Welcome to Central Recovery Press!
Free Call 888-855-7199

Cultivating Gratitude – a powerful topic and the subject of today’s guest post by Fran Simone.
Fran (Frances) Simone, Ph.D., is the author of Dark Wine Waters, My Husband of a Thousand Joys and Sorrows, a memoir that illuminates the heartbreaking story of a marriage compromised by the husband’s alcoholism. She wrote it to help the millions of other family members whose lives are upended by a loved one’s addiction and to help untold numbers of people understand what it’s like to love someone with this brain disease. Fran is a professor emeritus from Marshall University, South Charleston Campus where she directed the West Virginia Writing Project, a statewide affiliate of the National Writing Project, University of California at Berkeley. Most recently she is a regular blogger for Psychology Today (online), Hazelden/Betty Ford (Recovery Matters), and Addiction Blog. To learn more about her work, visit her website, DarkWineWaters.com. She can be reached via email at darkwinewaters@gmail.com.

Cultivating Gratitude By Frances Simone (Guest Author)

January. A new year. A fresh start.   A time to shape up. Sadly our well-intentioned resolutions too often fall by the wayside. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 62 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions at some point in their lives. But only 8 percent are successful. In fact, January 17th has been designated “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day” because most of us cave in by then. . .

I’ve pretty much given up on my annual lose ten pounds resolution, but I did resolve to keep a daily gratitude journal in 2016. In fact, one of my Christmas gifts was a spanking new journal with blank pages waiting to be filled. I believe that a daily dose of gratitude will help alleviate some of the fear and negativity I’m experiencing because my son relapsed again during the holiday season.

Fear

When my thoughts rush into projecting tragic events in the future, I can be grateful for my twelve-step program that encourages me to take one day at a time. Today I’m grateful for the first snow of winter. No accumulation, just a light dusting covering bare tree limbs with a pale sun peeking through clouds. This evening I anticipate reading in front of a cozy fire. Stopping to write helps decelerate my racing thoughts about future smashups.

Self-pity

Yesterday I ran into a former co-worker. My friend, Don, wiped out his I-Phone to show pictures of his lovely grandchildren. Three girls and two boys who range in age from newborn to nine years old.   He was so proud of family: his grown three children with solid marriages and successful careers and those adorable grandkids. If I compare myself to my friend with his happy family I can sink into a hole of envy and resentment. Focusing on gratitude helps me dig my way out of that hollow space in my heart.

During this past holiday season, I fell into another pity trap when I received those annual brag letters from family and friends cataloging their grandchildren’s artistic and academic accomplishments, their sons and daughters’ job promotions, and their extended family vacations to exotic locales. I’ve never written one of these letters.

What would I say?

That my adult son has been in and out of rehab, has not been able to keep a job, and has stolen money from me when he relapsed during the holiday season. On the flip side I could have written that I’m grateful for my generous daughter and son-in-law who sent me lovely Christmas gifts and kept in close touch, for the support of my friends in my twelve-step fellowship who rallied when I needed them, for the wisdom of my sponsor, for the guidance of a gifted therapist, and for the love of my extended family and friends. Listing all of the above helps to tone down those “poor me” blues.

I don’t pretend that a gratitude journal is a panacea for all of the turmoil that family and friends experience because of their loved one’s addition. It’s one of many tools that help counterbalance bitterness, envy and resentment. . .

As the end of January approaches, I’m still at it. I plan to be among the 8% who follow through on their New Year’s resolution. Who knows I might even lose those extra ten pounds.

As the end of January approaches, I’m still at it. I plan to be among the 8% who follow through on their New Year’s resolution. Who knows I might even lose those extra ten pounds.

Fran (Frances) Simone, Ph.D., is the author of Dark Wine Waters, My Husband of a Thousand Joys and Sorrows, a memoir that illuminates the heartbreaking story of a marriage compromised by the husband’s alcoholism. She wrote it to help the millions of other family members whose lives are upended by a loved one’s addiction and to help untold numbers of people understand what it’s like to love someone with this brain disease. Fran is a professor emeritus from Marshall University, South Charleston Campus where she directed the West Virginia Writing Project, a statewide affiliate of the National Writing Project, University of California at Berkeley. Most recently she is a regular blogger for Psychology Today (online), Hazelden/Betty Ford (Recovery Matters), and Addiction Blog. To learn more about her work, visit her website, DarkWineWaters.com. She can be reached via email at darkwinewaters@gmail.com.

Fran Simone is the author of DARK WINE WATERS

Fran Simone is the author of DARK WINE WATERS

 
 
 

This article first appeared on this website on January 24, 2016

This article first appeared on this website on January 24, 2016