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What Gratitude Can Do For You...Especially if You're in Recovery

If you're in recovery from addiction, then perhaps you already know why you want to stay sober. Perhaps you already know that you're doing it for your kids, your career, your wife, or simply for yourself. Perhaps you know that sobriety is the best thing that's happened to you and you want to keep it that way.

However, there are times when you might be faced with a trigger. You might see an old friend or be in your old neighborhood and suddenly you're feeling what it was like back then. All of the sudden you're remembering the good times and the excitement that came with using. Although you're sober, suddenly it's like you're having flashbacks and reliving the old you.

It's hard to resist those cravings and triggers. It might even be hard to remember all  the reasons why you got sober in the first place. When you're in the middle of remembering you're old life, you might feel like you're being pulled into the past. However, if there's a part of you that can return to the present and the work you've done to get sober, then you might be able to take a few moments and use a powerful coping tool.

When you're faced with challenge, one way to get yourself back into the present moment and return to all that you've worked hard for is to write out a gratitude list. What are you grateful for? What brings you joy each day? What sustains you? What do you have now that you didn't have when you were drinking or using drugs? Who are the people in your life that are supportive?

Here is a list of people, places, and things you might be grateful for:

·         children

·         spouse

·         significant other

·         work

·         creativity

·         parents

·         brothers or sisters

·         sponsor

·         therapist

·         psychiatrist

·         12-step meetings

·         support group

·         good health

·         clear mind

·         hope

·         having a place to live

·         sober living home

·         warm bed

·         clothes to wear

·         healthy relationships

·         plan for the future

·         support network

·         medication

·         laughter

·         your favorite movie

Even if you're not in recovery, making a list of what you're grateful for can help shift you out of sadness, loss, depression, or anxiety. In fact, if you're in a habit of making a list of 10 things you're grateful for every day, see if you can push it to 20. Sometimes, when we first make a list, we tend to begin with the obvious. If you stretch yourself when you make your list by writing down more items than you're used to you might find other things you're grateful for that you hadn't thought of before. For example, you may realize that you're grateful for your legs, especially if you don't have a car and you need to walk to 12-step meetings. You might be grateful for your glasses if you can't see without them.

Gratitude helps to put things ito perspective. It can highlight what's going well and this alone can be useful for anyone that tends to see the negative. Gratitude keeps the heart happy and the mind balanced. 



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