Renaissance Ranch

How Gratitude Can Help in Recovery

May 2, 2019

Gratitude in Recovery

During the early stages of recovery, it’s easy to dwell on the misery we feel. Recovering addicts often think they exist in a solitary sphere. Isolated from all good. If you or a loved one has dealt with addiction, you may recognize the notion of belief that the world is unfair, and cruel place. That the continued destruction of oneself is a product of that world, and that the positives experienced are rare or nonexistent.

Focusing our energies on the past, and sticking to the negative patterns we’re accustomed to is far easier than seeking gratitude in the chance to change. More often than not, we see the negatives in our lives as vast and overarching. It can be a struggle to get out from underneath the pattern of behavior. However, it is possible to uncover something that may aid us on the road to recovery. There are steps to help us gain a greater sense of gratitude; a powerful tool to the recovery process.

Relearn How We React

You’ve likely heard some version of, “it’s not the event that defines us, it’s how we choose to react to it”. When it comes to discovering gratitude, we have to first accept that our past is just that, the past. It’s a time we cannot go back and change. We do have the chance to choose how we’ll react to situations presently and in the future.

Our lives shouldn’t be determined by what has happened to us in the past, but how we react in the future. Life will bring a vast array of good and bad moments, events, and scenarios. It’s the attitude we choose to view it with that can provide us with a new lease on life. The act of gratitude is something that we should never take for granted. If you’re quick to react in a negative way, or quick to assume negative thoughts, try to catch those reactions and change them. React with gratitude. Be grateful for every chance to learn from our past selves, and be better for our future selves.

Shift Your Mindset

As you go through addiction recovery, many of your daily tasks will have to change. One thing that’s often overlooked early on is just how important it is to shift your mindset. A new mindset, or a new way of being can help you make positive habits to replace the ones you’re giving up. Find gratitude in all the quiet moments of life. Gratitude should be some of your first thoughts from the moment you wake up.

Most importantly, don’t continue to dwell on the idea that recovery is taking something away from you, but rather the opportunities that recovery has created for you. New doors have opened, and with that comes the opportunity to feel grateful in creating a new way of thinking.

Appreciating the Simple Things

No matter how small it may seem, try to find appreciation and gratitude in the simple things in life. Think on the small acts of kindness you’ve experienced. Little things a stranger may have done for you or others, like the simple act of opening a door. Think about what you’ve done for others in return. Think about a time when you’ve laughed from deep within your gut. When’s the last time you actively sought to appreciate the smallest moments in life? Simple joys can be found in the everyday, and it’s worth taking a mental note of them whenever you can.

Not only can this lift your spirits, but it can help you realize the wonders of feeling grateful for more than just the grandiose events in your life. It allows us to develop a new perspective on living, and brings your recovery into a greater focus. See every day as a blessing and not as a  burden. See every act of kindness with deeper meaning.

Write Down Your Gratitude

It’s a good practice to start journaling at the very beginning of your recovery. Not only is it helpful to process your inevitable hardships, but it allows for a healthy release of the emotions that build up over time. It’s also a great opportunity to start each day off by writing down a short list of things you’re grateful for. This list of gratitude can be simple, short, lengthy, or complicated. You could write that you’re grateful for a sunny day, or you could be grateful to a family member who’s been with you through challenging times.

It may be difficult to write down those few things at the beginning, but the likelihood is this act will become easier over time. Look back at those daily lists on difficult recovery days. Let yourself remember every moment you’ve felt grateful, and every chance you’ll have to feel more gratitude in the future.