The ABC’s of Gratitude

We are powerless over other people’s behavior and attitudes.

However, we have power over ourselves. We can choose to be angry, resentful, and negative, or we can choose to be joyful, content, and grateful.

Adult children of addicts, or those who currently live with someone in addiction, often feel angry and resentful without really understanding why. These may be unresolved feelings that we haven’t learned how to deal with yet, or they may be habitual responses to the behavior of others. Many of us didn’t learn that we have power over our feelings–that no one can MAKE us feel a certain way.

Still. Old habits die hard. How can I turn my anger, resentment, or general grumpiness around and find an attitude of gratitude?

It’s as simple as ABC.

Using the alphabet as your guide, name one thing you are grateful for that begins with each letter. It seems silly. I know. I was a skeptic at first. But the simplest strategies are the easiest ones to remember when we really need them.

Just try it. Note how you feel right now. Then, name 5 things you are grateful for. Stop and notice how you feel. Continue for 5 more, and re-evaluate. Continue in this manner until you reach Z. I guarantee you will feel peace and joy creeping back into your heart.

I use this with my children, and now they request the “Gratitude ABC’s” when they have a case of the grumps. I love that I can learn new healthy strategies and pass those onto my children instead of passing my old, ineffective strategies down to the next generation.


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