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The Power of Gratitude in Recovery

Have an attitude of gratitude.” ~ Thomas Merton Gratitude is like the secret ingredient in the recipe to making the perfect meal known as ‘recovery from addiction’. As I’ve added liberal doses of genuine gratitude to my sober life, I’ve noticed a power unlike any other causing great, positive changes in my life. The power of gratitude in the recovery process cannot be denied. Here are some of the ways I have seen thankfulness actually impacting me:

  1. When I’m feeling grateful, I can’t feel sorry for myself. Being a recovering addict, it can be quite easy to slide into the habit of self-pity. But the days when I maintain a high level of gratitude for my sobriety are the days when I find it almost impossible to throw a pity party. How can I feel sad for me when I’m grateful for my life?
  2. When I’m feeling grateful, I get excited about my future. ┬áPart of what addiction to alcohol steals is the promise of tomorrow. When I stay focused on being grateful, I am able to build excitement over my own future because there is hope for something more than getting drunk, acting like a jerk, and then passing out.
  3. When I’m feeling grateful, I want to do my best. The most powerful thing about gratitude is that it compels me to stretch toward my goals and strive toward accomplishing the things I really want to do in life. Being grateful reminds me that I am more than an addict – I am a person with plans to be more than I ever dreamed I could be.
  4. When I’m feeling grateful, I understand the importance of reaching milestones. The milestones of sobriety are critical factors in achieving success as a recovering alcoholic. The power of gratitude motivates me to take one step after another until I’ve reached that next milestone and celebrated a moment of victory. Each milestone is important, and gratitude makes it easier to see those milestones come to pass.
  5. When I’m feeling grateful, I remember that the people in my life are an important part of my recovery. Sometimes, the people around me have had to say things that aren’t necessarily easy to hear. When I allow myself to ignore gratitude and focus on negative emotions, it’s hard to accept the correction and constructive feedback of the people who love me. But gratitude allows me to hear what is being said and process it to encourage my own growth.
  6. When I’m feeling grateful, I grow healthier and increase in strength in my journey. Gratitude is a powerful component in recovery from addiction to alcohol. It reminds me to see each day as a gift, to treasure it as an opportunity to grow stronger and healthier. And the healthier I get, the more grateful I become.

The power of gratitude in the recovery process is, quite simply, what has helped propel me from the truly hard early days of sobriety. I can look toward my future and have a hope that things will continue getting better. And I can look forward to living a healthy, sober life built on the powerful foundation of being grateful.