Gratitude is powerful medicine, especially for people in recovery. It improves sleep and reduces stress. Gratitude has been shown to improve relationships and make people more resilient in the face of setbacks. Resentment and negativity often drive addiction.Practising gratitude is a perfect antidote. It trains you to look for the positive. There are several ways you can cultivate gratitude in your life. One good way is telling people why you appreciate them. This could be your family, your group, or your Higher Power.
One of the best ways to cultivate gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down three things you feel grateful for. This is hard at first. Then it gets easier, then harder again. It takes a little practice to recognise all the good things you take for granted. This is especially true if you are thinking about getting treatment or just starting. Here are some way to uncover the good things in your life.
You’re still alive.
When you’re in a bad place, looking for the light, it’s best to start with the basics. For one, you’re still alive. For plenty of people struggling with addiction, the struggle ends in death. The fact that you’re still alive and can try to make today better than yesterday is the first thing to be grateful for.
Things could be worse.
Generally speaking, ‘It could be worse’ is not a great way to evoke feelings of gratitude. It mostly makes you feel guilty for being both miserable and spoiled. It can, however point you in the right direction. Maybe ‘worse’ for you would mean living under a bridge. You could choose to feel guilty that millions of people are homeless and you’re still miserable despite having a warm, safe place to live. Or you could simply be grateful that you have a warm, safe place to live, which is a luxury few humans in history have enjoyed.
Treatment is better than it has ever been.
f you had struggled with addiction 100 years ago, your paths to recovery were limited. If you couldn’t sober up on your own, you would most likely go to jail or be committed to a mental institution, neither of which would help you much. Or you might just die. Now, there are better treatments for addiction than there have ever been.
You have an opportunity to grow.
Most people go through life weighed down to some degree by pain and disappointment. They are not happy, but they may never have to confront their demons. Addiction is a crisis that forces you to do just that. In recovery, you have to learn skills for managing your emotions and relating to others. It’s an opportunity you might not have had if it weren’t for addiction.
Someone cares about your recovery.
Whether it’s a friend, a family member, your sponsor, or your group, someone will support you and want to see you happy. Having these kind of people around your is essential for recovery and for life.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centres in the UK. Castle Craig provides consulting psychiatrists who diagnose associated mental illnesses like anxiety states, depression, ADD, PTSD, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, and compulsive relationships. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 29, 2020