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Irish International Immigrant Center - Matters of substance: story of gratitude and hope

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - President John F. Kennedy
Danielle shares a client’s story of gratitude and hope:
“I haven’t always enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. When I first moved to the United States from Ireland 10 years ago, I didn’t really understand the holiday much. It generally just allowed me an excuse to get off work and drink for four days. My American friends were always trying to invite me to join in their families’ celebration, but I only ever accepted an invitation once. That afternoon, I had arrived to my friend’s home having had at least half a bottle of whiskey, which, at the time, was a normal morning for me. Despite being clearly drunk, I was warmly welcomed by my friend’s family. They had all gone to so much trouble preparing their Thanksgiving dinner; even cooking for a couple of days beforehand. I, however, fell asleep in their living room while they all worked away with the final dinner preparations. My friend came to find me and gently wake me, but apparently I was too difficult to rouse. When I did finally wake up and they said dinner was ready, I shouted in an annoyed tone, “What dinner?” and proceeded to knock over their table lamp and promptly fell asleep again.
It wasn’t until last year in treatment for my alcohol addiction that my friend told me this story. I remember feeling so ashamed of my behavior and seeing the look on my friend’s face as he recounted my actions. This is what keeps me sober; not the fact that my family had refused to talk to me for years or even a couple of DUI’s, but it was this story that finally woke me up from my denial!
I have been sober for nearly a year now and I am so looking forward to Thanksgiving because of this holiday that I realized I was addicted to alcohol and that it had made my life so unmanageable. I can now celebrate my sobriety and my amazingly patient friends who also rejoice in my new life. I celebrate by going to an AA meeting, sharing my story, and helping those who also want recovery. I’m even cooking this year; to show my friends as well as myself how thankful I am for this new awakening.”
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Change is ALWAYS possible, but make sure you have the support you need. We never plan to have problems with alcohol or drugs, but if you think you do or are worried about a loved one, there is somewhere to go to chat about your concerns. Contact Danielle, in confidence and without judgment, at the IIIC at 617-542-7654, Ext. 14 or by e-mail at dowen@iicenter.org.

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