How to Practice Gratitude throughout Recovery
Before an abuser of drugs or alcohol can begin the healing process in recovery, they must understand and experience gratitude. Gratitude is when one recognizes the positive things in life. It can stem from a number of different things like loved ones, excitement for future endeavors, personal gains, and material possessions. Many addicts struggle with gratitude since they do not see the benefits of life because they are too consumed in their own faults. Once they can step out of their shame and practice gratitude, happiness is reintroduced in their lives.
The Mind’s Power: Don’t Waste It!
Those that experience feelings of gratitude are very optimistic. Optimistic people are happy people. It is hard not to feel happy when you are grateful for where you are in each moment. On the contrary, many addicts that first enter rehabilitation are pessimistic. They are used to life rubbing their face in the dirt. They think that nothing can get better and that their lives are ruined. This is never the case. If you are still breathing you have the option to be happy. All it takes is the realization and understanding that things could be much worse and that you could have much less.
Happiness is evident in even the poorest parts of the world because it is possible to be content with what one has in the present. Wanting what others have or being upset over things you don’t have only brings upon negative thinking. Depression affects millions of Americans even though the United States is one of the richest nations on the planet. This stems from an overwhelming feeling of entitlement and lack of gratitude. Anyone has the ability to feel grateful, it just has to be practiced and learned.
The Benefits of Practicing Gratitude
- Social Gain- Who wants to be around someone that hates life? Grateful people are surrounded by support from loved ones because they are easy to be around. Negative thinkers tend to push people away.
- Risk Taking- those that are grateful do not sulk in their sadness, but seek to experience exciting adventures. The grateful are risk takers that know how to have a good time.
- Stress-Free: Stress contributes to sleeplessness, immune deficiencies, and many other medical issues. Those that practice gratitude are less stressed and less likely to develop medical problems from stress.
- Minimal Conflict- Relationships are just easier when you’re happy with life. Negative thinkers often don’t like to see others happy, so they pick fights. The grateful want others to be happy and experience less conflict in their relationships.
- Mental Illness: Addiction and mental illness go hand in hand. The grateful addict has a better chance for happiness. The happy recovering addict is less likely to struggle with mental illness such as depression or anxiety.
Why is it Important to Practice Gratitude throughout Recovery?
The grateful addict is less likely to relapse. If you are grateful that you have reached your sobriety goal, you are less likely to use again. If you are unhappy with where your life is then you are more likely to disregard your recovery goals and continue using drugs or alcohol. The grateful addict sees difficulties and problems as a chance to grow. The negative thinking addict sees stressful situations as another reason that their life is awful and uses them as the reason to relapse.
Addicts are used to getting what they want. The driving urge for their drug of choice causes them to disregard the needs of others and only think about what they want. This self-absorbed mentality often stays with an addict throughout recovery. Once the recovering addict realizes that all needs and wants are met through sobriety, gratitude can be experienced.
Tips on How to Practice Gratitude throughout Recovery
Count your Blessings: A good way to practice gratitude is to search for what is good about life. It can help to write these good things down as a reminder of benefits of living. Also, make a list of all that you are grateful for.
Make it a Habit: Take an oath that you will practice gratitude each day of recovery in some way. Eventually, this exercise will become a habit and you will experience feelings of gratitude without trying.
Meditation: Alone time really helps with self-love. If an addict can learn to love himself or herself, they can learn to love their life and others. Meditating on positive thoughts can bring about positivity and gratitude.
Envious Thoughts: Steer away toward envious thoughts of others. Envy and greed are the opposites of gratitude and positive thinking. If you feel yourself becoming jealous of what others have, work to disengage these thoughts and focus on your own positive attributes and possessions.
Surround yourself with Positive People: Negative people bring negative thoughts. The same goes for positive people. Surround yourself with positive people and their gratefulness for life will rub off on you.