During the holiday season, and in the days leading up to Thanksgiving in particular, many individuals pause to reflect on the things they are thankful for—in a word, to cultivate a spirit of gratitude. Gratitude is an important thing, not least for those on the road to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. In fact, the link between gratitude and recovery is a significant one, and understanding it better can yield some positive benefits.
Of course, recovery is hard—and amidst the ravages of addiction and the physical hardships of detox and rehab, arriving at a place of true thanksgiving can be difficult. No one is saying that gratitude is something that can be turned on and off like a faucet, or that those in recovery can make themselves feel grateful.
Yet, being intentional about it can help. Set aside some time each day to meditate on the good things in your life, simply listing them in your head or perhaps even on paper. Think about the people offering you encouragement and support through your recovery. Think about the fact that you are in recovery at all. Think about whatever else is in your life to provide you with joy, or at least with the will to carry on.
Over time, these reflections will soften your heart and align your mind toward thankfulness—making it easier and easier to experience true gratitude in your recovery. And the benefits of this are considerable. Gratitude will:
- Make you more optimistic—even happy;
- Help you feel stronger as you tackle new challenges;
- Experience more energy;
- Deal with stress more effectively; and
- Ultimately live a longer, healthier life.
The link between gratitude and recovery is profound and mysterious—and again, not something you arrive at effortlessly or instantly. Given these benefits, though, it is surely something worth working toward.