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Showing Gratitude Through Action

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

As 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. Those things that make our spirit thankful. 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 to consider my own experience with gratitude, I was reminded that simply having a list of things we should be thankful for isn’t enough. With this in mind, I began to ask myself this important question:

If gratitude is about action, how do I show that I am grateful?

Like countless others, I am so thankful that I have been given the gift of a family. Though this may be the case, I am clear today that actions speak louder than words. I must reflect this gratitude by spending quality time with my wife and children. This includes consciously aiming to be more than just physically present in their lives. Many times, this requires an intentional decision to “turn off” the work day, and turn my attention completely towards them. Though this is not always an easy task, this crucial 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 my physical health. I am exceptionally grateful that I am healthy, 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’s thing to be grateful for our health, and an entirely different thing to act on that by 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.

Today, I am 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 would not exist.

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. 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 these principles, 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 patients at Origins. Though addiction may destroy families, many will go on to heal from the inside out once 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!