Addiction inherently leads to selfish thoughts and behavioral patterns. If you spent years abusing drugs or alcohol, you likely pushed others away in pursuit of your substances of choice. Once you get sober and learn new life priorities, you will have to reevaluate who you are without the presence of these substances affecting your mood, ideas and decisions. One of the ways you can do this is by developing a practice of gratitude.
Gratitude Makes the Difference
Being grateful in recovery reminds you that even when you have setbacks, you can still be proud of the progress you’ve made. Reframing your story as one of thankfulness for what you have been able to achieve allows you to see each challenge you face as an opportunity to improve. Practicing gratitude also gives you a greater sense of personal accomplishment and self-respect.
Like every other element of your addiction recovery, you’ll need to develop your gratitude over time. Learning to love and trust yourself and others doesn’t happen overnight, and you’ll also have to break out of the patterns of negative thinking that may have characterized your addiction.
Tips for Developing Gratitude in Recovery
If you need help learning how to feel grateful about your life, consider the following advice.
1. Think about something or someone you have now that you didn’t have in your addiction.
Addiction eventually robs you of your happiness, health and even those who care about you most. Taking stock of the positivity you have earned in recovery can serve as a reminder of how far you’ve progressed since the days of your active addiction. Looking back to the “bad old days” doesn’t have to be a source of shame or guilt. Instead, it can make you grateful for how far you’ve come in your sobriety.
2. Give back to others.
Generosity and gratitude go hand in hand. There are many ways you can pay it forward every day, from holding doors open for people, to buying a stranger’s coffee, to offering to help cook dinner or clean the house for someone from your 12-step group who is going through a difficult patch.
3. Focus on the positive things in life.
Gratitude is all about being thankful for what you have. If you constantly worry about things you lack, it creates negativity in your life that can get you off-track with your progress and make you feel lonely and unfulfilled.
4. Reflect on lessons you have learned.
Life is the best teacher you’ll ever have. In rehab, you probably learned many valuable lessons that have laid the groundwork for who you are today. Pushing through your obstacles can benefit you by helping you grow and change. Evaluating what you have learned over the past week, month or year can allow you to see how far you’ve come in your recovery.
5. Instead of dwelling on the worst, aim your attention at the best.
It’s easy to lose patience with other people when their worst qualities are the only thing you can see. Instead, try to see the best in others, even when it isn’t easy to maintain your positivity.
Begin Anew Here
Canyon Crossing is a unique women’s-only addiction treatment center that combines the traditional 12-step recovery approach with alternative options such as holistic care and spiritual retreats to create a well-rounded experience for our clients. If you are living with a substance misuse disorder, contact us today to begin the admissions process.