Gratitude. A simple word, but one of the most powerful words when applied to sobriety and recovery. Gratitude in recovery can be easily defined as an expression of appreciation, a manifestation of kindness and spiritual connection, an acknowledgment of the things you have, and not focusing on the things you do not.
What is Gratitude?
Call it gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, the word comes from the Latin word gratus, which means “pleasing, thankful.” Gratitude is a unique feeling of appreciation with positive responses shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other generosity types towards the giver of such gifts.
In essence, gratitude refers to the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation and return kindness.
Benefits of Gratitude
Gratitude is similar in the context of appreciation, but gratitude leans more towards action than a feeling. When expressing gratitude, there is the intention behind it. Thus, it can have an exponentially positive effect on one’s well being when practiced consistently.
- Decreased depression and negative self-talk: People that practice positive psychology are less likely to suffer from depression and experience more joy in day to day life. Additionally, improvements to self-esteem are likely to result from positive thinking and reframing one’s thinking.
- Improved relationships: People with positive outlooks on life experience fewer conflicts within their interpersonal relationships. Additionally, individuals that integrate gratitude in their lives notice improvements in their overall physical and mental health.
- Improved sleep patterns: People with this type of confident outlook will experience less stress and anxiety and improve their sleep quality.
Practicing Gratitude in Recovery
Exercising gratitude in early recovery can make a considerable difference. Gratitude could be the key to maintaining long-term sobriety. The following are a few simple ways to practice gratitude in recovery:
- Daily gratitude lists: This method can involve writing a gratitude letter for someone in your life or even to yourself. Additionally, you can keep a gratitude journal. Having a journal of your gratitude moments may seem odd at first, but it will become a habit over time. You can record several moments throughout the day that you were grateful for, including successes, people, or moments.
- Practice mindfulness: Use your recovery time to use pray or meditation to help you achieve mindfulness. Additionally, some people may exercise, be in nature, or even take a bath. This practice is about paying attention to the things you take for granted and having a renewed appreciation for the things and people in your life.
- Engaging in self-care: Spending time on self-care is essential for gratitude. Examples include exercising, eating nutritious meals, and also practicing good hygiene habits. Additionally, fostering relationships with the people in your life that are important to you is critical to happiness.
How Gratitude Helps Those in Recovery
When someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, they will spend a lot of the time only considering their own needs. Thus, addiction is selfish, and an addict’s behaviors focus primarily on obtaining drugs with little regard for anything else. So when an addict becomes sober, they may remain to be preoccupied with themselves.
However, for people in recovery, practicing gratitude can help shift the focus from selfishness to selflessness. Therefore, it is wise that individuals in recovery should try to develop this attitude.
Our culture is one that continually supports wanting the next “shiny new thing.” We quickly lose the appreciation for what is already there by continuing to focus on what is next. Therefore, if you actively choose to foster gratitude daily and stop focusing on the things that you don’t have, you can begin to see how lucky you indeed are.
For those struggling with substance abuse, gratitude can seem like an impossible feeling. At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we will help each patient develop a sense of self. We also understand that cultivating gratitude can motivate an addict to take the steps they need to change their life and remain clean and sober after addiction recovery.
Beginning addiction treatment is only the beginning of the recovery process. That is why our drug and alcohol rehab will focus on providing patients with coping skills for life after treatment. Gratitude brings a healthy outlook on life and is a crucial element in healing from a drug or alcohol addiction.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out today. Our team is ready to help you find the best treatment program to attend your unique needs. Thanks to our comprehensive approach that focuses on holistic healing and evidence-based therapies, we can help you start walking the path to sober living.