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  • The other day, I started talking about the things for which I am grateful for. It really only scratched the surface. The fact that I have all of the connections that I have in my life makes me extremely thankful. I still remember times in my life when I was completely cut off from all connections.

    I remember what that felt like. I was ashamed of who I was, of what I had become, and I didn’t want anyone who knew me before, when I thought I was somebody, or that I had something, to see me in the condition that I was in.

    I preferred to be cut off, to be isolated, to wallow in my aloneness. In those times, all I had was my family, and that was only because they were providing a roof over my head, and I had to at least try to tolerate them, just as they were doing their best to tolerate me.

    I simply didn’t want to be around people. That was the nature of my condition 39 years ago, Thanksgiving Day, 1977. I was a couple months into my 4 months-long suicidal depression that probably brought me the closest to taking my own life as any time in my life.

    With so many people today, especially veterans, taking their own life, or living through that ungodly loneliness of suicidal depression, I sometimes wish there was more I could do about their condition, to help them, to let them know that there is life on the other side of that dark place. But then, I know how impossible I was to be reached when I was there. Whatever anyone said to me during that time, I discounted it out of hand, sure that they couldn’t possibly know how very much it truly sucked to be me.

    So, when I think of them, I just say a prayer that they can find a way out, as I did. I do believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that a lot of prayers had something to do with my finding the light of life that continued to glow, way outside of my darkness, that I eventually was able to find.
  • I had to go through what it took for me to find my way out of it. Who am I to deny another soul from going through what they must experience to find their way out? If it had happened any other way, for me, than the way it did, I would not be who I am today. I would be someone else, someone who had a different experience. But, I also pray that if I may be able to help one of them, in any way, that I will be willing to do whatever I can.

    I’m glad it worked out the way it did. It all made me who I am today – someone I like being, whose skin I am comfortable living inside, and who I trust will make moderately good decisions that will lead me into a continually growing existence in this thing called life. Most of all, I’m glad I’m not someone who thinks he knows a better way for you to live your life. I’m not, and I don’t. We all have our own journey that we must travel, which I think is what makes life so goddamned interesting.

    What else am I grateful for? My relationship with my significant other, my wife, Kathy. Man, talk about a game-changer that relationship turned out to be! I don’t even want to think about how things would have turned out in my life if I hadn’t slowed down enough to let her catch up to me, when she was trying to break through my walls. I’d become especially adept at dodging girls like her, who would show a genuine interest in me. She was just more persistent than any of them, and once I recognized how much we shared in common, how right she was in my life, I made one of the smartest decisions of my life, and decided to let her into my life. She continues to make my life so much richer than it otherwise would be.
  • I'm also grateful that I found my way back into the rooms of AA. Some might say, why did you need to go back there, when you hadn't gone to meetings or been part of a group for nearly 30 years, but had managed to stay sober and live a decent life? I only know that I was drawn back there, and when I got there, I found that I felt like I belonged there, and I felt like I had something to offer, there. I've had the opportunity to sponsor a fellow who was pretty shaky, and very isolated, when he first approached me, nearly a year ago. The other day, he celebrated a year sober, and has experienced, not just sobriety, but recovery, and is a much different person today than he was a year ago. Working with him has made something in me come alive, and for that, I am grateful. Being a part of the fellowship has also added a dimension to my life that is hard to describe, but it's made me feel a hell of a lot more human.

    I hope everyone is able to find some things to be thankful for, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving this day, or just living your life. If you’re reading this – I am thankful for your presence in my life. Thankful for our connection, through story, and wish you a peaceful and happy day.

    Let us all strive to be kind and loving towards all of our connections, and together, each from where we live, let’s make the world a better place to live in. We can, and will, do it. One connection at a time.
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