At this time of year, it is not uncommon for loved ones to gather around the table and express gratitude for things they’ve experienced in the past 12 months. While this tradition might seem corny or quaint, gratitude has been found to support long-term recovery.
Speaking From Experience
When Jamison Monroe, Jr. shared the story of his own recovery journey and decade of sobriety on HuffPost contributor, he recalled, “Gratitude was a powerful tool in addressing the underlying causes of my addiction: my fear of not being “enough,” my sense of isolation, my disconnection from myself and from those around me.” He also added, “When practiced on an ongoing basis, gratitude can change our lives in ways we might never have imagined — taking us from the darkest depths into a world in which anything is possible.”
Negative thought patterns can sabotage sobriety. By focusing on one’s successes, progress, and blessings, it is easier to cope with whatever comes your way. You can combat negative thought patterns in several ways:
- Focus on the positive, even during discouraging times
- Remember that mistakes don’t equal failure
- Look for the lessons in what might seem to be a negative situation – how can it help you grow?
The Mayo Clinic also encourages people to strengthen their recovery by taking these steps toward gratitude:
- Invest in relationships with people who genuinely support you. Tell them how glad you are to have them in your life.
- Express gratitude not just by saying thanks but also allowing yourself to experience a sense of wonder and appreciation for at least one thing per day that makes your life better.
- Find your purpose by gravitating toward things that spark your happiness and energy. Build on achievements that make you proud.
- Live in the moment by refusing to procrastinate. Look for opportunities to enjoy the “little things” that are going well today, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about what could happen in the future.
There may be a lot of reasons why you could be struggling to come up with things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. If so, check out this article from our partners at St. Joseph Institute for Addiction. It lists seven things to be grateful for, including your growing sense of self, your relationships, and the chance to be creative. At Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, we strongly encourage all of our guests to find their own sources of gratitude and happiness while experiencing the transformative power of recovery.