Simply put, if you are grateful during recovery, it’s less likely that you’ll relapse because it will empower you to move ahead. Addiction specialists agree that gratitude can greatly influence your chance for a successful recovery from any addiction. If you focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t have, you can build healthier thought patterns and achieve a higher level of satisfaction with your life.

What Can I Be Grateful For in Recovery?

Every person has their own unique experience of addiction and recovery, and the things to be grateful for in recovery depend on your unique circumstances. However, here are a couple of things that most people in recovery are thankful for:

Drugs and alcohol take a serious toll on the brain and body. Addiction can be life-threatening in a lot of ways. The opportunity to seek recovery is a real cause for gratitude because not everyone gets a second chance at life.

Addiction may have destroyed your relationships with different people. Recovery can give you the chance to repair relationships damaged by substance abuse and addiction and move forward in healthier ways. You may be able to rebuild and strengthen your relationships.

Addiction has been ruling your life. Obtaining and using your substance of choice dictated all of your actions. In recovery, you can be thankful for the time and freedom to pursue new activities and goals.

The first step toward recovery is getting the help you need. Many people put this off for years and some never get help. You should be grateful for obtaining the help you need or for the people in your life who helped you get the help you need.

You know that addiction can make it difficult to get things done. This may have cost you jobs and other opportunities. Being in recovery makes it possible to apply your energy to school or work and reach your higher goals.

When your body and mind become clear of drugs or alcohol, it becomes easier to think clearly. This enables you to solve problems, make plans, and have a clearer view of what’s going on in your life. Be grateful for this improved version of yourself.

If you come through addiction without major health problems or if recovery motivates you to work on health problems, these are reasons to be grateful. Eliminating a dangerous substance from your life is a giant step towards a healthy life.

Because addiction has ruled most aspects of your life, it made it difficult to recognize and take advantage of new opportunities. Recovery allows you to look into new opportunities to learn, grow, and change without the distraction of alcohol or drugs.

Addiction tends to keep you stuck in the “now” that is built around you getting to use again. In recovery, it’s possible to restore your hope for the future and look forward to doing new and greater things.

The more you learn about and feel gratitude, the greater your potential to inspire someone else to find recovery and gratitude in their life.

How Does Positive Thinking Promote Recovery?

Positive thinking promotes recovery because addiction promotes a multitude of negative emotions and ways of looking at the world. In active addiction, it’s easy to feel angry, trapped, and victimized. As your addiction goes on, many people with substance use disorder lose many of the things they previously valued such as relationships, jobs, and even their homes.

Substance use disorder creates a cycle of hopelessness, despair, and other negative feelings. In turn, these lead to rebounding to being dependent on substances. The fact is that many people who abuse substances to relieve those feelings also struggle with a co-occurring mental health condition such as:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Positive thinking and a positive viewpoint can influence your behavior and help you lead a sustainable recovery-oriented life. People battling addiction tend to be depressed and self-centered, only considering their own needs. By practicing gratitude, you can live a less selfish life and focus your attention on others

Benefits of Gratitude in Recovery

The benefits of gratitude in recovery include:

  • Motivate yourself to make changes
  • Deactivate negative attitudes
  • Think and behave positively
  • Conquer feelings of entitlement and pity
  • Manage your emotions
  • Build a support system

Practicing gratitude during recovery affects not only the thoughts and behaviors of people with substance use disorder or dual diagnosis but also has far-reaching overtones on how you interact with the world. About 50% of people with substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health condition known as a dual diagnosis. (A dual diagnosis is the presence of a mental health condition at the same time as a substance use disorder) Being grateful allows you to celebrate the present and be an active participant in your life.


Tips for Practicing Gratitude in Recovery

Here are some tips for practicing gratitude:

Keep a gratitude journal–Remember moments of gratitude each day by writing one to three things you’re grateful for in your journal. This may include:

  • People
  • Places
  • Moments
  • Objects
  • Successes

Journaling your gratitude will become a habit and your mind will transition into a permanent way of being.

Focus on the important things–Concentrating on your relationships and the people around you is a key element of long-lasting happiness.

Treasure the small things–Think about the things you would have previously taken for granted and what your life would be without them. You’ll discover a restored appreciation for the people and things you do have in your life.

Share your gratitude–Consider those who have had an impact on your life and share your gratitude with them.

Give back–You can express your gratitude by volunteering. When you feel your needs are met and you have a strong feeling of gratitude, your ability to give to others will increase.

People struggling with addiction who enter a treatment program learn the necessity of altering their perception of the world including practicing gratitude. It can motivate you to take the steps needed to change your life. In recovery, practicing gratitude can help you understand that the difficulties in life can be faced with dignity. It’s an essential element in recovering from addiction.

Psychology Professor Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis stated “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life.” His gratitude study found that practicing gratitude provides these benefits among many:

  • More restful sleep
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved immune system
  • Reduced feelings of aches and pains
  • More interest in exercise and other self-care

How Do Gratitude Lists Help in Recovery?

a-group-of-people-smiling-in-a-therapy-sessionGratitude lists help in recovery by unlocking the fullness of your life. It turns what you have into enough, denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into understanding. Gratitude will help you make sense of your past, bring peace for today, and create a vision for your future.

The chemical makeup of your brain gets disrupted when you have substance use disorder. This disturbance encourages negative feelings of:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self esteem

When you’re actively using a substance, you tend to focus on all the pain and misery in your life. You concentrate on all the things that life has inflicted on you and the things you inflicted on yourself and the people around you. It is more likely than not that you were thinking only of yourself instead of anyone around you.

On the other hand, there is gratitude which promotes a positive outlook and attitude. Substance use disorder treatment experts agree that gratitude positively influences your chances for a successful recovery. That’s why creating a “gratitude list” is encouraged.

Creating a Gratitude List

Your gratitude list is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a written list of all the things you’re grateful for in recovery and your life. It is an ongoing daily undertaking. You might start with the top 10 things you’re thankful for and add at least one more item to the list every day. Start with a blank notebook so your list has plenty of room to grow.

If you’re just starting your recovery, this may seem easier said than done. Early in your recovery, it may be hard to find things to be grateful for while struggling with withdrawal symptoms and the stark realities of your addiction. It is okay to start small. Maybe you’re grateful for being safe and sober. You might be grateful just to be alive. It all goes on the list.

Creating a gratitude list in recovery requires changes in:

  • Your attitude
  • Your outlook
  • Your willingness to change

There are ways to fire up your ability to change and build a more positive perspective such as:

  1. Set goals and concentrate on achieving them.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others and give some attention to loving yourself.
  3. Hang around with positive people who can inspire positivity and optimism in your life.
  4. Do things for other people–give others something to be grateful for.
  5. Practice mindfulness–find a state of being present now instead of dwelling on the past or future.
  6. Start a gratitude journal so your gratitude list will remind you of everything you’re grateful for.

Recovery Programs at Westwind Recovery® in Los Angeles, CA

Westwind Recovery® in Los Angeles, CA, offers treatment programs that can promote gratitude by focusing on what you need to restore your hope and positivity for the future. As mentioned, we have several levels of care so your treatment is designed just for you. These programs are:

A partial hospitalization program fits between a residential program and an outpatient program. While it is technically an outpatient program because you don’t live at the treatment center, it provides the same intensity as an inpatient program. You attend sessions every day for the whole day.

An intensive outpatient program includes sessions at the treatment center several days a week for a few hours per day.

If you are not able to attend sessions in person, we make it easy to obtain treatment with our virtual intensive outpatient program.

Our outpatient program requires only one or two sessions per week and is a good way to continue treatment after completing a higher level.

Sober Living Homes–It’s common for people to not have the confidence to live independently after completing formal treatment. Sober living homes provide a safe place to transition from treatment to an independent life.

Finding Gratitude in Recovery with Westwind Recovery®

Individuals struggling with substance use disorder can find their sobriety and gratitude with Westwind Recovery® in Los Angeles, California. Studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found evidence that supports the theory that gratitude reinforces addiction recovery once recovery begins. Recovery might encourage feelings of gratitude and gratitude might promote and reinforce recovery.

We provide individualized, client-centered programs that can promote gratitude and healing for our clients and their families. Our levels of care provide ongoing support so no one gets left struggling on their own. At Westwind, we provide many things to be grateful for in recovery:

Westwind has addiction specialists who are experienced in various therapy programs including:

Don’t live your life without joy. Discover the joy that only recovery can bring. Contact us today.