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The Benefits of Gratitude in Recovery

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It’s that time of the year again! It’s chilly outside, some type of seasonal music is always playing in the background, and most people have a cup of coffee or warm cocoa glued to the inside of their palms. It’s winter time and the holidays are here. Regardless of whatever sex, creed, ethnicity, religious denomination or political affiliation you may have, it’s that time of year that we can all band together and be thankful.

We can be thankful for another day above ground. We can be thankful for friends and family. We can be thankful for whatever necessary, but the holidays are usually filled with love. At least that’s the vibe most try to give off. Of course there are some that naturally fill the shoes of Ebeneezer Scrooge as they Grinch everything in sight until the beginning of the new year. Maybe it’s because they’re hurt; hurt people do hurt people. Or maybe they just get cranky when it gets a bit nippy outside. Either way, it doesn’t ever have to be like that.     

Sure the holidays can be a lonely, rough time for many. Everybody has been there at some point or another(especially those in recovery). We’ve all been through the best of times and the worst of times, but we are never as alone as we perceive ourselves. It’s natural to think pessimistically from time to time with a cynical mind frame. Yet we have to remind ourselves that when nothing is alright, everything is still okay. So maybe something hurt us emotionally or didn’t go our way, but why must it rent space in our heads for free like that? Recognizing the benefits of gratitude in recovery can help remind us that there is a lot more to smile about than frown- no matter what time of the year it is.


Emotionally Grateful of Recovery

One important thing to recognize when understanding the benefits of gratitude in recovery is that emotion runs so many different aspects of our lives. Our feelings often take our rational thought patterns hostage while concurrently making us look like we should be locked in an asylum, or at least that’s my experience.

Once these feelings get involved, they cloud perspective. It just happens. It doesn’t make you a weak person. Most let emotion prevail over logic, we’re just those kind of creatures. That’s why some get all “Bah Humbug” around the holidays.  

These same emotions are also the ones that drive a person in sobriety to use again. We all know relapse starts in the mind before the physical act of doing so. So the point is to prevent the mindset that takes over from surrounding negative emotion. Maintaining the benefits of gratitude in recovery is a healthy way to see opposite perspective on all the crud life throws our way. Studies have shown that individuals who reflect on happy remembrances instead of unhappy were more prone to being grateful. Those who would review their benefits of gratitude in recovery were more positive and motivated about their future and current situation. If you walk into something with an optimistic mindset, it will be a positive experience. Consequently, doom and gloom will bring misery.  


Attitude of Gratitude in Recovery  

When we as individuals look over our benefits of gratitude in recovery, it allows us to put things into perspective that we would ordinarily ignore because of emotion. But why ignore when it can be so helpful? It doesn’t cost money nor travel to be thankful. What good does it do to complain all the time? It doesn’t change anything, the same as getting high/drunk. If there’s a problem, go fix it- then be grateful you have the capabilities to actually do so. We addicts can be a jaded crowd that takes everything for granted if we don’t call ourselves out. That’s why keeping in mind the benefits of gratitude in recovery is a healthy practice that keeps us on our toes.

Some enjoy keeping a mental list of their gratefuls on a day to day basis, while others prefer to write them down. Writing out a gratitude list is one way to clearly eyeball benefits of gratitude in recovery because if you do it right, you’ll quickly run out of paper. Thankfulness in sobriety can:

  • Open the door to more relationships
  • Enhance psychological AND physical health
  • Reduce aggression and boost empathy
  • Help to better sleep
  • Increase mental endurance/dexterity
  • Improve self-esteem  

The fact of the matter is that we live in a hard knock life. Nothing in life is fair, but then again fair isn’t everybody getting the same thing. Fair is everybody getting what they need to get by. Our wants and needs are different, and when anybody can acknowledge this they’re already taking a step in the right direction to having an attitude of gratitude in recovery.


Count Your Blessings

There’s no denying that sometimes negativity is simply easier, but easier doesn’t payoff as well. Easier only cultivates cheap diluted versions of what we really need to accomplish in life. However, that doesn’t mean we have to make everything increasingly difficult either. There’s a healthy middle ground in there somewhere. It all boils down to the exact quality of living you’re searching for. The benefits of a gratitude in recovery will improve mood functioning, stress factors, and emotional well being. It’ll help you reap what you sow. Kind of like “you get what you pay for”, only you’re the purchaser and purveyor.  

Overall, gratefulness is an effective tool that can change the dynamic of our perceptions anytime we choose(especially around the holidays). We all have that ability to manifest this gratitude if we choose to. All it requires is taking a few moments to focus on all that you have, rather than complain about all the things you think you may deserve.  


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