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Practicing Gratitude in Recovery: A Path to Resilience and Well-being

Practicing gratitude in recovery if a powerful and impactful tool that helps us remain grounded and sober even during times stress. Incorporating gratitude into our daily routine helps us face even the most difficult of life’s challenges.

Navigating through life’s challenges can sometimes feel overwhelming, be it due to world events, financial stress, work-related issues, or family matters. These factors significantly impact our mental health, often leading to stress, anxiety, and sadness. However, amidst these trials, practicing gratitude emerges as a powerful tool to enhance our well-being and resilience. Add it to your recovery program for another layer of protection against relapse!

The Impact of Stress on Mental Health

Stress, whether stemming from global crises, financial difficulties, workplace pressures, or family conflicts, can have profound effects on our mental health. It can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and a general sense of discontent. In such times, it’s crucial to find strategies that help us navigate these challenges effectively.

Addicts are highly sensitive people. Many of us drank or used because we didn’t know how to cope with negative emotions. Staying sober means accepting life on life’s terms, and sometimes those terms are hard to accept or handle. When we are mentally overwhelmed, we need to use every tool in our toolbox to maintain our sobriety and find joy, even during difficulty. Practicing gratitude in recovery can help us redirect our thinking, so that we can lead meaningful, purposeful lives under all conditions.

Gratitude: A Counterbalance to Stress

Gratitude is more than just saying ‘thank you.’ It’s a mindset, an approach to life that focuses on appreciating what we have, rather than fixating on what we lack. This shift in perspective is not just philosophically uplifting but also has tangible benefits for our mental health. Studies have shown that gratitude can decrease stress and increase feelings of happiness and well-being.

Five Tips for Practicing Gratitude in Recovery

  1. Maintain a Gratitude Journal: Start or end your day by writing down three things you are grateful for. These could be as simple as a sunny day, a supportive friend, or a good meal.
  2. Express Gratitude to Others: Make it a habit to thank people in your life. A simple ‘thank you’ to someone can brighten both your day and theirs.
  3. Mindful Reflection: Spend a few minutes each day reflecting on the positive aspects of your life. Mindfulness practices can enhance your sense of gratitude. This ties in to Step 11 from the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and that power to carry it out. Read Step 11 here.)
  4. Volunteer and Help Others: Engaging in acts of kindness and volunteering can heighten your awareness of the positive aspects of your life and increase feelings of gratitude. Helping other is the cornerstone of the twelve-step model of recovery. Step 12 is about the value helping others has on us and the people we help!
  5. Gratitude Reminders: Place reminders around your home or workspace to practice gratitude. These could be quotes, images, or any item that reminds you to be thankful.

Gratitude as a Tool for Relapse Prevention

Relapsing back into addiction can happen for a number of reasons. Stress and poor mental health are certainly two triggers that can tempt us to start drinking and using—even after long periods of sobriety.

To maintain sobriety, we can remember how horrible using actually was. It may sound tempting to go back to old behavior, but when we remember the consequences our addictions caused, it can and does stop us from picking up again.

If you feel your stress levels rising and your mental health suffering, be proactive! Go to a meeting and share, call your sponsor or a friend, make an appointment with your healthcare provider or therapist, and work on breaking negative patterns of thinking by finding things to be grateful for.

Even during the toughest storms, there is always something to be grateful for. When we look for the things to be grateful for and focus on them, our desire to relapse decreases. That’s why our sponsors ask us to make gratitude lists when we call them with a list of complaints!

Life in Active Addiction is Hard. Find a Soft Place to Land at Breakthrough Recovery Outreach.

If you or a loved one is struggling with the disease of addiction, help is just a phone call away. Breakthrough Recovery Outreach, in Atlanta, Georgia, offers treatment programs that help addicts break free from the grip of addiction.

Please contact us so we can talk to you about our treatment options. We offer residential recovery programs, virtual counseling, and more. Don’t go it alone! We’re here to help!