When you first start out on your journey in recovery, it’s easy to feel negative. After all, you didn’t get clean because life was full of happiness and joy. You hit a bottom, whether it was emotional or physical. But early recovery can be scary and full of ups and downs. That’s why so many newcomers to recovery are told to try an “attitude of gratitude” when it comes to staying clean.
There’s a saying that “your worst day clean is always better than your best day using.” But when you’ve had a rough day or week, it’s easy to slip back into negative thoughts and behavior patterns. That’s why an “attitude of gratitude” is so helpful to people in early recovery.
What Does Gratitude Mean?
Gratitude means not taking the good things in your life for granted. Some people may be cynical about this concept, but please keep an open mind.
If you’re clean, that’s one thing to be grateful for. You’ve worked hard for it. Everything after that is a gift. Are you able to put a meal on the table every day? That’s great. Do you have a job that pays well with people you like? Ask yourself what things were right about your day, and you’ll probably find you have a lot of things to be grateful for.
It’s easy to think about the bad parts of your life or day. Having gratitude helps you focus on the positive and make it through recovery a day at a time. There are several ways to nurture this attitude in your daily life.
Finding your Gratitude
Part of gratitude is retraining your brain to think about things differently. Can you think about the good things in life, versus bad? You may have trouble with this initially; after all, addiction has caused a lot of pain. It may be hard for you to overlook the problems in your recent past, and that can have a bad effect on your attitude.
One exercise recommended for people in recovery is starting a simple gratitude journal. This means writing down three things you’re grateful for, every day. So what’s so good about your life right now, anyway? Start with the basics if you can’t think of anything. You’re clean and sober, for one thing. You have a program, too. And you have a higher power that you can turn your stress and pain over to, every day if you choose. Of course, there are many more things to be grateful for. Maybe you spent time with family and friends or had a great time out at a movie. Perhaps you learned to cook something new. As you progress in recovery, you’ll find there are many things that you can be grateful for.
Make Sure to Give Back
Gratitude is also an action – we show we are grateful through the things we do in life. Taking time to serve others is important, whether it’s taking a position at a 12-step meeting, volunteering with the homeless, or simply doing a favor for a loved one who is overwhelmed.
Service to others helps us keep from taking things in life for granted. It also helps build self-esteem and helps us feel grateful for what we have in our own lives.
Getting Clean and Sober
If you or somebody you love wants help getting sober, and isn’t sure where to start, please contact us. We can help you look for a treatment program to plan your first steps toward getting clean and answer any questions you have. Please give us a call at 866-227-1437.