Today I went to Al-Anon, it was an open gratitude meeting. Round and round people bravely spoke up to share gratitude. At first I actively searched my mind – what am I grateful for???
Sure, I’m grateful for life. I have a pretty good apartment, an amazing child, a job I love. I’m surrounded by good friends and people who care about me. Here’s the thing – I am grateful and I appreciate my life. However, it’s been a while since I’ve felt the overwhelming tingling gratitude I used to feel in the midst of a chaotic life. You know, the goosebumps, cell vibrating, fire in my stomach and love in my heart type of thankfulness for life.
Being depressed all the time sucks. Gratitude after being depressed, now that’s heaven. Appreciating the green of the growing grass, feeling the sun on your skin, finding room to breathe in your chest, these are the moments I lived for. These are bone chilling pockets of gratitude and they always reminded me that life is worth living.
Not being depressed is great. But without the lows, the cell vibrating moments are gone. I’ve felt ungrateful for the stability in my life. How could I miss the chaos when it’s taken so much from me?
At the beginning of the meeting I thought, I want to stop taking my meds and FEEL the good. And hey if that means the bad is coming too than so be it! I’ll do anything to feel my heart beating out of my chest in the very best ways.
A moment of silence fills the room of al-anon. As I look across the group to regular member. She looks directly at me and winks. That’s my cue. Sharing scares the shit out of me. Talking in groups scares the shit out of me. But I have to talk through it, because if I speak my gratitude out loud maybe it’ll feel real. And maybe one day I’ll even get my sacred and beloved feeling back. With a shaking voice, per usual, I manage to spit out… “Hi, I’m Kaitlynn. I’m grateful for stability.”
I stumble through the rest, sharing bits of my depression and desire for chaos, followed by my gratitude for the things that are working and the growth I am proud of. I sit and breathe. The group continues, sharing their truths. Then I remember, I’ve grown. Wow I have fucking grown and healed and loved and lost. And then I found myself, finally. Maybe this new realm of feeling is okay and the limitations around them are healthy. Maybe I really should be on my meds.
Moments later I find myself back in the room, present and listening. Their stories, appreciation for life, and dedication to healing is inspiring. Suddenly there’s a shift in my heart. I feel something, chills. Every share is like a breath of fresh air, and suddenly I am lighter. Maybe it’s the dim lighting and flickering candles. Maybe it’s the intimacy and vulnerability. Maybe it’s the words of wisdom that tell my soul what it needs to hear. But by the last share I realize what I’m feeling. Goosebumps across my body, vibrating of my cells, fire in my body, and nothing but gratitude in my heart.
I can be stable.
I can feel.
I can make a home here.