Every Thanksgiving, I always have these generic little speeches about what I’m grateful for in my life. This year, more than ever, I’ve realized the entirety of what I actually am grateful for; the people, the events, the emotions that I invoke from all of these.
2013 has been perhaps, the most enlightening, productive, worthwhile, and hardest year of my life. From that stems the real things that I feel so lucky to have.
I am grateful for losing my job of five years in February after not having the strength to leave myself. I knew it was going nowhere and unfortunately, it took me getting fired for me to truly realize how much it was holding me back. I’m grateful for spending those hard few months looking for jobs and dealing with my lack of money because in the end, I became a stronger, more knowledgeable person whereto I know not to take things for granted and assume that they’ll always be there.
I am grateful that a great friend recommended me for my current job. I am grateful that this is my first full-time position with benefits and overtime and paid sick and vacation days; my first job with proper training and a set of rules and guidelines that I’m given to follow. I’m grateful that it’s a job that I can both use as a great experience and reference, should I decide to transfer to another field of work, or a job I can continue to work with and excel in and turn into an ever advancing career. I am grateful both for the opportunities this job provides, as well as the money it provides.
I am grateful to have hit my rock bottom early this year as becoming a functional alcoholic showed me how much I had let the negatives in life get to me. I am grateful that using drinking to solve all of my problems became my main vice because it had showed me just how much I let myself slip. I am grateful for how shitty I felt and how angry and depressed I always was. I am grateful that I’d wake up shaking, paranoid, terrified, reaching for my vodka water bottle, dizzy, restless, emotional, and unstable. I am grateful in that it showed me just how far I had to go to get myself back and just how much work it would take. I’m grateful that those horrible mornings, afternoons, and nights, serve as an ever-constant reminder of how far I’ve come and how much I don’t want to go back.
I am grateful that I’m sober. I’m grateful that, for the first time in six years, I’m free from any dependence on unprescribed drugs or alcohol. I am grateful that with this sobriety, I’ve become motivated and more productive in any forward moving goal, than I have since I graduated college. I’m grateful that I’m no longer stagnant in my thoughts, goals, or life, and that I’m on an ever upward moving journey of self-improvement and metanoia.
I am grateful that I lost the friends I did this past year. I am grateful that during the time I had to disappear for a while in order to get well, some of my closest friends justified my actions with their own agendas and reasoning. This lead to me losing a couple of friends that I had thought I would always have as a part of my life. But from this experience, I was able to find those who would stay in my life through the worst times.
I am grateful for the friends that I do have. I am grateful for the friends who stayed through my disappearance, who support me and love me unconditionally no matter what I’m doing, as long as it’s constructive. I’m grateful for those who love me for me and not for their own personal gain or motives, and whom I can support as much as they support me.
I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for having the parents that I do; for the siblings that I have a bloodline with. I am grateful for my dad. During my entire childhood, he held a work ethic that most would find unbearable. Through all of the troubles he had gone through in his life, for all of the negative events that seemed to follow him, for all of the hardships he had to endure and overcome, he never failed to provide for his family and make sure we had what we needed. He never failed to provide the emotional support and unconditional love that made him one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. His passing three months ago has made everything in my life much more unstable and much more uncertain, and for that, I’m grateful, because I’ve learned to never take anything for granted; never to assume that something will be there, just because it always has. I have learned to treasure the time I do have and hold on to the people I love and live without regrets. I have learned to separate myself from those whom are poisonous to me and to hold tight to those who are positive factors in my life. I am grateful for my mother who has worked so hard our whole lives to make sure that we were taken care of; to make sure that we had the love, comfort, and security of knowing that we would always be provided for. I am grateful that I know she loves me, no matter what I do, no matter how much she might disagree with my decisions, and no matter how awful I can be. I am grateful for knowing that she wants nothing more than for me to be happy and successful in life; that her primary concern is that I’m taking care of myself and that I’m with someone who takes care of me as well. I am grateful for my brothers and sister. I have never been the best sister, but they still love me and as we’ve grown older, we’ve come to peace with our differences and are able to regard each other as friends, and that is something I can’t express enough appreciation for.
I am grateful for my girlfriend who has provided me with something that I dearly missed: female companionship. I am grateful that she has given my boyfriend and I something that we were dearly missing: another person to share in our dreams, goals, motivations, love, and relationship. I am grateful that she provides support, encouragement, friendship, strength, and an always listening ear to us both, and whom we can both provide the same for her.
I am grateful that I’m working my way towards sophrosyne slowly but surely, and that it motivates me to keep going, no matter how hard it gets and how badly I want to give up and take the easy road.
And finally, I am more than ever grateful for my boyfriend. I cannot begin to express the gravity of how much respect, appreciation, loyalty, admiration, and love I have for him. I have said this to a few people previously, but I’ve never been with someone who has pushed me so hard to be the best person I can be, that I’ve wanted so desperately to be, and supported me the entire away. I have never felt so secure in myself and who I am as I do now. From nursing me back to health by getting me sober, to working ridiculously long hours at a ridiculously strenuous job to make sure we had enough money to pay for food and rent and to jump-start our savings and get us caught up on bills, to altering his cooking style to introduce me to new foods that I would vehemently announce I hated before that I’ve discovered I actually love, to doing these little things that I think he thinks I don’t notice such as preparing food for me to take to work the next day or taking care to ask what’s wrong when he can feel my mood shift… I’ve never had someone who took such careful thought into making sure I was well taken care of, that I experience things that I never have before, that any issues or concerns that I have are talked out before they become a problem, whom I feel safe and secure with and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m loved… That I can build a future with and actually see long-term plans with, that I have a healthy relationship with and am not co-dependent on but would never want to be without… I am grateful to have someone who loves me for the person I am and the person that I want to be, and who’s seen me at my absolute worst and is helping me achieve my absolute best… I am grateful that I can be so in love with someone who I can’t do anything but walk over and wrap my arms around him in an effort to convey my sudden alexithymia and hope he knows what I’m trying to say… I am grateful for finally having the relationship I strived so long and so hard to have, to have someone who actually listens and takes my feelings and emotions into account, who asks my opinions and takes them into consideration, whom gives me the security I so much desire, who’s never given me a reason to not trust him, whom I can completely and totally trust, who will talk me through my irrational emotions and panic attacks, who makes me feel loved and cared for every single day…
Without him, without my family, without my friends, I wouldn’t have made it through this year, and I’m convinced of that. I don’t know where I’d be or what state of mind I’d be in, but it would be nothing compared to the feeling of being a complete person that I have now.
I have lost a lot in 2013, but more so, I have gained a sense of self throughout the entirety and therefore, I have so much to be grateful for.