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Living with Gratitude

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Drew Rothermel, MBA, JD – President and Chief Executive Officer – Origins Behavioral HealthCare

thanksAs we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it is natural to begin reflecting upon the aspects of our lives which elicit the most genuine feelings of gratitude. Given enough time, we will probably be able to construct a bountiful list of those things—and many of us will find that, even though we may be struggling in certain areas, we have much to be grateful for. As I sat down this week to consider my own list, I began to wonder about my own experience of gratitude. More importantly, I began to ask myself this important question:

How do I show that I am grateful?  

Like countless others, I am overwhelmingly grateful for my family. I love them dearly, and I am so thankful that I have been given the gift of their presence in my life. Though this may be the case, I am clear today that actions speak louder than words. I must mirror my gratitude by spending quality time with my wife and children, and by consciously aiming to be present in their lives. Many times, this requires an intentional decision to “turn off” the work day, and instead turn my attention completely towards them. Though this is not always an easy task, this important activity is one of the most powerful ways I can express my gratitude for those who bring me so much joy.

When I take the time to show my love through deliberate action, my family is able to clearly see how much they mean to me.

This need for action extends to other areas of my life, and is particularly apparent in regards to my physical health. I am exceptionally grateful for my health, although I must admit that am not always the first one at the gym. (Hopefully, others can relate!) This paradox quickly reminds me that it is one thing to be grateful for one’s health, and an entirely different thing to act on that by thankfully staying active. I do my best to stay on top of my physical health, and realize that if I do not work to maintain it, I will no longer have the very thing for which I am grateful. This is a powerful truth, and one which I believe extends to recovery.

When we are grateful for our lives, we will act on that gratitude by consciously operating with compassion, integrity and courage. These spiritual principles are applicable to anyone, and are superbly expressed in the 12 Steps of recovery.

I am unequivocally grateful that I am able to practice living along spiritual lines. I know that without these guiding principles, the other items on my gratitude list may well not exist. The ability to be a loving husband and father is a blessing which is a direct result of acting with love and kindness. Likewise, I know that my physical wellbeing is a product of dedication to the principles of willingness and perseverance. Through the commitment to a spiritual way of life, I have been given many things which I might not otherwise have.

In order to be trusted with more, I must be a good steward of what I have already been given.

This, I believe, is an immutable spiritual law—one which I am thankful that we are able to share with the clients at Origins. Though addiction may ravage and impact families, many will go on to lead incredible lives when they begin to communicate their feeling of thanks through an unwavering decision to take action. When we make sincere efforts to live with gratitude—and to show that gratitude through love and service—we begin to see that our Higher Power will trust us with much more for which to be grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!