Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, with gratitude being the only focus of my writing on this day, which for today is for a group of nursing students I gave an alcoholism and drug addiction presentation to recently that surprised me at the end with a gift.

For the past four years I’ve been working with a teacher of nursing from The University of Toledo (UT), Judy, who was a subject of a previous Grateful Heart Monday. Her presence in my life has continued to be a blessing for the further volunteer opportunities it’s led to for me in my recovery program.

In light of this ongoing COVID epidemic, where opportunities for in-person engagement with others have been so limited, especially with 12 Step recovery work, I’ve been exceptionally grateful for this specific volunteer work still continuing. Recently, this work has expanded greatly, as other nursing instructors in the same department as Judy have caught wind of what I have been bringing to each of her classes. Because of it, I was contacted by another nursing teacher, Skylar, a few weeks ago, who asked me if I could meet with her set of students, which of course I quickly jumped at the opportunity. Fulfilling the purpose of the 12th Step itself, where I’m passing my experience, strength, and hope in recovery to others, I am thankful for anytime I get a chance to pass the message on. Another teacher, Carilyn, a day or so later, also contacted me and asked if she could combine her students into the same presentation I was going to be doing with Skylar’s students, and I saw no problem with it.

When the day of the presentation came, it was with some 40+ students in a lecture hall in one of the medical buildings on UT campus. It really felt good to stand up there and profess to know something in this world, as lately, I’ve often found myself asking if I even have a purpose for God. Ironically, that question seems to get blatantly answered anytime I find myself pondering it, because at the end of this significantly larger presentation than normal, two students approached me with a card and a gift that was from their entire class, thanking me for the volunteer work I continue to do in a field that is typically often thankless. The gift was this special UT laser pen and a vacuum sealed water bottle. The sentiment I felt from it was most definitely heartfelt.

While I don’t do this volunteer work for any reason other than to help others and stay sober, it is things like this that I receive from time to time that remind me why I’m meant to continue doing this. It’s also what reminds me that I do have a purpose in this world for God and for that I’m exceptionally grateful.

So, thank you, UT nursing students, for helping me to remember why I’m still here, doing something that for me, is just telling my story, but for you, has become a blessing more than not. It is why I’m dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday to you and the  small gift you gave me that meant a lot more to me that you can imagine!

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson