Gratitude in Early Recovery

Learning to be grateful while in the beginning stages of recovery can bring a great amount of benefit and can be a very powerful tool to have. What are you grateful for today? To be sober, to have a family, to be alive are just some of the many possible reasons to be grateful for today. Expressing gratitude brings more peace, happiness, and as time progresses, you’ll find that your gratitude list grows daily.

While being grateful might take some initial hard practice and work, it becomes a healthy habit over time. It’s perfectly acceptable if you do not automatically have a grateful mindset as many people in the early stages of recovery don’t. Gratitude is important because it can help you to:

  1. Focus on the present and not dwell on the past or future
  2. Handle stress more efficiently
  3. Avoid taking your sobriety for granted. In turn, this can ensure your sobriety remains something that is worth fighting for.
  4. Have more patience with yourself and others

Overall, being grateful can help strengthen your mind and body as it heals from the wreckage of addiction. People who are grateful have been shown to have:

  1. Less anxiety
  2. Higher self-esteem
  3. Greater willpower
  4. Improved sleep and better self-care habits
  5. Less toxic emotions

Below are a few simple steps that are worth looking at in order to practice being grateful while in recovery:

  1. Perform a daily act of kindness. It doesn’t matter if it is a big or small gesture, as long as it is some form of kindness. This could be something as simple as complimenting a friend or doing something nice for a stranger.
  2. Start a “gratitude” journal. Write a few things that you are thankful to have and a few people that you are grateful for each day.
  3. Go on a nature walk/hike. Detach from the present and let your surroundings bring in a sense of appreciation and gratitude of our world.
  4. Take time out of your day to practice meditation and give thanks to your Higher Power and the blessing of sobriety.

By adapting a gratitude mindset while in recovery, especially the early stages, can improve your overall quality of life and bring a much more positive lifestyle.