The Power of Gratitude in Recovery
Updated: Jan 18
Life is what we make of it and in recovery, we want to be the healthiest, happiest, and most content version of ourselves. In treatment, you will learn to integrate different coping mechanisms that can be useful when obstacles happen. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and many more 12-step support groups highlighted that gratitude is essential in long-term recovery.
Gratitude is not just when someone did a good thing for you, it's not just learning how to give thanks. It is your capability to appreciate life from within, even while recovering from substance use disorder. Learning how to incorporate gratitude into your life can help you maintain a positive mindset.
How to Practice Gratitude?
Focus on what you have, rather than what you don't have
Being thankful for what you have in your life is better than looking at what you lack. If you focus your attention on what you do not have, it creates dissatisfaction and cultivates negative emotions such as anger or jealousy. Recovery is harder when you view life as unfair. It may seem that being sober is a dark and lonely place.
Reflect on your life lessons
Over the course of our life, we will experience challenges and setbacks that could teach us many valuable lessons. The more we experience different things, the more we mature. However, in order to learn and apply these in our life, we must reflect on them and understand why they happened to us. Reflecting can help the feeling of gratefulness and improve personal growth in recovery.
Practice giving to others daily
During the early stage of recovery, you may find yourself taking care of others more than yourself. It is not entirely a bad thing, these simple acts can fill your life with joy. Practicing generosity is a big factor in realizing gratitude in life. It may take effort and attention to be generous but nothing can compare with the feeling of being able to help others.
See the best in everyone
Oftentimes, people forget all the good things you did after you made a mistake and that's when they become so easily angry, irritable, and impatient with you. If we shift our focus to the best attributes of a person, we will understand that we are all human and we make mistakes here and there. Developing this point of view can help maintain a positive attitude, and become more respectful even during hard times.
Keeping a journal
Regularly keeping track of your life's happenings is essential in continuing your growth. It is the 10th step of the 12-steps Recovery Program, a continued inventory of your life. It is a great way to evaluate whether you are lacking gratitude or figuring out which part of your life needs improvement. Journaling can be a difficult task because it takes courage and consistency but it is an important instrument in developing a display of gratitude in sobriety.
View life challenges as an opportunity
"Some people see the glass half full, others see the glass half empty. The enlightened are simply grateful to have a glass." - Mark Desvaux
Let's face the truth, life is always accompanied by challenges whether you are sober or not. The challenges we experience in life are lessons in disguise if we deal with them properly. Practice reassuring yourself whenever challenges or setbacks come in your life, it is an important skill in recovery. Thinking that every difficult situation is a just opportunity to get better can help avoid relapses in recovery.
Kindness equals happiness
Dealing with mood swings and anger is part of recovery and sometimes people who are recovering from substance use disorder are stereotyped as grumpy. But that doesn't have to be the case for you. We understand that being kind in this state is extra challenging but is a big part of developing gratitude in recovery. Being kind to family, friends, or strangers, in any case, is a virtuous way to live. When you are kind to others and yourself, you generate a powerful lifestyle and eventually distance yourself from negative feelings such as anger, sadness, and guilt.
Reflect on the good things in life
Life happens so fast and we cannot know how many good things we have until we stop and reflect on it. Set aside 10 minutes each day to think about the things that make you thankful for being here today. This is an important element in being self-assured and happy during recovery. You will struggle a lot in your journey to sobriety but constantly reminding yourself of the good things can help you maintain a positive mindset.
Remember how far you've come
Drug addiction is a dark experience and you may have missed out on a lot of good things because of it. But you can take back all of that, your health, good relationships, good mental state, happiness, and many more. Reflecting on the things that you have is a reminder of your personal growth and that you are not controlled by your dark impulses anymore. Remember how far you've come. Furthermore, be grateful for experiencing every up and down.
Lastly, don't be ashamed to admit that you're struggling and that you might need help to transition to a sober life. Here at Caledonia Recovery Homes, we are your partner in achieving your recovery goals. Take the first step and reach out to us by dialing 844-738-9848 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.