This previously appeared at New Plateaus.
I recently celebrated seven years sober. I recognized this milestone as one typically does in AA. I received a small medallion during a meeting and said a few words about my experiences and obstacles over the past year as well as thanks for the support and my sobriety.
The next day I wrote an email to the men and women who have meant the most to me in my recovery. I wanted to express my gratitude for that which is so easy to take for granted: our friends and family. (We could also add to the list our health and belongings.)
But more so, I wrote to them because I wanted to make clear how impactful they’ve been to me. Because I realized that we forget not just about how good we have it; we forget about how good we are—about how capable we are of making people’s lives brighter from the power of the positive glow we have about us.
I know. Sounds kinda hippie.
But I believe it.
On Memorial Day I suggested we should make the holiday even more memorable by not just paying respects to those who’ve served, but by emulating them. Make the day an annual celebration and time for us to serve.
Today, I write to say how easy this is. I’m not referring to a decision to resist a weekend getaway or being a couch potato and the many service opportunities there are to choose from—though these are key to recognize. I’m saying it’s easy because all it really takes is a smile. A “good morning” and a gesture are bonuses. It’s easy because by simply acknowledging this ability to bring and add energy to a person’s day, we feel real good about ourselves and are excited to offer ourselves to the world. We see how natural our desire and ability to serve and help others.
That’s what I wanted to convey to my email recipients, that by just being them they added light to my day. And these men and women aren’t just special people to me; they are special to anyone they encounter: I’m just evidence. And it isn’t just these 20 or so friends of mine. It’s you, too!
I think we just need to drop the racing mind and see the beauty of interaction with the others available right before our eyes. Like a door prize, you need to be present to win. You need to be aware in order to know your glow.
Read more about sobriety in the Power & Powerlessness series on The Good Life.
—Photo credit: Greenwich Photography/Flickr