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“If a person focuses on the problem itself and continues to give it powerful mental and emotional energy, the person attracts exactly what is not wanted. By focusing on gratitude instead, at the same time that the problem is being confronted, a person connects to Omnipresent, all powerful, all knowing Divine mind….” ~ Anon

When confronted with a problem there is a tendency for me to concentrate/ obsess solely on what is bothering me as a kind of deluded attempt to ‘fix things’. This serves only to magnify my problem, building a “superstructure of interpretation on top of these events, adding considerably to the pain and solidifying the suffering into a permafrost of bitterness”.

My three main character defects operating here are:

Ingratitude – focusing only on ‘the problem’ and ignoring everything else that is good in my life. A total inability to compartmentalise my thinking, allowing my problem to bleed into everything I do and think. Always distracted, never present. Obsessed.

Cowardice – not trusting my Higher Power will provide the resources for me to cope (via my direct connection and through the people in my life I have sought to help me).

Entitlement – the sense that I am somehow exempt from bad things happening.

My suffering, no matter what the problem is, can therefore be reduced by cultivating gratitude for the beautiful experiences and people in my life, faith that my connection with a Higher Power will provide the resources for me to cope and courage to ask for help, and acceptance that pain is an inevitable part of life.

Daily gratitude lists have been instrumental in my recovery as a means to focus on what is right in my life, how far I’ve come (attributing any personal ‘success’ to AA), and the help I continue to receive.

Whilst the Big Book doesn’t mention ‘gratitude lists’, it does suggest repeatedly to ‘count your blessings ‘, which I believe is exactly the same thing 🙂