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A Season of Gratitude

Dec 17, 2019

Joe Hartwell, Alumni Care Coordinator

Season’s greetings alumni,

I’m super excited that Chad and I are hitting the road for all the Origins Alumni Holiday celebrations in TX. I’m so thankful to get the opportunity to spend a little time with you during the holiday season, sure hope you can make it!

I always seem to reflect more this time of year around all the things that I’m thankful for, like God, Origins, AA, sobriety, family, job, health, friends, the great outdoors, hunting, fishing, and nature, the list just goes on and on. I recently came across an article where the writer mentioned there being a difference between being thankful and being grateful. I’ve never really given it to much thought, so I looked the two words up.

By definition, grateful is feeling or showing appreciation for something done or received, while the definition of thankful is feeling pleased and relieved.

Both grateful and thankful are positive feelings and seem to be prompted by some positive event; however, gratitude leans more towards showing appreciation. So, if I say I’m grateful, am I showing my gratitude through my actions? For instance, if I’m grateful to God for my life and my sobriety, am I showing my gratitude through prayer and meditation, regularly practicing 10th steps, regular evening reviews, being of service at my home group, fellowshipping, and last, but never least, intensive work with other alcoholics and drug addicts?

How much time do I give God in a day?

The holidays can be a little challenging for some, so I always like to refer to pages 101-103 of the Big Book. Here there are precise qualifications and instructions in dealing with all types of occasions starting at the bottom of (BB pg. 101), “Assuming we are spiritually fit.”

My experience over the years has shown that when I practice spiritual principals in all of my affairs with family, at work, around friends, and yes, even in AA, things just miraculously work out far better than I could have ever planned.

I stop seeing what I can get or take from my family, friends, work, and AA, and start looking at what I can give. “Do not think of what you will get out of the occasion. Think of what you can bring to it” (BB pg. 102). It seems that gratitude is more about my actions than how I think and feel. It’s only in giving do I truly receive anything worthwhile in life. I spent a large portion of my life trying to fill my spirit with things such as money, career, power, drugs, and alcohol. I couldn’t understand why, materialistically speaking, I had everything a man could possibly want, but the more I tried, the more restless, irritable, and discontented I became. I had to lose everything to learn this truth; I will never be able to fill my spirit with anything but the spirit!

I remember my sponsor telling me many years ago before I really had the capacity to understand the full meaning of it at the time, “Joe, you take care of God’s kids, and God will take care of you.”

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!


Origins Recovery Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 866-875-1558.

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