining that I was the one who was always changing, I never changed anything that I didn’t want to change. Each change I made was designed to make me a more complete person.

    So I am grateful for all of the experiences that have arisen in my life that have resulted in me making a positive change.

    Thanks for reminding me of that.

    Lee Davy

    • Lee,
      Such a beautiful comment. It often shocks me that I made it as far in life as I did. I was so ill-equipped—in more ways than I care to list. Sobriety has afforded me more than I bargained for. There is so much richness in personal growth. And I’d have never looked for spirit to fill me if alcohol hadn’t ruined me to complete despair. 🙂

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