Thursday, December 24, 2009

Counting My Blessings

Things I do well: sarcasm, sassy come-backs, really bad jokes, storytelling.

Things I'm not so good at: expressing gratitude, putting feelings like joy and love into words.

Make no mistake. I'm not the guy you want making the toast at your wedding, unless you were looking for a cross between Henny Youngman and Milton Berle for the job. I tend to get all "guyish" when I have talk about all the things we typically associate with the heart (metaphorically -- angiograms and clogged arteries I usually do OK with).

But I'm going to give it a try anyway. Practice makes barely adequate.

I thought at this time last year, "Man I have a lot to be grateful for." But it was really nothing compared to this year. So, here is my Christmas gratitude list (but just the short version):

I have a great family that I finally let myself enjoy and appreciate. I spent so many years trying to make sure I never let my family disappoint me, I never gave them a chance to support me. Every minute I've spent with them this year has been enjoyable, dare I say fun. I love you all.

We'll get to my friends in a moment, but first there are two people that I owe for virtually everything good that has happened to me this year. Traditions and protocol discourage me from naming them publicly, but they both know who they are. You guys rock! This blog wouldn't even exist right now if not for the confidence and faith you both instilled in me.

I've been off crystal meth (and all other mind-altering substances) for more than two years now. That is a miracle and I'm grateful just for that alone. But, I could not have done it without all my friends in NYC that have picked me up when I was feeling like I couldn't keep going and pushed me when they saw that I needed to pick up the pace a little. I've been joking that I want to pull a "Laverne & Shirley" and take you all to California with me, but no matter where you are (or I am) I know I'll have you with me.

One of the things I was really angry with myself about when I first got sober was that I had so many amazing friends my whole life and I walked away from just about all of them when I was using. I would have been thankful to have just had even a handful of them back in my life. Instead, so many people that had good reasons not to, have opened their hearts to me again. I tend to show my love by mocking and teasing, but I hope you all know how much I cherish having you in my life again.

We live in a pretty amazing time. Think about how many people you've met and thought, "I would love the chance to get to know him (her) better." But because of circumstances and geography it wasn't really possible. Say what you will about people spending all their time online, but if I weren't tethered to the internet the way I am, I'd have missed out on at least a half dozen new friendships. I guess that sounds like I'm saying I'm grateful for Facebook (and I probably am), but I'm really grateful for everything those "virtual" friendships add to my life. Again, you all know who you are.

As a cumulative consequence of all the gratitude listed above, I'm grateful that now when I joke about being misanthropic, I know it really isn't true.

Finally, I'm grateful that there is some higher power out there that I can grab onto when all else fails. Some people call it God, some people call it a sling blade. I call it "the universe." And as I do every morning, I thank it for showing me how to align myself with it rather than continuing to rail against it.

Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday of joy you celebrate).

P.S. I'm really grateful that people read this blog and seem to like it. Invite your friends to check it out too. I'm going to take the next few days off. I'll be back next week. :-)


  1. This is so sweet and thoughtful. In fact, I think I may just sit down and do this myself tonight. I was recounting my time in Philadelphia to a friend the other night and started by talking about how my internship at FIGHT kind of kick-started so much in my life--living in an urban setting, working hard for a purpose, surrounding myself with people who inspire me and make me laugh.

    What you may not know is that story ALWAYS starts with you since you. You were the one who interviewed me and took me on--and then became so much a part of that time in my life and, in some sense, all that's come after. I'm so proud of where you are in your life but also who you are as a person and a friend.

    Much love to you.

    PS--Know what I would kill for right now?? A tray of those cookies you always used to hand out!!

  2. Thank YOU for sharing...and dare I say 'you're welcome'?

  3. Like it? Who said anything about liking it? ;)

    Merry Christmas, Petr.

  4. i for one am grateful that facebook brought us back together this year. much love, janet (the girl who can't figure out her google account...)

  5. Petr,

    I am grateful that we reconnected (albeit virtually so far and WE WILL before you leave for the West Coast). Like Kelly, I have fond memories of you at FIGHT. I also have completely wacked-out never to be repeated memories, but that's for another time.

    I am so glad that you are healthy and well, and on the other side of the Meth-Train. I thank the Universe that you're not writing your blog from behind bars, or having read about you in the newspaper about a more permanent life placement.

    Keep up the good work, I'm proud of you.

    Merry Christmas!



  6. We could all learn a thing or two about gratitude from you Petr. Thanks for reminding me that the time I've spent with my family this year has been amazing. I love you and the life you helped me to find in 2008.

  7. Thanks for sharing..and reminding us to count our blessings. Sometimes I forget to do that :) Feel better soon and Happy New Year!