Addiction Recovery & Gratefulness: Why The Two Go Hand In Hand

The pursuit of sobriety is often the pursuit of happiness. While the early focus of addiction treatment is to get through detox and stop using the substance, addiction recovery then transforms into a quest for a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Every recovery path is different, and the steps towards happiness and contentment in your own life will be tailored to your own needs and experiences. That said, one way that can help get you there faster is the ability to practice gratitude.

Practice Gratitude for a Change of Perspective

Addiction recovery comes with various challenges, so being told you should be grateful may come across as a bit silly at first. However, practicing gratitude regularly can actually change your perspective on the recovery process and even make staying sober an easier process. It all starts with knowing what to be grateful for each day.

While you can always be grateful for your home and your possessions, real happiness comes from being appreciative for the deeper things in life. It is up to you to decide what means the most to you, but just being in your current position means you already have at least a couple things to be grateful for. And it goes far beyond just saying “thank you” when someone does you a favor.

For example, very few people — if any — manage to overcome addiction and reach sobriety all on their own. As you are learning to navigate your life in recovery, it’s important to appreciate and acknowledge all of those who have helped you along the way. While you may not be in a position to actively thank them every day, you can still adopt a grateful mindset for having such a wonderful support network.

It’s also worth being grateful just for being in addiction recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that there are more than 22 million people in the U.S. suffering from addiction, yet less than 20 percent of them manage to seek treatment. Just the fact that you are on a sober path is gratitude-worthy!

How Gratitude Fits in With Addiction Recovery

Live each day with an attitude of gratitude, and happiness will swiftly follow.

This isn’t just an anecdotal statement. A recent Harvard Medical School study found that people who regularly expressed gratitude in everyday life were generally happier and even had healthier relationships than those who did not. The study’s participants also expressed greater life satisfaction and contentment. This is important for addiction recovery, because all of these feelings are crucial to fading the desire to abuse substances.

Likewise, expressing gratitude to others has also been shown to increase levels of dopamine and serotonin. These brain chemicals are what make us naturally feel joy, and higher levels of both have an inverse correlation with drug abuse. Basically, a life of gratitude gives you a more positive outlook on your new life in recovery and makes you less likely to relapse.

Grow Feelings of Gratitude

Living a grateful life does not always come easy. But you’ve tackled substance abuse and made it to addiction recovery — you’ve got this! Here are some tips to help you grow your feelings of gratitude and appreciate everyday life:

  • Talk to others about things they’re grateful for – Getting perspective from others can be a great way to take a step back and see the things that you can be appreciative of. Try bringing it up in group therapy or in other settings where you may be around people who have been in your shoes.
  • Practice regular meditationLearning to meditate will help keep you grounded and more in tune with life’s beauty.
  • Keep a gratitude journal – Try to write an entry every day for things you are grateful for. You can also use this journal to help track your addiction recovery progress.
  • Make an effort to thank people – Making an effort each day to thank the people around you for things (even the smallest of favors) will not only help you build up your grateful attitude, but will help make up for the times during your addiction when you may have not thanked them enough.

We Can Help

Whether you are actively looking for an addiction treatment program or you’d simply like to learn more about gratitude and how it fits with sobriety, contact our team at Principles Recovery Center. Our rehab facility in Davie, Florida helps individuals from all walks of life become sober and build a life in recovery to be proud of.

Why We Should Be Grateful in Recovery

None of us come into recovery because we want to be here. For many of us, our lives have completely fallen apart, and we are at our worst, our bottom. We cannot fathom that our lives could get better. All we can see is the hurt, the shame, and the broken relationships we have left behind.

Recovery Heals Us

Many of us struggle with feelings of guilt or shame for what we have done, not only to ourselves but to those closest to us. Our thoughts are filled with negativity and put-downs, and we can’t see a way to improve things. The disease has taken our self-esteem and self-worth.

Recovery introduces us to a Higher Power, something greater than ourselves, that offers grace and forgives our wrongdoings. This Power will erase all the negative thoughts and feelings inside us and replace them with love and forgiveness if we surrender to it.

Once we have surrendered to this Power, our life begins to change. We feel the love from our Higher Power and from those around us in recovery. The negativity becomes less, and we begin to forgive ourselves and heal the hurts we have hidden. We are grateful for our Higher Power and the grace we have received in our sobriety.

Recovery Allows Us to Mend Broken Relationships

Recovery gives us a chance to start fresh, make better decisions, and learn how to repair the hurt we have caused. This starts with changing our thoughts to focus on other people, not ourselves.

At first, we see others who have what we want, and we do what they tell us to do because that’s what they did. Soon, we feel relief from the obsession, if only for a short time, and we are thankful. We wake up to a new day, still sober or clean. We have gratitude for what our Higher Power has done in our lives – that which we could not do ourselves.

As we continue to recover and learn about the disease of addiction, we begin to forgive ourselves for our behaviors and the damage we’ve done. We can see ourselves more clearly, with compassion, and we can face the truth of our shortcomings. We are grateful for the program that allows us to look at ourselves honestly, perhaps for the first time.

With our Higher Power’s help, we can admit our faults and do our best to make amends to those we’ve hurt. Even if our amends are not accepted, we can forgive ourselves and move on to the next steps in our recovery.

Gratitude Makes Us Happier

An attitude of gratitude is much more enjoyable than only seeing the negativity in the world. We aren’t talking about looking at the world through rose-colored glasses or sticking our heads in the sand. We are choosing to pay attention to the things that are going right, and not the things that aren’t.

Once we begin looking at our life from this new perspective, things begin to change on the outside. Not everything will go our way, but more positive things will begin to happen. Then we have more things to be grateful for, and the cycle continues.

Gratitude Can Keep Us Sober or Clean

There are no guarantees in life but having a grateful heart can help us stay away from those behaviors that destroyed us. As we focus on all that we have gained through our recovery, it becomes more difficult to throw that away with a relapse. However, we must work vigilantly to keep “our side of the street clean,” so we don’t give way to resentments and negativity.

When negative thoughts or feelings do arise, we can now turn them and the situation over to our Higher Power and concentrate on what we can change and what our part is in the problem. Honesty about our feelings and our contribution to the problem will help us find a solution if it is something within our control. We don’t have to give in to the negative self-talk, guilt, and shame that we used to live with, nor do we need to escape from those feelings by using or drinking.

Grateful for Recovery

Gratitude is about much more than just making a list of things you are grateful for, although that can be a useful tool to help us be aware of the good in our lives. It is a genuine feeling of thankfulness for all that you have been given, even the tough stuff, even your recovery.

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” Brian Tracy

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center. Contact us today to speak to an addiction professional to help yourself or a loved one get the treatment that is needed.

The Importance of Aftercare

Aftercare can become one of the most important steps in the recovery process due to the possibility of relapse. Beating addiction is a long-term process that needs to become a lifelong commitment, so the investment in an additional period of substance abuse management is often just as significant as the initial recovery steps. Here are some reasons why aftercare is significant and what someone entering an addiction treatment program should expect at this time.

A crucial time

Statistics suggest that somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of individuals who go through a rehabilitation program will relapse. Within the first year, this rate is even higher. This is because everyone needs time to adjust to their new way of life and develop coping mechanisms to avoid abusing drugs or alcohol, which can take more time than a few months of treatment. Most people have heard of individuals entering a halfway house or a sober home immediately after completing a rehab program. That is because this form of aftercare offers a structured environment and accountability, rather than allowing individuals to leave and be on their own while they face a new set of struggles associated with sobriety. There also may be group activities or therapy sessions while staying in these homes. Some also choose to have these kinds of sessions or checkups in an outpatient setting if they need more freedom, yet still, require the accountability associated with a halfway house. If there are any doubts about someone’s ability to remain sober on their own, they should consider aftercare rather than risk the serious health or legal problems associated with relapse.

Is aftercare really necessary?

While it may be possible for someone to totally overcome their addictions after a brief stint in rehab, this is not always the case. Some people can experience long-term withdrawal symptoms from drugs such as opiates that require additional medications. Some people may be required by law through programs such as probation or community control to be monitored and tested for drugs and/or alcohol as a condition of release. These programs may last several months or years after the person is released to make sure they are no longer addicted or using illegal drugs. A positive social environment is also associated with better recovery outcomes, which is due to the fact that newly recovered individuals tend to experience negative emotions associated with their addictions. In isolation, these feelings can become intense and lead the person into relapse as a form of improper emotional management.

Planning for the future

If someone is serious about remaining sober for good, they need to take the time to develop a new life that will include maintenance of their responsibilities and social relations, but eliminate their addictions. Aftercare can gradually ease someone into this process and create a period of trial and error where professionals can help with any issues that arise. Therapists and others who are involved in the aftercare process will provide the tools necessary to deal with stress and temptations that will occur on a regular basis when someone returns to a normal life.

A good start is the best path to success

Addiction is a chronic condition that requires long term management. Tensions with family and financial or career problems tend to be large sources of stress within the first year of recovery. If someone remains sober throughout this early time, the possibility of relapse will drop off significantly. Aftercare will often provide some kind of blueprint through consistent meetings or programs that can be part of a person’s regular routine if necessary. Unfortunately, some individuals tend to not be as serious about aftercare and the following steps at their own peril, as this ability to remain sober, is more important than the initial rehab program and the best indicator of a person’s future outlook. In other words, appropriate aftercare will demonstrate whether someone can really handle sobriety or not.

Get more information from Principles Recovery Today

Principles Recovery offers many services related to addiction treatment. Principles Recovery is located in Davie, Florida, and we are available to provide help to you or a family member who is struggling with addiction.

7 Useful Apps for Addiction Recovery

Addiction trapped you in its grips for far too long and you’re ready to combat this problem head-on. Thankfully, a large number of sobriety apps are available that can help you stay sober and maintain a drug-free lifestyle. These apps include the following seven tools, each of which serves a slightly different goal. Whether you need motivation, insight from AA, or dietary advice, these apps have you covered.

1. Sober Grid

Sober Grid is a sobriety application that allows you to create unique online profiles to meet people who are also going through rehab. One of the nice things about this app is that you can use it anonymously to avoid embarrassment or revealing too much about yourself. You can also hook up to your Facebook account to meet people near you.

Sober Grid also includes a simple virtual journal that allows you to keep track of your moods and your triggers throughout the months and years of your recovery. And the GPS locator can help you find people near you who also have the app and who can help you get through life in sobriety.

2. AA Big Book

The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book provides people in rehab with a useful tool for focusing on their sobriety and healthiness without worrying about excessive personal struggles. The sobriety calculator is a particularly nice addition as it lets you track how many days, hours, and minutes you have been sober.

Podcasts, prayers, and personal stories all help to make this a great app if you’re always on the go and need a pick-me-up during tough times. The podcasts are particularly significant because they utilize a variety of friendly advice from people who experienced the same issues as you.

3. Headspace

Addiction is just as much a mental health problem as it is a physical one. And this meditation app helps you keep track of your anxiety and depression and manage them in healing ways. Choose from one of the hundreds of available sessions to manage your stress and improve your feelings of positivity.

Free users get access to a limited number of meditations, though, so you may need to consider a subscription. These typically range from month-to-month to year-based rates that come with a discount. However, you can also purchase a one-time lifetime subscription to the service as well.

4. Nomo – Sobriety Clocks

Time is something that weighs heavily on a person in recovery and, early on, you’re going to suffer from a variety of abuse triggers that can be hard to manage without help. Thankfully, Nomo provides a useful tool that makes your treatment more comfortable. It utilizes a clock that helps you track essential moments in your life in sobriety.

For example, you can track emotional times that are difficult for you and which could cause a relapse, such as a holiday season or specific times of the day. A section for encouragement also helps you to feel better about your care and gives you the chance to beat your addiction for good.

5. Lose It!

People often lose track of their health while suffering from an addiction and may eat little to no food. Thankfully, this simple app can help you overcome this problem. It provides you with a variety of healthy recipes that can rebuild your nutritional level and get you back into shape.

Just as importantly, this application also has exercise challenges that you can use to rebuild your physical and emotional strength. Exercises such as these often help to distract the mind and help you recover from emotionally-difficult moments in life.

6. Pear reSET

Pear Therapeutics designed this unique application, which is one of the best of its kind. Currently, it is the only mobile application to get approval from the FDA for treating substance abuse disorders. You will need a prescription from a doctor to download this app, though, so make sure to do so before beginning.

This application includes a unique 12-week program designed specifically for your rehab. You’ll go through weekly check-ins, complete a variety of lessons, take quizzes, and learn more about why you abuse substances. A study of this program found that people who used it were more than twice as likely to stay sober than those who did not.

7. 24 Hours a Day

Addiction recovery is a 24/7 journey that lasts you the rest of your life. You’re likely to feel an impulse to use nearly every day, which is why this application is so useful. Based on a best-selling book, it comes with 366 different daily medications that can keep your mind off of drugs and on your care.

Other benefits include daily motivational messages that you can focus on to boost your chances of treatment success. And since apps like these only work if you stay focused on using them every day, download a few today and start your new life in sobriety. If you are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction, reach out to a professional. Contact us here at Principles Recovery Center today!