Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why is Gratefulness Necessary?

Gratefulness... what value does it have? Why is it necessary? How does it contribute to our recovery and healing?

When we work through our issues during the recovery process we come to understand why we made the choices we did. We open our eyes and see ourselves in truth. We strip away all the confusion and dithering and come to grips with what has transpired in our lives. We make no excuses for our situation and understand that we own our own power and can guide our lives along the path that has been laid before us.

We move through recovery advancing through the process one step at a time. We begin in denial and blame... afraid to acknowledge the truth of our situation. We work through those feelings until we come to a place where we can no longer define our situation in terms of wishful thinking. At this point we become angry as a result of all the pain and loss we have suffered due to our pasts and the choices we have made. As we work through our anger we come to a stage where we try to bargain our way out of the facing our feelings. When we finally are tired of trying to avoid our emotions we succumb to the truth. It is a time of extreme sadness and depression. We are overwhelmed with emotion and feel the full weight of our pain and loss. We grieve in earnest. In time we move through the pain to a place of acceptance. We understand that we cannot change what has happened and we accept that these events are a permanent part of our lives.

This process of recovery takes us through emotional upheaval. At the close of the process we are faced with the truth and our feelings as a regards our situation. There is yet one more step we must face in order to heal the wounds we suffered. We must learn to be grateful for our past and the choices we made in order to be freed from the emotional pain they carry.

This is the hardest step of all. How do we become grateful for the caretaker that abused us? How to we become grateful for the parent who incested us? How to we become grateful for the partner who abandoned us?

We become grateful through compassion. We begin to understand that we would not be who we are today without the lessons those events brought into our lives. We may not be able to be grateful for the events themselves, but we can be grateful for the growth and changes we experienced as a result of those events.

The child who grew up with an abusive caretaker becomes an especially capable parent. The adolescent who was incested becomes a counselor for those who have suffered that same crime and is more adept than others because of the empathy felt. The abandoned partner learns to be independent and develop their individuality, becoming their best self as a result.

While we are grieving we cannot even fathom ever feeling gratefulness toward the incidents that caused us such pain and loss. As we come through recovery and move toward our healthier self we learn that this last step is the one that places us on the road to emotional freedom.

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