Living in a state of constant gratitude can have a profound impact on a person’s emotions, state of mind, and overall outlook on life. Gratitude is an emotion characterized by thankfulness and appreciation of what one has or what one has experienced. In order to feel grateful, a person must acknowledge the blessings that they have in life, which can be a beneficial aspect in pointing individuals in recovery in the right direction.
During times of turmoil and distress, it is easy to become consumed by the struggles you may face in sobriety. Between making amends for past mistakes, dealing with medical issues, facing the consequences of addiction, and possibly experiencing the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to ruminate on the positive things in life. However, taking a moment during difficult times to identify your blessings and gratitude can help you endure any struggles you may face in sobriety.
The Importance of Gratitude
Maintaining a gracious heart and soul in sobriety is an extremely important aspect of recovery. First and foremost, gratitude helps remind oneself of the positive things in life rather than becoming enveloped in the negatives. When facing great tribulation, try focusing on the friends and family you have who are there to love and support you. Focus on the little things in life that make you happy, whether it be sports, art, nature, or something as simple as laughter. Maintaining gratitude can transform struggles and difficult things into opportunities for strength and growth.
Gratitude is a key to happiness. A person who focuses on the negatives, or the things they don’t have, is bound to live an unsatisfied, unfulfilled life. However, a person who is grateful will have a more positive outlook on life as a whole. Having a negative outlook on life can make you more susceptible to relapse and misery, however, being grateful can help you attain happiness and stay sober.
Fostering a Grateful Heart
Gratitude is more than just a feeling – it involves action. When you are sad, sitting in a dark room alone doesn’t change the way you feel. It only makes it worse. On the other hand, if you reach out to your support group, talk about your feelings, and cope with your emotions in healthy ways, you have taken action to change the way you feel. Gratitude works in the same way.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
There is a variety of ways you can foster a grateful heart in sobriety through your actions. One method is by keeping a gratitude journal. Try keeping a small journal by your bedside table. Each night before going to sleep, make a list of things you are grateful for. These can be small tidbits or grandiose gestures – there is no right or wrong way to make a gratitude list. The next morning when you wake up, begin your day on a positive note by reading over your gratitude list from the night before. This will help remind you of your blessings and start your day off with a positive mindset.
Another effective way of demonstrating action behind gratitude is by giving thanks. When somebody does something nice for you, be sure to thank them and express how much that person means to you. Regardless of how small a gesture may seem, showing appreciation and giving thanks clearly demonstrates your gratitude towards even the smallest situations in life.
On the contrary, give thanks to troublesome situations as well. Situations are not always what they appear to be and you never know what benefits may come from a negative situation. If you are a spiritual person, remind yourself that God puts you in the exact place you need to be during each moment of every day. Give thanks for the experience you have encountered, and wait to see what you can learn from it.
Helping others is not only the foundation stone of recovery, but it is also a way to show appreciation for the sober life you have been given. Think of when you first embarked on your journey of recovery. Remember all of the people that helped you, requiring nothing in return. Maybe a stranger sat and talked with you over a cup of coffee, or maybe somebody gave you advice on a situation you were experiencing. Showing gratitude for the people who have helped you can be done by passing these gestures along to the next sick and suffering alcoholic or addict. Whether helping others is done directly or indirectly, it is bound to promote a sense of self-worth and purpose. Helping others gives you an opportunity to find gratitude in your purpose and in the fact that you have something to give to others.
A Grateful Recovery
Living in a constant state of gratitude in sobriety can provide you with a path to happiness, help you avoid becoming enveloped in negative thinking, and help you maintain sobriety in the long term. Having and practicing gratitude will help you stay connected to your emotions, your support group, and your own personal recovery.
Cassidy Webb is an avid writer who works with JourneyPure to spread awareness around the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.