Trying to Be Ungrateful – Grapevine Article March 2020 By Mark K

A member tries a unique plan to find some gratitude that’s as simple as one…two…three

A while back, it seemed that at most of the AA meetings I attended, the topic turned out to be gratitude. Members shared about a variety of things they were grateful for, such as not having hangovers or waking up in jail. One solution that came up over and over again was to make a gratitude list to remind ourselves how thankful one can be.

One day after one of those meetings, I was having a cup of coffee with an AA friend. As we talked, my friend shared with me that he was in a serious funk, a funk so deep that even the gratitude list he made wasn’t helping. It was at that point in our conversation that I had this intuitive thought. I figured that maybe he should try something different. I suggested that he make a list of all the things he was ungrateful for. Maybe that would help.

After I left, it occurred to me that I should practice what I had just preached. So I went home and made an “ingratitude list” myself. I must have been in denial or had a severe case of writer’s block, because my ingratitude list was a short list. It consisted of problems of cleaning the swimming pool after a dust storm, driving in traffic and all of the people demanding my time. I discovered that all of my problems were “Cadillac problems”! And you know what? Because I made that ingratitude list, I rediscovered my gratitude list. 

Doing this list reminded me to be grateful that I have nearly 30 years of continuous sobriety, with a nice life and a good marriage. I actually have so many blessings I can’t count them all. It made me truly grateful for all the gifts I’ve received. 

I’m here to tell you that gratitude sits at the top of my spiritual toolbox now. Gratitude has the utility of a Swiss Army knife; it can be used to fix most all my problems. Funny—it wasn’t until I thought about what I was ungrateful for, that I realized how really good I have it. 

I truly believe that saying we often hear in meetings: A grateful alcoholic is a sober alcoholic.


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