Practicing Gratitude in 2014

My friend and teacher, Marc Alan Shelske, spoke on The Five Declarations of Gratitude at the end of November, 2013. It has been a pivotal teaching for me recently.

A handout received from Bridge City Community Church's Marc Schelske on 11/30/13

A handout received from The Five Declarations of Gratitude, presented at Bridge City Community Church by Marc Alan Schelske on 11/30/13

In December, I decided to put these declarations into practice. You can read more about that here. For approximately two weeks I posted or wrote out these statements of gratitude and identified the things that I was dealing with or struggling with in my life and exchanged complaints for these struggles and conflicts, with  a declaration of gratitude.

I need to keep doing this throughout 2014, until gratitude becomes my default attitude over anxiety.

I spent New Year’s Eve and the first two thirds of New Year’s Day with anxious thoughts and reactions to toxic texts from he who shall not be named. I recommitted to doing Twelve Step work around my codependency issues, which led to me rejoining the Overeaters Anonymous online community, The Recovery Group, since I couldn’t locate enough online meetings through the CoDA website for me to shift my focus to and redirect my anxious thoughts into constructive activity.

I spent Christmas alone and I was alone again. It was a holiday. I didn’t want to bother people who were celebrating and bringing in the New Year and drag them down into my pit of doldrums. So, I wrote, and wrote, and wrote some more. In between all the writing, I participated in a phone meeting and an online meeting. In the midst of all of this, the texts kept coming with messages that triggered what one person in recovery referred to as the “Itty bitty shitty committee” inside my head. Well she was referring to the one inside her own head, but I have one of my own.

I called one friend. Voicemail. “Hi, it’s me. Happy New Year. I’ll talk to you later.”

I called the next friend. Voicemail. “Hey there. I was really hoping to talk to you. I hope you’re having a good day. Happy New Year.” A few minutes later I got a text stating she was out of town and only getting one bar of service.

TANGENT: One bar of service – imagine someone was transported from the 60’s – 80’s to the present day, reading that statment might think that statement meant. Context is everything, right?

I called the third friend. Finally, she answered. “Oh, hi. How’re you doing?”

“Um, not great. Am I calling at an okay time?”

“Well, I’m in the store.” The words were broken and staticky.

“Oh. Okay. Well, could you call me later? I know how hard it is to be on the phone and in the store with poor reception. I alway have trouble remembering the items on my mental list.”

“Yeah, thanks. I’ll give you a call later.”

I think it was a couple of hours before my phone rang. We talked about the current living arrangments and my financial dependency. I shared some of the things being said to me and my fears about whether my daughter was hearing those things. She asked me some questions and really listened to the answers. She stepped up. She stepped in. She heard me. She problem solved with me.

Today, she picked me up and we went to visit another member of our church community who was a resource for helping me overcome one of the many barriers that have been keeping me enmeshed in financial and material ways in this relationship which hasn’t been functional for a long time, if it ever was.

The people around me are enough. For them I am grateful.


  1. I’m grateful that you have that support. It’s hard to break these emotionally destructive cycles without help, so I’m glad you’ve got it. ((Hugs))


    1. Thanks Mary. I consider you part of my extended support network. I need to remember to connect with you too. I know we’ve only spoken a couple of times, but I really want to do it again.



  2. Some great good news, in spite of hard times. Your story reminded me of a Bible passage I reflected on today —

    “Keep me safe, O God,
    I’ve run for dear life to you.
    I say to God, ‘Be my Lord!’
    Without you, nothing makes sense.

    And these God-chosen lives all around—
    what splendid friends they make!” (Psalm 16:1-3, The Message)


    1. Tony,
      I’m in the “hot spot” of a refining process for sure. It might not be comfortable, but this is where the growth and change are happening, so, I have to be grateful.



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