The Unexpected Gift of Bad Gratitude

Andy Crooks writing as Andy C
2 min readJan 19, 2023

Gratitude is amazing; the results are good even when the source is bad. Here is a personal example of what I mean.

On my way to my AA meeting, I stopped for a coffee. The customer ahead of me ordered three complicated cappuccinos and two flavoured lattes. It would take all of the baristas behind the counter to fill the order. I was going to be late. He was making me late.

Finally, I got my coffee and walked to my car.

The car next to mine had been badly parked and invaded my parking space. I had to twist and squeeze into my car. Another guilty party was making me later still.

Traffic was terrible; I watched the cars racing by, and I began to hate them all.

At the meeting, the setup guy was late. He was still setting up the chairs when I arrived. He joined everyone else who was within my zone of judgment.

My irritation level was off the charts. I wanted to banish guys with complicated coffee orders, punish close parkers, eliminate all traffic, and manage the meeting setup.

Before the meeting started, a newcomer, his second week in, came up and asked me to sponsor him. He told me he had heard my share last week and thought I had the quality of sobriety that he wanted. He had checked around and had been told that I was a great sponsor.

I basked in the warmth of the praise. Unconsciously, I reflected on the sound judgement of this newcomer.

But I also began to feel grateful; grateful for my life and the ability to help someone. Like yeast in bread, gratitude lightened my whole being. I began to feel better about the world.

It was a great meeting.

Later that night, I reviewed my day.

I remembered how my self-centered irritations had infected my whole being. Then I remembered the newcomer and the ego swelling and pride from his comments. Pride that magically morphed into gratitude, gratitude which expanded and changed my whole day.

I realized, even bad gratitude, ego swelling, self-centered and prideful gratitude, dissolves negative attitudes and feelings.

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Andy Crooks writing as Andy C

For Andy C, not drinking was the first spiritual awakening. He’s been blessed with subsequent spiritual awakenings as the results of the 12 steps.