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Can Gratitude Enhance My Addiction Recovery?


couple hugging in front of group

Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” If you’ve recently began your journey to recovery, gratitude may be the last thing on your mind. You may be feeling self-doubt, apprehension, pressure, and more – how could you possibly think about anything else but the unforeseeable road that lies ahead?! Recovery is a scary journey to embark on when you first begin, but it’s important to take things one day at a time. Gratitude is an excellent way to remind yourself that there is still good in the world; that there are people who love and care about you, and that despite your circumstances, there are resources around you for support.

Not only is gratitude good for your perspective on life, it has direct benefits on your recovery. As a 2016 study titled, “Does Gratitude Promote Recovery from Substance Misuse?” found, gratitude is a valuable positive emotion and attitude that can help a person build long-lasting and beneficial personal relationships while improving their quality of life and helping them to adapt positive coping strategies rather than harmful ones such as substance misuse. All in all, gratitude gives individuals the strength to live a more positive and productive life.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment assessed 67 individuals entering a treatment program. Participants utilized several gratitude exercises throughout their recovery and were followed up with at the beginning, 6-month, and 12-month intervals. The results from the study showed that gratitude had a profound influence on future abstinence if participants were abstinent after treatment; those participants who began drinking right after treatment did not find gratitude to be as preventative. These studies reveal that gratitude can significantly impact your life – your perspective, your recovery, and your ability to incorporate positive elements conductive to your recovery in your life, even when treatment is complete.

What are some ways that you can begin practicing gratitude?

  • Keep a gratitude journal where write one positive event that happens to you every day
  • Express your love and appreciation to someone close to you
  • Recognize the beauty of nature and of what is around you each day
  • Practicing smiling more often
  • If you make a mistake, recognizing the growth potential that you have

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.

References

https://experts.umn.edu/en/publications/gratitude-abstinence-and-alcohol-use-disorders-report-of-a-prelim

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/16066359.2016.1212337

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/40-simple-ways-practice-gratitude.html