At first, drinking was fun. Alcohol gave Tony confidence. Sober, Tony was a shy kid. But a few drinks changed all that. In his early twenties, Tony was married and running his own business in wedding video-photography. Tony’s drinking wasn’t fun anymore, and his alcohol consumption was becoming a problem.
Today we’ll be learning about gratitude. Because it is an incredible, incredible tool. Some of you may already practice gratitude in your day to day life and some of you may need a bit of a refresher. I think this is always a topic even though I’ve studied it myself and the research on it is pretty good. It’s always something to come back to. I do a lot of journalling and I find that it’s quite useful to be able to put into words pen to paper, what you’re grateful for because it really does change your brain chemistry.
It was my dad’s 60th Birthday and we had decided to throw him a big party. At the time things weren’t going well in my house, my parents were two months away from a bitter divorce, and I was on the verge of spiralling into my addiction for the next decade. However, I got up in front of a room full of our family and friends to give a speech. I don’t remember much about what I said, but I do remember looking my father in the eye and sincerely saying that he was my best friend.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had several phone calls from recently graduated patients, or their family members, telling me that they are struggling to stay in recovery, and asking for guidance regarding relapse prevention. I think this is largely because of the COVID pandemic’s resulting self-isolation. The consequences of the pandemic—isolation, loss of social connection, being left to our own devices (literally and figuratively), and lack of exercise—all make life in recovery more difficult, and in combination sound like a recipe for relapse. What do I tell these patients and their families?