At a recent meeting on the topic of Gratitude, someone shared that she'd made a list of all those things from her past that are "not like that anymore today". This had helped her to see how far she had come and to feel grateful for this progress. It seemed like a good idea to me, so here I go:
Thank you God that the following things of the past that are not like that anymore today.
Not drinking alcohol anymore and waking up with terrible headaches, waking up in my own vomit or in a wet bed.
Not smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, stinking like an ashtray, compulsively grabbing a cigarette first thing in the morning with yellow fingers and a stomach which hurt, amid stinking over-filled ashtrays and cigarettes floating in wine.
Not smoking marihuana anymore, having weird, negative experiences with it, feeling the insidious, sneaky, paranoia-enhancing, destructive influence of it and not being able stop using it.
Not acting-out sexually anymore, not masturbating compulsively anymore, not going to prostitutes, looking at pornography, not spending thousands on sex anymore
Not lusting most of the times and, when I do take a rare second or third look, not trying to white-knuckle my disease, when I am better off surrendering my temptations.
No longer having any debts.
Not moving house every few months.
Not sleeping in dirty hotels because I'd missed the last train home, after acting-out in the red-light district.
Not hitchhiking at night anymore, because I'd missing the last train again after acting-out.
Not having to escape from my home because I was unable to be alone with myself.
Not having strangers in my bed anymore - people I wouldn't mix with in normal life.
Not trying to pull dirty drug junkies anymore and feeling lower than low.
Not doing any sexual things which my friends and family could not approve. (Thank You God for keeping me pure).
Not waking up to find stolen goods in my room - ashtrays, beer glasses, car radios, traffic signs, etc.
Not peeing in anyones mail box anymore.
Not yelling like a lunatic in the city streets at 3 in the morning.
Not knocking on girl's doors at night in the drunken fantasy of having sex with them.
Not stealing bicycles.
Not vandalizing bicycles "just for fun" anymore.
Not vandalizing public property anymore, like bus stops and traffic signs.
Not kicking off car mirrors or breaking off Mercedes stars anymore. (I now actually have friends who own Mercedes).
Not living with my crazy family anymore.
Not living with crazy girl friends anymore.
Not stuffing myself with loads of sugar anymore - like 3 pots of ice cream a day.
Not waking up to the rubbish dump of empty cookie packets, ice cream pots, cakes, etc. on my couch from the night before.
Not being suicidal anymore.
Not being utterly lonely the whole time anymore.
Not having guilt or shame anymore for anything I did last night .
Not yelling at my father anymore.
Not stealing money anymore.
Not having to avoid people because of the harm I had done them. (I have now made direct amends to all).
Not spending money impulsively or compulsively anymore.
Not being in a sect anymore - losing my identity and spirituality.
Not breaking promises to friends (most of the time).
Not shouting and raging (most of the time. When it does happen the quantity and intensity is far less)
Not going to bed after midnight anymore, due to restlessness and just not getting into bed.
Not making impulsive or compulsive decisions (but discussing things with others most of the time).
Not diagnosing and prescribing medication for myself anymore (but following doctor's guidance).
Not sponsoring myself anymore (most of the time).
Not keeping secrets anymore.
Not wearing dirty clothing anymore.
Not living in unsafe places anymore.
Not associating with unsafe people anymore.
Not despairing because I am aging (most of the times).
Not watching TV anymore (I don't have one).
Not going to the movie theater three time a week anymore.
Not feeling desperate because I'm single (most of the times).
When I look back over this list, it is clear that my life has changed dramatically in only a couple of years.
Dear God, Please grant me the humility and perseverance to continue on this path and the desire to get to know You ever better.