Living With An Attitude Of Gratitude In Recovery

Living With An Attitude Of Gratitude In Recovery | Transcend Texas

Emotional energy matters immensely, precisely in recovery. Being unnecessarily bitter will only hurt you, and hurt your chances of finding pleasure in life without the need to cling to old, dark habits. Addiction feeds on emotions – it feeds on your thoughts, on your insecurities and your anxieties. Addiction will corrupt your pleasure center in the brain and associate any emotional salvation with another hit, another shot, another drink. It’ll take away the joy in life and replace it with a dangerous and toxic relationship, one that destroys all other relationships and usurps your entire life.

Beating it requires more than going through a set of distinct treatment steps, or visiting a therapist for the sake of some quota, or making a non-commitment towards group therapy. You must take matters into your own hands, cultivate your emotional energy towards saying no to your addiction. At some point in your recovery, you must ask for help. Seek motivation. Find inspiration. Watch as others crush their goals and find it within yourself to wake up, stand up, and follow your recovery schedule every single day.

And through a path like that, a path where you reject the extremes of shame and hubris and replace them with humble gratitude, where you actively deny the way addiction has been controlling your life and decide instead to take control of your attitude and your perception, then you’ll achieve not just a state of sobriety, but a long-term emotional reason to be sober. A reason to reject addiction and decide that there simply is no need for that sort of manipulative pleasure.

Your emotional energy – your attitude – is up to you. Life, can throw a great many things at you, and often they won’t necessarily be your fault. Often, we get addicted to things not because we really want to, but because that’s the way things played out. But it’s up to us, our attitude, and the choices we make in recovery to overcome addiction and feel like things are where they should be.

How to Cultivate Gratitude

There are a great many ways to cultivate gratitude and create an atmosphere of happiness towards others and the progress you’ve achieved. Being grateful and being happy isn’t necessarily the same thing, but the two are very much linked. The first step to being positive about your path in recovery is to clear your mind and confront the issues that bother you most.

You can’t ignore the source of pain. You can ignore pain, work through it, and achieve things despite it, but it’s unwise and foolish to ignore its source. Whether because of addiction or as part of the factors creating your addiction in the first place, many people struggling with drug recovery have a long history of unresolved emotional tension and trauma. You should confront that, come to terms with it, seek help in finding how to be at peace with your past, and decide for yourself what you must do to be happy with you are despite what you might have done, or what might have happened to you.

It’s a hard step, but you can’t get very far without it. Once you’ve come to a point where you see your past for what it is – in the past, not to be changed, but only to be reflected upon – then it’s time for the next step.

Start with the simple things. Addiction often robs us of the ability to appreciate the pleasant things in life. It drives people towards nihilism, depression and self-absorption. Take a day to look at the sun setting. If that’s not your thing, then plan a lazy Sunday for yourself with a delicious breakfast and some time in bed. Then take note of current events and upcoming festivals that might interest you. Go to an animal shelter or a sanctuary and volunteer. Work at the soup kitchen. Help a friend move into their new place. Offer to help at local community efforts. Look for opportunities to repay the people who have struggled to stay alongside you all this time by doing little things for them, acts of kindness, and gratitude.

Happiness & Sobriety

The relationship between happiness and sobriety is that one is the key to the other, and it’s often difficult to tell in what order that concept works best. It depends on the context, more than anything – some of us want to achieve sobriety, and hit that point in our lives where we feel truly freed from the shackles and oppression of the addiction that surrounded us. Others feel that it’s important to be happy – to seek to be content, and fulfilled, and always strive towards loftier goals – to remain sober in the long-term.

Both ideas are valid. Both ideas are true. What determines which is more important to you is up to where you stand in time, and what you’re struggling with. But at the end of the day, being happy for yourself, for others, and taking in the massive journey and all you’ve learnt is important for you to be able to conclude that chapter in your life.

If you linger on shame, guilt, hate, anger, sorrow, and so many of the emotions that mold addiction and the cage it traps people in, then you stat teetering at the edge, looking towards the abyss, feeling yourself slip with every second into old, treacherous habits.

But if you don’t cling onto those emotions – if you have the strength to look past them, and watch your old struggles be a thing of the past – then you can confidently take on the rest of your life knowing that new challenges await, and they don’t have to be entangled with the ugliness of addiction.

Gratitude is key. Through gratitude for others, gratitude for your fortune, gratitude for all the times you made the right call and persevered through harsh times, you’ll be able to carry on without a heavy heart or reservations and lingering feelings. You can effectively end your recovery arc. While they say that recovery is a lifelong process, addiction can be nothing more than an echo of days long gone if you’re willing to put it all behind you.

Gratitude In Recovery

Gratitude In Recovery | Transcend Texas

Quite a lot of people out there are going to read the title and roll their eyes, or sigh with frustration, or wonder why they have to put up with “feel-good” nonsense when all they want to do is find a concrete way to tackle their addiction.

It’s not hard to see that after the twentieth time of hearing about the power of emotions and the need for friendship and support in the world of recovery, things start to get a little tiresome. Overcoming an addiction isn’t very pleasant – so where does gratitude come into play? What role does that have in a task marked by its harshness and overall difficulty? Why should a recovering addict – why should you – be grateful?

Gratitude is a very powerful thing in recovery, because of the system of emotions it carries with itself.

What Comes with Gratitude?

With gratitude comes humility, and a security that you’re on the right track and are doing better. Gratitude supplants and eliminates guilt – to be grateful, truly, you have to take away any and all room that guilt could occupy.

Gratitude is also an emotional meditation – it’s reflective. It allows you to look back at what you’ve achieved, what others have done for you, and what you’ve all done together – and most profoundly, what you’ve actually managed to do for others if you’ve done any group therapy or volunteer work. Through this sort of calm introspection, you begin to solidify your path towards recovery and take the wind out from underneath the cycle of negativity and shame that fuels addiction for so many.

Being grateful is a sign of progress – a powerful sign at that. Not only is being grateful an emotion that means you’re coming to terms with what has happened and are actually happy about the steps you’ve taken to prevent relapse, get clean and stay clean – gratitude also means you’re no longer blaming yourself or anyone else for your addiction.

Gratitude vs. Denial

One of the many pitfalls of addiction is the lies we tell others and each other to keep on using. Some people blame all their woes on their own incompetence and inability to act or do or say anything constructive, and they wallow in a pitiful self-image. Others turn it the other way around, blaming the cruel world and its sinister machinations and conspiracies for their own failures and issues. Neither is a “good approach”, or even one that works in any capacity – all it fosters is anger, disillusionment, and depression. Why? Because these delusions are just that – lies, and falsehoods. You can’t build a solid view of reality around those things.

To be honestly grateful means to first be honest and to accept. Gratitude is in part something that becomes a natural stepping stone on the path to recovery, but it’s also a goal – one that has to be worked for and worked towards.

Gratitude Is Not Easy

You cannot begin therapy and look upon all this “feel-good stuff” and assume that you’ll eventually get it one day, or that it doesn’t apply to you. Put aside your distaste for clichés and self-help advice, and try to swallow the fundamental message here: gratitude is a choice. You can choose to be grateful for what you have and where you are, for being alive and for the people who have helped you get started on your program, or grateful for yourself and your capacity to look past the denial and get help – or you can choose to be petulant, angry, pessimistic and skeptical of every offer of help and every comment towards your improvements.

Most people will start their journey out with a lot of lashing out, negativity and self-doubt. Once you let the gratitude seep in, however, it’s a clear sign of an emotional reversal deep, deep within. A good sign.

Turning Negativity Around

Life is not all roses and rainbows. It’s not a joyride filled with nothing but fun and laughter. The least bit of life is actual happiness – the rest of it is spent without happiness, in various states of emotion. And in cases of addiction, life is often filled with regrets, wasted opportunities, anger, doubt, depression and a slew of other negative emotions.

These have their place in life. They’re not to be shunned, ignored, or somehow wished away – and no one should tell you that they’re worthless, or evil. They’re just that – emotions. They have no stakes, no skin in the game, no hidden agenda. Life isn’t about being happy all the time – you should feel as you damn please to feel, even when that means expressing a lot of anger or frustration or sorrow.

But every time you delve into negativity, it’s an opportunity to learn from that emotion or let it trap you in a cycle of continued oppression. Addiction can be broken out of – and with time, you can look back on your worst days and most horrible moments as formative points in your life, points where you learned to either take in one of life’s countless lessons, or points of weakness from which you’ve managed to bounce back so fiercely that they’ve made you unbelievably strong.

Gratitude allows you to look back upon all of your life’s negativity and see it in a positive light. Not by ignoring it, or casting it into the mysterious shadows of your past, but by examining those moments and gleaming from them what little silver lining you can find.

Find Your Own Gratitude

Gratitude can be extremely challenging. It’s like being faced with depression and tasked with repeating the words “I love myself” in front of a mirror. It sounds sappy, useless, a waste of anyone’s time. Meaningless. Illegitimate. But then you say the words, and you say them again and again, and at some point, they break through to you – whether through tears of sadness or tears of joy – and eventually you come to believe them.

Gratitude is much the same way, it’s something you have to choose to feel in your recovery journey. Ask yourself every day – not just on Thanksgiving – what you’re grateful for, and be honest with yourself. Some days you might not come up with very much or even nothing at all, and at other times you may realize you’re grateful for far more than you would’ve imagined. And in that, you choose to put on a positive attitude, and face the day with a brighter outlook, than spend another minute trapped by the negativity surrounding addiction and substance abuse.