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A Grateful Heart

by Chad Lentscher, Program Director, Gate Lodge at Origins

heartI believe that all joy exists through gratitude. 

My experience has been that an entitled heart will continue to stay sick, while a grateful heart has the opportunity to get well.  My life began to change drastically when I became clear on the fact that I was getting way more than I deserve.  Knowing how truly blessed I am, there is not only no need to complain, but I have no right to complain.  If many of us in recovery shared the details of our stories with others not in recovery, I think the overall response would be, “when did he or she die?”, or “please tell me that person is in prison.”


Gratitude can be found throughout the 12 steps. 


I had an overwhelming experience around Step One.  I learned the truth about my own powerlessness, which I think many alcoholics and addicts never have the opportunity to hear.  Knowing what I was up against, I was not only grateful I survived, but I was grateful to hear about a solution that worked.  This attitude carried me to Step Four, where I had the opportunity to look at my resentments, which are really a form of entitlement. In my delusional mind, I believed that I was not being treated the way I deserved to be treated.  In most cases, I found that people were treating me better or exactly the way I deserved to be treated.


I then had something to give to God. 


He performed miracles in Step Six and Seven, which placed me in a position to clean up my past.  Step Nine allowed me to get “right-sized” with the world.  The gratitude I experienced around the forgiveness and the support of friends and loved ones was unbelievable.  I was then in a position to live life as a daily reprieve, and be useful to others.


The life I live today is not one that I deserve, but it is the one that I have been blessed with.  If I cannot find gratitude in that, I’m not likely to ever experience true joy.

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