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.