The Importance of Gratitude in Addiction Recovery


If individuals are grateful to be on the road to recovery, then it’s less likely they will relapse because they are empowered to move forward. A grateful attitude means they can face the challenges that are before them. Although issues may arise, they view it as a chance to grow rather than an obstacle.

This positive way of thinking helps them reach their recovery goals. Gratitude is the way you settle into appreciation for everything recovery has give in you in life, showing that you’re pleased with the way your life is going. When you move into gratitude, you recognize the immense gift which has been granted to you in recovery. Those community support programs urge participants to be grateful for and appreciate their recovery, their recovery communities, and their lives in recovery. When we first get clean and sober, our lives are filled with chaos and confusion.

How to Cultivate Gratitude and Reap the Rewards in Your Recovery

When you communicate with other people, express what you are thankful for. If you accomplished something at work, don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back and let people know how happy it made you. When others share their successes, listen, and let their gratitude rub off on you too. When you’re mired in the depths of addiction, other negative situations often come along with it. Substance abuse strains relationships, impacts personal finances, and can stymie your career, among other potential barriers to happiness.

However, a substance use disorder is a disease, it’s often the result of choices you made, but choices you made without the intention to become addicted. You may have made mistakes, but you are trying and you are in recovery and getting better. Recognizing that and working to forgive yourself is an important step. At the same time, you should work to both forgive others who may have made things worse for you or said harsh things while you were addicted and work to reach closure with them. One of the biggest threats to being happy with what you have and being grateful for what you have is consistently trying to measure yourself against a standard of perfection.

Humility and Gratitude in Recovery

These feelings are not uncommon among addicts, especially those who have just entered early recovery. But it is these negative feelings that drive destructive behaviors like drug abuse. And it is positive feelings (like gratitude) that can help us overcome them. When we worry about relapse or feel resentment or other why is gratitude important in recovery negative feelings creep in, it’s a great opportunity to cultivate gratitude. During active addiction, we may have taken friends and family for granted or overlooked the simple pleasures in life. And when we looked for the worst qualities in every situation, we created a self-fulfilling prophecy of negativity.

  • Making a list of ten things you are grateful for each morning is a great way to start off the day in a positive way.
  • Viewing difficult circumstances in this way will also help you avoid relapse and deal with short-term lapses in a more positive and effective way.
  • When others share their successes, listen, and let their gratitude rub off on you too.

However, the research is correlative, which is why we used the phrase compared to People who experience and practice gratitude regularly report increased levels of everything we list. It doesn’t mean gratitude is the sole causal factor, but it does mean that compared to people who don’t practice or experience gratitude regularly, people who do experience those benefits. You can begin discussing your treatment needs with one of our addiction professionals. Following an initial evaluation, you’ll be able to start designing a personalized treatment plan that supports your recovery needs.

Things to Be Grateful for in Recovery

Starting a journey of recovery should include the regular cultivation of gratitude. Gratitude is a practice that has been shown to have a significant role in helping those in recovery to cultivate a grateful heart. It is recognized as being an integral pillar virtue in becoming truly happy, and is one of the leading methods for relapse prevention, thus contributing to a more resilient recovery. At Cycles of Change Recovery Services, it’s all about treating the mind, body and spirit. For newly clean and sober men and women, gratitude is almost crucial.

One study of 300 people in mental health treatment, who benefitted from gratitude exercises, found interesting potential reasons it works. A grateful approach allows you to take on challenges with a positive mindset. For instance, rather than viewing relapse as a failure, you can see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Trapped in that mindset, an addicted person might think that there’s no point in trying to recover, because they’ll always use again. Viewing difficult circumstances in this way will also help you avoid relapse and deal with short-term lapses in a more positive and effective way. Gratitude in recovery is a choice, but unfortunately, not one that comes naturally to teens and young adults in addiction treatment. Upon entering drug rehab, teenagers are usually more frustrated, fearful, depressed, resistant, and isolated than they are grateful. They often feel hopeless, resentful, and choose to have a ‘woe is me’ attitude.

why is gratitude important in recovery

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