It seems like no matter what you read or where you look, people always say how important it is to be grateful.
That’s a big ask when we’re in the throes of food addiction, recovering from trauma, and just trying to hold it all together. It also doesn’t seem to be on top of our list of priority actions when we’re in the middle of trying to keep a craving at bay…
But science says many good things about it: It reduces fear, makes you more mindful, rewires your brain, and so on. In addiction recovery, having a daily gratitude practice is certainly recommended.
It was also recommended to me in my first 12 step program. I just followed the counsel. At first it was just to write down 3 things I’m grateful for each day. It was a bit hard and I just went through the motions.
The turning point came when in March 2015, a program fellow contacted me. I had only ever met her in online meetings and spoken to her on the phone. She asked me if she could send me her daily food plan and gratitude list because her sponsor was travelling. I said yes. I enjoyed our contact and started responding to her emails with my own gratitude list.
Believe it or not, but we have kept up a mutual gratitude practice to this day! It’s been going for 8 years!! I write her an email in the morning and she sends me hers back.
Over the years, this practice has developed into a unique penpalship and friendship. Our daily email contact has turned into journaling and processing, where each one of us writes what’s been happening in their day, and the other responds the next day, while also sharing gratitudes. We also share a daily brag, delight and desire. The practice continues to evolve.
We are both very committed to this practice. Only when one of us is traveling, needs to go offline for whatever reason, or something serious has happened that prevents us from doing the practice we don’t do it. Otherwise, we ALWAYS do! If we don’t hear from each other, we check in to see if the other is ok.
Our friendship has evolved to be a much deeper connection. We are daily companions to each other’s lives from afar and we’ve travelled across Australia to visit each other. This friendship, and our daily practice, has become a huge part of my life.
Today, I’m grateful for this gratitude practice, and for the friendship that has formed through it.