As a newly recovering addict begins to take steps down a new path in life, they may find themselves emotionally and psychologically vulnerable after years of numbing their emotions with drugs and alcohol. Even with all the addiction education and recovery care management resources available, emotions can be overwhelming and difficult to process in early recovery. One of the greatest and most overlooked assets to a recovering addict, or anyone in this world, is gratitude. Maintaining a positive outlook, even in the most difficult of conditions, can mean the difference between having a good day that runs smoothly or feeling like the world is crashing down around you. Here are some basic things you can do every day to boost your sense of happiness and emotional well-being.
Wake up grateful! When you rise you greet the day, take some time out to pray or meditate and think about someone or something in life that you are grateful for. This really helps shift your perspective and starts to frame everything you see in a more positive way. It isn’t always apparent immediately, but the positive mindset produced by starting your day off right will seep into all aspects of your life. You will start to find yourself more relaxed, resilient, optimistic, productive, social, and even see an improvement in your health and well-being.
Make a Gratitude List
Cleaning up the wreckage of our past can be extremely difficult. Building a new life from the bottom up often means we aren’t left with much to work with, but you can always find something to be grateful for. Most pieces of addiction education literature will tell you to consider writing a gratitude list. Items could include something as simple as the cup of coffee you have to help jumpstart your day, or as personal as the loved one who hasn’t given up on you through all the hard times.
Look at What You Have, Instead of What You Don’t
There are billionaires who have everything one could ever imagine in life but still can’t seem to find happiness. There are also people who are just scraping by that have a sense of peace and joy that seems unattainable to those watching from the outside. It’s easy to get caught up in “keeping up with the Jones’”, and after hitting rock bottom it can seem like an almost impossible climb back up out of the hole you dug yourself in. Often, we find we had taken everything we held dear for granted in our illness anyway, and material things never seemed to bring the happiness we thought they would. Though it may feel like all is lost, we find a new strength within ourselves in recovery we never knew previously existed. We can find new qualities within ourselves and new things to be grateful for every day. Take inventory of all the blessings life has bestowed upon you. Stop and smell the flowers a little, take time to notice the little things we take for granted every day. Sometimes you will find something beautiful that used to be overlooked.
In my time in the rooms of AA, I’ve heard it said plenty of times that “a grateful addict/alcoholic will never relapse”. Time after time again I’ve seen this to be true. Gratitude is an essential part of recovery. If you’re currently in recovery and struggling with negative thoughts and emotions, take some time out to count your blessings and find something you are grateful for. Reach out and help your fellow man to get out of yourself and take the focus off of your own struggles. Read addiction education literature to help find ways to deal with a specific problem, and consult your recovery care management team if you have any problems and wish to seek extra counseling.
If you or a loved one are currently struggling with drugs or alcohol, there is a way out. We offer intervention services to help facilitate your gateway to a new life free of the shackles of substance abuse. Contact us anytime here, our staff is available 24/7 to find you help.