Gratitude in Recovery – and the Holidays
Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, at Spiritual Adrenaline we like to focus on gratitude. By staying in gratitude, you are more likely to focus on the positive people, places and things in your life and avoid stinking thinking, resentments and relapse. Over the next few weeks, you will be introduced to people from all over the country to share with you why they are so grateful this holiday season. I thought I would kick it off by sharing just one of the reasons I am grateful.
Mom and Osteo-Arthritis
My Mom is 87 years-old and in good health with one major exception. She has osteo-arthritis and her knees in particular are causing her great pain. I speak to my Mom most mornings and over the Spring and Summer, our morning call was very difficult because she would tell me about how painful things were at night. Some nights her pain made it very difficult for her to sleep. Having gone through my Mom’s cancer diagnosis and treatment with her (she is thankfully cancer free), I know first-hand how difficult it can be to watch someone you love suffer. My Mom is too old for knee replacement surgery and traditional osteo-arthritis treatments have not worked for her. Given there no medical options recommended by her doctors, we had very little hope that anything would alleviate her suffering.
Committed to Finding Hope
This summer, I decided to spend 15 to 20 minutes a day researching alternative treatments for people with osteo-arthritis. I created a Google Alert and once a day I would receive all kinds of information on alternative treatments including stem cell therapy and lots of pharmaceutical drugs currently being tested. I was very skeptical of most but eventually, some options came along that seemed promising. My Mom, sister and I reviewed the information together and decided to give Regenexx “blood plasma enrichment” a try. The process is not covered by insurance and is considered “experimental”. However, test results confirm that approximately 60% of those who undergo the treatment have a reduction in pain and some increase in range of motion. It’s a three-month process with one injection of your own enriched blood plasma every month. My Mom has had her first treatment. We return for the second treatment in December. She has much less pain and can sleep better at night. She’s more mobile and told me during the Thanksgiving Holiday that she is excited to “get back to the gym.” Who knows what will happen in the long-run. What matters is that she has some relief from the constant “stinging” pain, we have a reasonable belief that this will continue to improve. My Mom has found hope that her quality of life can improve. What also matters very much to me is even if the treatment does not work, I tried.
Anyone who has the courage to admit they have a substance abuse issue understands while in active addiction, the only priority is getting more of whatever it is you are using. I understand this very well. However, in sobriety my priorities changed radically and I am in a position to be present for those I love. I can guarantee had I continued to drink and do drugs, my priority today would not be on my life and my Mom’s needs, but on my drug of choice. Addiction is a full-time job and all consuming thing. By focusing on sober priorities, you practice a living amends to yourself and those you love. It’s a gift of the twelve-step program that you can give to yourself and those you love. It’s a gift that I am most grateful for this holiday season.
Why Are You Most Grateful During the Holidays
If you are in early recovery, it’s important to stay in gratitude during the holiday season. Try a putting a gratitude list together to reflect on all the blessings you have experienced so far in your recovery. Focus on how different things are for you this holiday season compared to the past when you were using.
I would love to know what you are most grateful this holiday season! Feel free to post on our blog at spiritualadrenaline.com or on our Facebook page. I hope to hear you and wish you and yours a sober, happy and healthy holiday season.