It can be easy to think that once you finish addiction treatment, everything will be “fixed.” Unfortunately, that is far from the truth. Instead, recovery is a lifelong commitment that requires a great deal of time and effort, and well, practicing gratitude in recovery is a critical aspect of the entire process.
While there are many other elements to focus on in recovery, gratitude is by far one of the most important, with results backed by scientific findings.
Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Gratitude is something that people from all walks of life can include in their lives, however, it is vital in recovery. When you are practicing gratitude in recovery, you are forging a spiritual connection with yourself. That spiritual connection has the power to keep you firmly rooted in your recovery.
How To: Practicing Gratitude in Recovery
Gratitude is one of the most powerful things that you can include in your recovery. It seems so simple to be thankful, and in many ways it is. But in several other ways, it requires you to actively put in the effort. At the beginning of your addiction treatment, you may not be thinking of much else outside of how you feel physically.
You might even be wrapped up in the shock of actually being in treatment. However, once that fades away, you will get down to the nitty-gritty of your care. And, during that time, practicing gratitude can help you achieve your treatment goals. When treatment is completed, practicing gratitude can help you maintain your recovery.
Activities to Help Practice Gratitude
There are several ways that you can practice gratitude in recovery, including the following:
- Keep a journal and write in it as much as possible. Simply expressing your thoughts and feelings on paper can be therapeutic. You can practice gratitude by writing out what you are grateful for. You can also exercise your gratitude by reading past entries and appreciating in your growth.
- Change your mindset. It is so easy to focus on the negative, especially when in recovery. If you change your frame of mind to focus on the positive, you can better appreciate what is around you. For example, you might struggle in your recovery on dark, cold days. The weather itself might just trigger bad feelings. Instead of focusing on those feelings, think of what you are grateful for in that moment. You might be grateful you have a roof over your head. You may give thanks to a hot meal in your stomach. Whatever it may be, change your focus. You have the power to do that (which is in itself something to be grateful for).
- Help others. A huge part of recovery is being of service to other people. While it is imperative that you continue caring for yourself and your needs, doing for others has its benefits. There are several ways that you can help others. You can regularly donate to a local food bank or bring a meal to a friend or family member. You can offer someone a shoulder to lean on at your 12-Step meetings. In addition, you can give back to the recovery community by becoming a sponsor. There are several ways that you can be of service to others. Doing so can help prevent the ego from taking over and promote humility and, of course, gratitude.
The greatest thing about practicing gratitude is that you can decide how you will do it. You can incorporate exercises, activities, or actions into your daily life to support your recovery.
Why Is Gratitude Important in Recovery?
There are a number of things that are important, if not imperative, to your recovery. Gratitude is one of those things. Practicing gratitude can keep you steady in your recovery for a lifetime.
Including practicing gratitude into your recovery is beneficial in a number of various ways. For starters, practicing gratitude allows you to maintain an optimistic mindset. The more optimistic you are, the less negativity you bring into your life. Negativity of any kind can jeopardize your recovery, as can stress. Practicing mindfulness, writing in a gratitude journal, etc. gives you a positive outlet for that stress.
Studies show that including gratitude into your recovery not only increases optimism and reduces stress but also:
- Increases energy
- Improves coping skills
- Extends lifespan
- Promotes clarity of mind
- Makes change easier
Gratitude is something that will stay with you for a lifetime if you take the time to practice it. This is extremely beneficial, as gratitude can negate the rise of the ego. All individuals struggling with a substance use disorder also struggle with controlling their egos, and that’s normal. Allowing your ego to get out of control while in recovery only sets you up for failure. Practicing gratitude keeps the ego in check, your feet on the ground, and your head out of the clouds. The steadier you are in recovery, the more successful you are going to be.
Get Professional Addiction Treatment Right Now
If you are struggling with addiction, professional treatment can help. Allowing your addiction to continue is only going to cause negative consequences in your life. Getting the care you need is the only way to put an end to the dangerous cycle of addiction.
So, do not wait one more second. Stop what you are doing and reach out to us right now. We can help you overcome the challenges you are facing. You can begin living a happy, healthy, drug-free life. Call us today at Circle of Hope and let us help you gain your own sense of practicing gratitude in recovery.