What’s gratitude, and how does it apply to a life in recovery? It’s an important question that many people lose sight of once they become clean and sober for some time. According to the editors at Harvard Health Publishing, they define gratitude as:
A thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. (Harvard)
If you’re not grateful for what you have, then losing everything becomes a lot easier. Many men and women in recovery become complacent, forgetting where they came from, and how difficult the journey was.
How Can You Practice an Attitude of Gratitude in Recovery?
The Attitude of Gratitude is how people in recovery stay positive, humble, and it is how they remember that although life is one thousand times better clean and sober, it is not always perfect. For recovering alcoholics and addicts, discovering peace of mind and overcoming addiction does not mean that life is always easy. Recovery and the serenity that it brings is not the absence of conflict; rather, it means the ability to cope with it. By exercising an attitude of gratitude, people in recovery let go of fear, doubt and worry much easier.
What Does Gratitude in Recovery Mean?
Being Grateful for the things that may not seem perfect is one way to stay humble and do your best. Let’s say you are on the way to your new job and you can’t find your car keys, at that moment life seems like it is harming your dreams, causing you stress and panic. When a person takes a moment to be grateful for the fact that they have a job to go to, as well as a car, they are less likely to come unraveled and not only find their keys because they are calm but able to stay in the present moment and be grateful.
Having an attitude of gratitude also means being Realistic. Before getting sober, the lives of addicts are usually completely out of control. More than likely, they were unemployed, physically ill, unhappy, and living in fear. Recovery from alcoholism and addiction, allows a person to be grateful for the reality of their circumstances. Being realistic means letting go of the old self that used to drive the desire to get high or drunk. By being realistic, a recovering addict or alcoholic will give themselves a break and be able to feel good about themselves that they made it to recovery.
Another important word that helps form a person’s ability to have Gratitude is to be Appreciative of others. A large challenge for many people in recovery is how to appreciate the people who offend them. In early recovery, this is quite difficult. Newly recovering addicts and alcoholics need to practice playing in the sandbox with others. One way to get along with the people you work with- go to meetings with, etc.. and to save yourself from forming or increasing a resentment is to appreciate someone even if they upset you. People with long term recovery begin to see that obstacles are opportunities for growth. This is how recovery works. Appreciate challenges as they will help you attain even more serenity.
One of the greatest gifts that recovery offers people is learning how to be Truthful. Once a person gets clean and sober, they must refrain from their old behaviors. All addicts and alcoholics lie and manipulate the truth. By becoming more aware of how truthful they are, life for newly recovering addicts and alcoholics gets less complicated. When a person tells the truth, they are free of worry, stress, and fear. When the truth is not said, worry, stress, and fear dominate, and these unpleasant feelings will mirror the past and cause a person to use or drink.
The next letter of gratitude is one of the most important. For all people in recovery, they must put their recovery before everything else. By being Interested in recovery like other interests a person cares and takes action on it. Without being interested in recovery a person will surely remember their old likes which are always a drug or drink. The ability to focus on recovery through being interested- in how people in recovery keep their jobs, get along with their loved ones, and remain clean and sober and at peace.
Being in recovery is the most outstanding experience a person can have in their entire life. Some people in recovery who are struggling may not be putting the effort in and taking guidance from others who have succeeded. The people who take their recovery very seriously are Transforming their minds. The changes that happen to a person who recovers from alcoholism and addiction, are deeply rooted in the minds and emotions of that person, and this is the key to relief from removing the desire to get drunk or high. By recognizing that transformation is occurring a person is able to cope and their desire to remain in recovery destroys the desire to drink and drug.
There is no addict or alcoholic who wants to face that they are sick until their life hits the very bottom. Once they recover from their disease, they strive to change. Part of changing means Understanding that they can remain clean and sober with help and guidance from others. The importance of understanding that the disease of alcoholism and addiction cannot be cured or that it will just disappear on its own is paramount. Once addicts and alcoholics accept help, their understanding of the disease -and that they have it grows and allows them to change.
One of the best parts of being in recovery for all former addicts and alcoholics is the Discovery of the true self. Discovering how great life is clean and sober is amazing. For people who are in addiction and alcoholism, their ability to appreciate life without drugs and alcohol is impossible. Once they get clean and sober and are working a sold program in recovery, they discover small things, great things, that they never realized could be meaningful without being impaired.
The last letter is by far the best for this acronym of gratitude. The reason why people can stay clean and sober for good is that they are finally able to Enjoy life. Enjoying life without the help of drugs or alcohol is the greatest achievement that recovery gives. There is no recovering person who stays clean and sober if they are miserable. Therefore, if you are not enjoying life, and need guidance, it is time to reach out and accept the help that is available.