If you change nothing, nothing changes. As someone in recovery, you’ve changed your daily routines, your environment, and even your circle of friends. But adopting a new, positive mindset is also a crucial element to your addiction recovery. For some people, addiction feels like it’s “me against the world.” In reality, that’s an excuse that only feeds your addiction. An attitude of gratitude flips that notion on its head. Gratitude in recovery forces you to think of someone – or something – other than yourself. It shifts your focus outward.
Benefits of Gratitude in Recovery
Gratitude should not be underestimated. Scientific research has proven its benefits time and again. Massachusettes addiction treatment program specialists utilize the power of gratitude in recovery.
Gratitude in recovery helps cultivate new relationships for a critical support network. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a study that found focusing on your blessings improves your emotional well-being and interpersonal skills. Focusing on what you’re thankful for could help your recovery process by bringing you closer to other people and yourself—without drugs and alcohol.
There is a positive relationship between self-esteem and dispositional gratitude. When you practice and gain the ability to notice and appreciate the joys of life, your self-esteem grows. Research shows that higher levels of gratitude were associated with greater self-esteem. With improved self-esteem, you’ll be less likely to compare your life to anyone else’s, which can hurt your personal progress.
Gratitude in recovery is powerful enough to impact your mood. Side effects of drug or alcohol use alter our brain chemistry leaving us with mood swings. Gratitude helps protect those in recovery from depression and reduces feelings of aggression. During recovery, feelings of blame and resentment are faced to reduce the effect of these addiction triggers. Silence tendencies of emotional highs and lows with gratitude.
How to Harness Gratitude in Recovery
It’s great to understand gratitude. But that’s not enough. Practicing gratitude in recovery is how you reap its benefits! This may take time, so be patient with yourself. Overwhelmed by the concept? Ease into it. One of the best places to start is a gratitude journal. Take note of the things you’re thankful for every single day—when you wake up in the morning or before you go to sleep. Begin with three things, and you might find the list growing!
Whether you realize it or not, there’s a lot to feel grateful for when you’re in addiction recovery. A few items to start your gratitude list with includes:
- Clean and sober – Look back at how far you’ve come, and be thankful that you’ve made the choice to take care of yourself
- Spirituality – Whether you’re religious or not, you can always connect with nature to find a sense of peace and balance
- Support system – People care about you and want to see you succeed. Let your friends, family, and treatment professionals know you appreciate their vital support network
- Continuing treatment programs – With a clear path to recovery, there’s no guessing what good things tomorrow will bring! Wake up and follow the steps
- Career opportunities – Sober living has its perks, like being able to hold a steady job. Plus, you can find new opportunities that were out of reach before you started your addiction treatment
- Help others – When you step out of the prison of addiction, you can focus on others. Helping people can do great things for your recovery
- Accomplishing your goals – Now that you’re in recovery, the world is your oyster. Think about what you’ve always dreamed of accomplishing, and go after it
- Life – it may sound simple, but life is a precious gift that deserves to be acknowledged. Remember, today you are alive and well
Building on Gratitude in Recovery
It’s often the smallest things that mean the most. When cultivating gratitude in recovery, start small. Ask yourself what made you happy today. Was it the sun shining through your window? Maybe it was the smile you got from a stranger on the street. Write it down, so you can come back to it when you need it. The best part of a gratitude journal is being able to read it later when you can use a reminder of how blessed you are.
If you’re feeling especially thankful, write a letter of gratitude to someone (or something) who’s been there for you through your recovery. It will mean a lot to them to hear how they’ve helped you, and the practice of positive thinking will have a positive impact on you too.
Treatment to Be Thankful For
There will be days during your recovery process that are challenging. You may start to lose sight of your own success and default to comparing your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20. During these trying times, remember the power and importance of gratitude. Changing your perspective will change your life.
At Washburn House, we want to make it feel easy to find gratitude in recovery. That’s why we offer a variety of treatment options, including:
- Inpatient rehab program
- Intensive outpatient rehab in MA
- Men’s and women’s rehab programs
- Dual diagnosis treatment in Worcester
- Addiction therapy programs in MA
Contact Washburn House for programs to help you sharpen life skills and establish healthy hobbies. No matter what stage of recovery, find your reason for gratitude in recovery. Call 855.298.3104 to get started today.