When I say I was Blessed with a Drug Problem, this is what I Mean.

0

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 1.6
Shares 8.6
Hearts 10
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 6.0
28 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
5
1.2k

This morning, I woke up just as I do most mornings.

I poured a cup of strong coffee and walked out onto the porch. The rain was clip clopping down on the pavement, and the sounds of distant trucks and cars colored the soundscape.

It was the dawn of a new day and I looked to the sky and I said, “Thank you.”

My mind immediately jumped to the ones I loved the most. My beautiful little children, my friends, my coach, and my mentors. I pictured each one of their faces in my mind clearly and, once again, I said, “Thank you.”

There are definitely people who do not understand the level of gratitude that I possess just for being alive, and I have even lost some friends over it. I sometimes get the feeling that they perceive me as the do-gooder Pollyanna who is always looking at the bright side, but I do not fault them for this. Unless a person has experienced the horrors of substance addiction firsthand, I am not sure they could be capable of understanding it fully.

Each time it has happened, I’ve silently laughed to myself, “It’s not my fault you’ve never had a drug problem.”

Unless a person has been rushed by ambulance to a medical center an hour away because their local hospital did not have the facilities to save their life, I am not sure they could truly feel the beauty of what I see on this porch every morning. The chipmunks, the squirrels, the awkward and clumsy groundhog trying unsuccessfully to get underneath the house.

Unless a person has felt that sinking feeling, that nauseating fear of not knowing how they are going to feed their addiction, where they are going to get the money—and even if they could get the money, where they’re going to get what they need—unless this is how you have awakened year after year after year, it might be difficult to understand what it really feels like.

And I am sorry for them. I am sorry for the ones who post those defeated memes on Facebook that go on about how people will always screw you over or the ones who post those blogs that complain about the injustices they feel in the dating world, in the working world, and in their own sad, little worlds.

I am certainly not minimizing whatever it is they are going through, I am just pointing out that much of what people go through is based primarily on perception.

And unless you have come out of anesthesia alive, knowing full well that the surgeon wasn’t sure if you were going to, it’s difficult to imagine what that might be like. Unless a doctor has visited you in the recovery room to tell you that you will likely not get another chance like the one you just had, it’s not easy to comprehend how someone can be so positive all the time.

So, I do not fault the one or two people who have walked away from me and my annoying gratitude. I don’t allow myself to feel bad about it, though.

It’s not my fault that they’ve never had a drug problem.

But if you’ve never had the good fortune of a near death experience or hitting bottom with a substance abuse problem, there is hope for you anyway.

If you can find five minutes a day to keep a gratitude journal, science has proven that you can increase your overall happiness by as much as 10 percent. That increase in well-being is exactly the same as doubling your income.

What happens to us psychologically when we keep a gratitude journal is pretty amazing. We trigger a set of responses that make us grateful and keep us, on some level, looking for other things throughout the day to be thankful for. It puts us in what researchers describe as a positive feedback loop—and starting one is a lot easier than you think.

Get yourself a journal. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a $8 hardcover one with pictures of butterflies on the cover from Amazon. Most of my journals are kept in marble composition books that can be gotten at most dollar stores.

The next step is to wake up in the morning and list all of the things you are grateful for. If you’re having trouble thinking of things, I can help you get started. Even if your life is in a complete shambles, you most likely can begin with:

1. I woke up this morning.
2. I am presently not on fire.
3. I have food to eat.

You will find that the longer you keep this up, the more things you will be adding to the list. The reason for this is because it is a verifiable fact that the more gratitude you feel, the better your life becomes—in a tangible and quantifiable way. You will attract more friends and better situations into your life.

Of course, I am kidding when I say, “It’s not my fault that you’ve never had a drug problem.” I would never suggest that you go out and obtain one, much in the way I would never suggest attempting to have a near death experience. Obviously, you can feel a profound sense of gratitude without having gone through this hell.

The main thing is that you, at the very least, try. There is no set of circumstances and no material gain that will affect you in the way a daily gratitude journal will. It is the psychological equivalent of eating a healthy diet. And, in the long run, even better for you.

~

author: Billy Manas

Image: Mikail Duran/Unsplash

Image: Author's Own

Editor: Catherine Monkman

0

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 1.6
Shares 8.6
Hearts 10
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 6.0
28 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
5
1.2k

Read The Best Articles of November
You voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares.
CLICK TO SEE WHO WON

Billy Manas

Billy Manas is a poet, singer-songwriter, and truck driver from the Hudson Valley in New York, where you can catch his act at wine tastings and breweries. His distinct voice in both song and poetry is likely the result of his degree in literature and his teenage years spent outside of CBGB’s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Catch up with Billy on his website.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Kelly Yeager Oct 8, 2018 3:19am

Your earnest humility and open frankness of your past is refreshing. Reading your articles makes me want to grab my pen and start writing again. I totally didn’t take this article as drug addiction holding the market on suffering. There are those of us with self destructive tendencies which governed and continue to govern our lives. Those who suffer in their own private hells from a plethora of ‘joy robbers’. Love your message, Billy. Turn the page each day! Love your day, love the gift of each day. Love the gift of your life. Every day is another ‘second chance’ AND dang it ...Chose joy. Thank you for sharing your journeys! Please keep sharing!

Billy Manas Oct 3, 2018 6:14pm

Evans Shades thank you!

Angel Smith Oct 3, 2018 4:48pm

You can be pretty close to death without having a drug problem. Life sometimes throws a real curve ball at you, you know. What you describe reminds me "Brave New World" chapter 17 "There's a great deal in it," the Controller replied. "Men and women must have their adrenals stimulated from time to time." "What?" questioned the Savage, uncomprehending. "It's one of the conditions of perfect health. That's why we've made the V.P.S. treatments compulsory." "V.P.S.?" "Violent Passion Surrogate. Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It's the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences." "But I like the inconveniences." "We don't," said the Controller. "We prefer to do things comfortably." ######################## And I suspect that the Savage was right - "Nothing costs enough here."

Evans Shades Oct 3, 2018 3:15pm

That’s exactly not what this article was saying. Key word was that struggle and suffering are a matter of “perspective”. And I for one applaud and appreciate this one particular perspective 🙏🏻

Lei MP Oct 3, 2018 2:41pm

So, do you feel sorry or you don't...for the people who never had a drug problem? You sound confused about it. There are many ways of hitting bottom without any substance abuse problems and many other problems in life that will make one become grateful of drinking stronf coffee each morning. People who've recovered from drug addiction are not wiser than those who've struggled elsewhere.

Billy Manas Oct 2, 2018 11:52pm

Thank you Marilyn

Marilyn Regan Oct 2, 2018 12:47pm

Yes, have an attitude of gratitude and you will attract more of or into your life....like attracts like. Thanks, I needed this.

Billy Manas Oct 2, 2018 12:24am

Yes Heidi!

Heidi Evans McArdle Oct 1, 2018 7:01pm

and the blessed thing is, you find you actually are grateful for those things.