Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday where gratitude remains the sole focus in my writing, which for today is for the loving connection I have now with my sister Laura and her children and the recent trip I was blessed with to see them where they live in Summerville, South Carolina.
It doesn’t seem that long ago where addiction had totally compromised my life, which included my relationship with my sister and her kids. Truth be told, I wasn’t a good brother to her or a good uncle to her kids when addiction was in full control my life. I made many decisions that put them second when it did, often skipping out on get-togethers and times when she really needed help or my nephews just wanted to spend time with me, and usually was only there when I needed her for something. The fact is, when any addiction is in control of you, even the most loving family and relationships tend to come second to engaging in the substance of the addiction.
It’s been almost 10 years now since any major addiction enveloped me. Now, my twin nephews Noah and Jacob are soon to be 20 years old and their younger brother Luke, 10. The idea of spending an entire week with them and my sister years ago when I was consumed by addiction would have seemed preposterous to my ego. But today, being able to do so, has really become one of the major highlights of my life. And this trip to see them was no exception.
After dining in some pretty wonderful local restaurants (Poogan’s Southern Kitchen, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, and Fuji Sushi to name a few), binging an entire new riveting series on Netflix (Archive81), watching a really uplifting movie (Sing 2), playing several fun card and board games (hearts, card dump, spoons, and Space Jam Monopoly), going to the Charleston aquarium, sipping coffee in downtown Charleston on the 2nd floor of an old bank that was converted into a Starbucks, having countless conversations that were both deep and funny, and getting to have some of my own personal time as well in the evening to relax in my Residence Inn suite where I meditated, reflected, worked out, talked to friends, and caught up on my own shows, I was blessed to have had such an amazing trip.
Many whom I’ve worked with in 12 Step recovery often worry they will never get something like this back. They fear it’s lost for good due to the pain their addiction inflicted upon others. I always tell them that the only thing they need to do is work the 12 Steps and find a Higher Power to guide them to becoming a more loving and selfless self. God truly has done that for me in my recovery from addiction and this January 2022 trip to see my sister and her family, where good times were intertwined with a depth of love I never once thought could ever happen again for me with them, proved that.
I am so thankful to God for making this trip possible, for the love Laura, Jacob, Luke, and Noah all have for me today, and another week’s worth of beautiful memories with them. And truly the perfect thing to dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday too…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson