There are various things to be grateful for in recovery for anyone who has recently achieved recovery. Expressing gratitude for everything recovery brings helps you attain a healthy outlook on life and keeps you focused on paving down a new path.
Why is Gratitude so Important in Recovery?
But what does gratitude have to do with it? Practicing gratitude triggers your brain to produce dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are also called the ‘happy hormones’ or ‘feel-good hormones.’ Dopamine mediates feelings of positivity, such as pleasure and optimism, whereas serotonin plays a vital role in mood regulation. Oxytocin also causes a surge in positive emotions like compassion, trust, and kindness.
Practicing gratitude helps you recover faster by contributing to feelings of happiness and stability, affecting your mental and physical health. Gratitude in recovery encourages the formation of healthier thought patterns by enabling you to focus on what you have rather than what you don’t.
Addiction promotes the development of negative emotions and behaviors, such as anger, resentment, worthlessness, and self-victimization. Many drug abuse victims isolate themselves from people and things they once valued and lose connection with them. This, in turn, can make them feel hopeless about their situation and causes them to double down on their addiction. Usually, people with mental and emotional trauma turn to drugs as a coping mechanism, so it is common to find drug abuse victims fighting addiction with coexisting mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.
Trying to achieve sobriety is a step in the right direction, but negative thought patterns hinder emotionally and physically recovering from addiction. Therefore, it is essential to develop a positive mindset, and gratitude helps you cultivate such a mindset.
Thinking Positively Helps with Recovery
Significant lifestyle, thinking patterns, and behavior adjustments are required to accomplish recovery. If you are serious about recovery, you may have to cut ties with people and places associated with addiction. Making these changes may sound overwhelming and make life’s good things look unattainable. But gratitude can help you achieve your goal by altering your outlook on life.
According to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, gratitude is a state of mind that helps you to identify and affirm the beautiful things that come from outside yourself – or even to pay attention to your life’s many little pleasures. So, gratitude does not rely on a specific path that you follow to achieve it.
Regular Gratitude Practice Promotes Recovery
Cultivating a mindset of gratitude increases the success of all components of a recovery plan. Practicing gratitude helps you find reasons to persevere with a recovery plan, motivates you to reclaim important things lost to addiction, shifts your focus from addiction to healthier things in life, and prevents you from relapsing.
You have to foster gratitude while you go about your everyday activities. Start by paying attention to the positive things in life, big and small. You can also make a gratitude journal, curate a gratitude list, and practice meditation.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Many counseling therapies recommend journaling to track your thoughts and emotions, process your experiences, and reflect on how they affect you. Journaling is an effective tool for self-healing.
You can use journaling to monitor your progress, identify causes that led you to substance abuse, and work out effective methods to respond to challenging situations. For better, you can use your journal or diary to practice gratitude. You can either create a gratitude journal or dedicate a part of your regular journal to recording everything you are grateful for in recovery. You will have a beautiful picture of everything you failed to notice during your addiction.
Meditate for Gratitude
Therapeutic strategies for mental and emotional disorders also recommend meditation. Mediation for gratitude involves directing your focus to express gratefulness for everything in your life. It relaxes your mind and body while keeping the goal of recovery in mind. The most common type of meditation that people in recovery practice is mindful meditation. In mindful meditation, you try to stay aware of the present moment while making no judgment about a thought or emotion that crosses your mind.
Make a Gratitude List
If you cannot find the time to make a gratitude journal or struggle with gratitude mediation, you can curate a list of things to be grateful for in recovery.
Closer Relationships with Friends and Family
Drug abuse is a consequence and cause of isolation. It is common for drug abuse victims to sever connections with their family and friends because these people usually try to keep them from addiction.
As a result, substance abuse damages your most valued relationships. Now that you are no longer suffering from addiction, you can get back in touch with your family and friends. Your family and friends also appreciate seeing you overcome your addiction. You can form an improved and more meaningful bond with them.
Better Career Opportunities
Violent outbursts, sleeping in, and erratic conduct make it challenging for drug abuse victims to keep a job. It is also difficult to excel at a job, even if they find a job.
Being sober helps you regain energy and focus, making promotions and income raise within grasp. Many drug abuse victims also look for a new and better career path, succeeding in their altered course.
Improved Mental Health
Drug abuse victims can feel incredibly discouraged when they fail to practice abstinence despite their best efforts. Drug abuse is frequently associated with other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Many drug abuse victims have previously been victims of ACE or Adverse Childhood Experiences. ACE refers to a child’s experience of physical, emotional, domestic, or sexual abuse within the first 18 years of life. Health professionals term such coexisting conditions comorbidity. Suffering from trauma can turn them toward using drugs as a coping mechanism.
These underlying and undiagnosed conditions make practicing abstinence extremely challenging. So, when drug abuse victims eventually achieve sobriety, they learn about other preexisting and underlying conditions. They seek treatment for their drug abuse disorder and mental and emotional illnesses. As a result, they finally have an effective shot at healing from mental illnesses.
Legal and Financial Freedom
Substance abuse also sends most of its victims down the path of committing crimes to fulfill their needs. Half of all incarcerated people suffer from drug abuse. Some lose custody of their children, while others owe thousands of dollars in debt.
Sobriety enables drug abuse victims to make amends for their mistakes. As debt and legal issues fade, victims of substance abuse find life a lot simpler by saving money instead of wasting it on a six-pack every night.
You can Do Things that Actually Make you feel Good
Drugs induce your brain to release endorphins that most other pursuits pale in comparison. But that does not mean that sobriety is dull. Once you have become sober, you can rediscover old interests and explore new ones. Whether reading a book at home or playing pickup basketball with friends, you’ll feel better than before you started using.
Reconnect with Your Creative Side
When addictions take over, drug abuse victims lose interest in their passions and interests. Upon achieving sobriety, they find more free time at their disposal now that drugs and alcohol are no longer taking up their time. New opportunities open up to reconnect with your creative side and create music or art.
You Regain Clarity
Drugs affect your ability to make rational decisions. Cleansing your body of drugs and alcohol helps you think clearly. Clarity of mind lets you evaluate your experiences and problems without bias, overcome difficulties, and develop strategies to live an improved life. It enables you to understand better what is going on in your life now that drugs no longer cloud your judgment.
You Experience Emotions Again
Substances numb and obstruct your feelings. Abstinence from drugs and alcohol allows you to feel your emotions again. Your emotional health improves as you experience positive emotions like happiness, love, anger, and gratitude again.
Beneficial Changes in the Body
Substance abuse can cause you to gain or lose weight and dull your complexion and appearance. Abstinence causes your body weight to return to a healthy level. Your skin health also improves as the dark circles, wrinkles, and other indicators of addiction fade. Many find a workout program that complements their positive body image due to the energy and inspiration from recovery.
You Have an Optimistic Mindset
Drugs or alcohol make it difficult for you to look beyond your current situation and feel inspired by life. No longer consuming drugs, alcohol, or any addictive substance opens your eyes to the opportunities that await you. An optimistic mindset inspires you to pursue them.
Addiction can destroy your self-esteem, but as you recover and rebuild your life, you regain the respect and affirmation of those around you. Your self-esteem improves as you recognize the positive improvements you brought forth.
What are the Benefits of Gratitude List in Recovery?
Having an optimistic outlook enables you to live a long-term recovery-oriented life. Practicing gratitude helps you feel satisfied with your life and the ability to focus on others. Gratitude assists people in becoming more hopeful and in charge of their life.
Having a list of things to be grateful for in recovery has numerous advantages.
- You feel more aware, alive, and awake.
- You experience increased happiness.
- You have an optimistic outlook on life.
- Your immune system gets stronger.
- You experience reduced sensitivity to aches and pains.
- Your blood pressure decreases.
- You sleep better.
- You are more interested in fitness and want to care for your health.
- You have an increased desire to be of assistance, giving, and empathetic.
- You have fostered a forgiving nature.
- You enjoy going out.
- You no longer feel lonely and isolated.
Tips For A Successful Recovery
Gratitude is not the only prerequisite for recovery from addiction. Here are some more strategies that speed up your recovery process:
Determine Your Triggers
Stress, emotional anguish, cues from the environment, people who are still suffering from substance abuse, relationship issues, and problems with your job or finances are some of the most common triggers for people in recovery. Understanding your external triggers that stimulate thoughts or desires connected with substance use and internal triggers linked with substance use is crucial for successful recovery. Once you’ve identified your top triggers, you may devise a strategy to prepare for or prevent them.
Abandon Old Habits and Routines
If you stick to your old routine, hang out with the same people and locations, and make no changes in your surroundings, you are bound to revert to your old behaviors and patterns. You cannot expect to be sober if you hang out with your drug dealer or old drinking companions in the same old spot. You may also need to change your commute to and from work or home to avoid any triggers, people, places, or things that make you uncomfortable.
Cultivate Healthy Relationships
Sobriety helps you realize that some previous relationships were unhealthy and toxic. Your drinking pals and drug dealers closest to you contribute to a relapse. You may have created a co-dependent relationship, or a family member, friend, or employer may have enabled you without your knowledge. Maintaining toxic relationships increases your chances of relapsing. Creating good relationships to continue your recovery and avoid relapse is vital.
Organize Your Life
An unorganized lifestyle also hinders recovery. Devise and follow a regular daily and weekly schedule. A disciplined and organized lifestyle helps you achieve your life goals, whether short-term, such as being on time for work, or long-term, such as going back to school and changing careers. Setting and pursuing other goals will help you stay sober.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Chronic drug abuse significantly impacts your physical and emotional health. Being in recovery should make you want to emphasize self-care and ensure you have the strength to stay sober. A healthy lifestyle includes the following elements:
- Regular exercise.
- Making time for hobbies and recreational activities.
- Eating regular, nutritious meals.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Practice mindfulness meditation.
Resolve Your Past Mistakes
People in recovery tend to leave a trail of anguish and suffering in their wake. Feeling guilty or ashamed of past mistakes is expected and healthy during current addiction. Many people in recovery feel a great deal of shame merely for becoming addicted in the first place. Most people realize that they have emotionally wounded friends and loved ones and regret past decisions and conduct. For a successful recovery, you must take the necessary steps to learn from your mistakes and begin to live life more fully.
Find A Healthy Balance
Many people in recovery frequently replace a new compulsive habit with an old one. They may approach their new diet, fitness routine, career, or even participation in support groups with a compulsion similar to addiction. It is imperative to remember that although these new hobbies are beneficial and constructive, they can be a barrier to long-term recovery if you let them replace the gap left by the original addiction. Make sure to strike a healthy balance.
Join a support group. Spend more time with loved ones and plan hangouts with family and friends. It can help you build a better lifestyle and avoid situations where you might ordinarily drink or take drugs.
Also, consider seeking help from a therapist. A mental health expert can help you deal with some of the difficulties you’ll face on your recovery journey. A therapist may help you adopt new and healthy coping strategies, form new thought patterns, and address any co-occurring mental health disorders that complicate your recovery.
It is imperative to have a list of things to be grateful for in recovery because gratitude helps you attain a positive outlook in life which genuinely inspires you to become sober and stay sober—recording and reflecting on things to be grateful for aids in the rehabilitation process.
What is a gratitude list in recovery?
A gratitude list in recovery helps you express gratitude for everything you are grateful for in recovery. If you are a recovering addict, your list may include rekindling your relationship with your family and friends, improved mental health, regaining clarity and creativity, an optimistic mind and a healthy body, a boost in self-esteem, and better career opportunities.
How do you stay positive during recovery?
The most effective way to stay positive during recovery is to practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude fosters the development of a positive mindset. You can create a gratitude journal and write down everything you are grateful for in recovery. Also, you can practice mindful meditation, which helps you stay in the present moment and keeps you from attaining a negative thought pattern. You can also adopt a new hobby to redirect your focus to something you genuinely enjoy. Moreover, you can volunteer for a good cause. You can also join a support group where spending time with others in recovery reassures you and contributes to a positive mindset.
How do you praise a recovering addict?
Commending people in recovery on their progress can remind them why they opted to become clean in the first place and urge them to keep on track. Offer them words of encouragement and tell them you believe in them. It will boost their self-esteem and motivate them to stay sober. Tell them you are available and help them if they need it.
What are the gifts of recovery?
Recovery gives different gifts to anyone, but these are some of the most common among them: hope, clarity, acceptance, compassion, accountability, gratitude, humility, community, mercy, honesty, joy, service, and rekindled relationships.