What are you thankful for?
As I sit here this Friday morning at my desk looking out my window at the rainy Fall weather I can’t help but feel so thankful for where my life is today. A couple of years ago I was not in a very good place, and I think back to how far I have come since then and it truly brings tears to my eyes. Happy tears.
I was told by someone close to me that making gratitude lists are very important in recovery, and I would have to agree. They have helped me immensely over the years when I am finding the day hard to navigate.
Make a list.
Today is not one of those hard to navigate days, today I am happy, I am healthy, I am proud. Every day that I wake up is a gift for me and with Thanksgiving weekend on the horizon I feel like writing down my list this year.
What I am Thankful For
One – My Sobriety
I would not be sitting here writing this on this rainy day if I was not clean and sober. I would not have my family in my life, my son Layton would not be in my life, I definitely would not have Marlow.
I lived in my own dungeon for many years, and the wreckage of my past is still visible in my life today, but it is nowhere near as awful as it once was and it continues to get better each and every day.
I had tried and failed many a time to stay sober and could never seem to get it. Being in and out of detox and treatment centres added to the stress and exhaustion of everyone closest to me. I carried on oblivious to the trail of terror I was leaving behind me everywhere I went.
So what changed?
The answer is simple. Everything.
I had to change everything in order to succeed. I moved to a different city. I left everyone I knew, everything I knew, and I haven’t looked back since. My way of thinking changed, the way I looked at myself changed, and I began to step out of the fog I was so deeply drowning in for so long. Life started to look bright, and I got hungry for more.
Today my job (when I am not on maternity leave) is working at the hospital with patients who struggle with addiction. The majority of them are homeless, and live on the downtown east side and suffer with a number of health issues. I get to see every day where my life was headed if I did not find my way.
My sobriety is number one on my list of what I am thankful for because without it, none of the others to follow would even be possible.
Two – My Children
Number two would most definitely be my children.
Layton, my nine year old son and my first love has seen things that no child should ever have to see. He has seen me while I was in active addiction, and that is something I work so hard every day to prevent from happening ever again. I am in the process of mending that relationship with him. I don’t have as much time with him as I would like to, but that is something that unfortunately has to work itself out in the court system as his father and I are unable to see eye to eye these days.
Things that are most important to you can be so easily lost in active addiction, and a long road of rebuilding while in recovery is required. I know if I keep doing the next right thing, we will get where we need to be.
Marlow, my daughter. I never thought I would be in a place to want anymore children, but when I found out we were expecting a baby I knew it was the right thing to do at the time. She is my little ball of fire, and I am so grateful that I get to be a part of her life.
I love being a mother, and couldn’t imagine not having those two beautiful babies look at me with their big blue eyes and call me mommy. OK, the little one doesn’t say mommy quite yet, but you know what I mean.
Three – My Family
Family has always been important to me, but I think more so now than ever I realize how important it really is. My parents have always supported me, even when they did not want to. I took advantage of them for a long time, and did not value the relationships I could have with them.
Today my mom is my best friend, my sister is back in my life, my dad can sleep at night knowing that I am safe.
I remember the day my mom gave me a key back to their house. It was the best feeling I could ever have felt. That meant that they were learning to trust me again. Trust is hard to rebuild, and having that one little gesture from my mother was a huge gift.
As for my extended family, they are some of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders. My family is quite large, and I am not sure they would want their names blasted on my page. But they definitely deserve to make the list, because they are all so very important to me and I love them all.
Four – Michael
Yes, he is family as well but I feel like he deserved his own category. Any man who has the capacity to deal with my silliness, my awkwardness, my anxiety, my crazy ideas, my complaining, my messiness, and eat pretty much whatever weird concoction I decide to invent in the kitchen deserves a shout out.
Michael has stood beside me since day one and always wanted the best for me. He saw the person I could be, and should be, not the person I was, and he fought hard for me to find it and see it myself.
We now get to share this awesome job of parenting our daughter together and it is such a beautiful gift being able to watch him with our little Marlow.
He has also taken on the role of “step dad” without one complaint, moan or groan. He comes along whenever we have to pack up and head to the island for days to work with our visitation schedule. Layton adores him, and they have a great relationship and I love watching the two of them together.
Five – My Girls
If you have been keeping up with my writing, you know how important my friends are to me. I met this group when I was pregnant and in a new city with not many girlfriends. I had to go out of my comfort zone and reach out for some support, and I am so glad I did.
Now that we have had our babies, we continue to meet up at least once a week and do some sort of activity. New moms are joining us every week, and we are now a tribe of over 60 women with babies in our city.
We lean on each other for support, help to get through struggles, victories, and just share the enjoyment of raising our littles.
My best friend Stephanie also makes my list. We met a number of years ago in an elevator and the rest is history! She and I have stayed in contact no matter what was going on in our lives, and she is a huge supporter for me. I love her so much, and hopefully one day we will live closer to each other! (Hint Hint)
Girlfriends are such an important part of life these days. There were times in my life where I couldn’t be bothered with girlfriends, and just did my own thing. Today I need these relationships, and crave that connection with them. They just get it, you know?
The Weekend Ahead…
There is my top five list of What I am thankful for. I really could go on forever and continue that list but I do have a ferry to catch today and Marlow just woke up from one of her famous 20 minute power naps.
As the Thanksgiving weekend quickly approaches I will be celebrating this year at my parents house.
My sister has flown in from Manitoba to be with us, my in laws will be joining us from where they live, and my family will be all together eating my favourite meal on the planet (besides tacos) Turkey Dinner!
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend close to the ones you love.
I encourage you to make your own list this year. Feel free to share something you are thankful for below in the comments.