Whether you have just started your recovery journey or you have been sober for a while, this is the time of year when it’s a great idea to reflect on all that you are thankful for. If you are struggling to think of the blessings in your life, here are some that apply to most people going through recovery. Read through the list and write down what you are most grateful for each day. Within a few weeks, you’ll have a list of your own to pull out when you are having a bad day.
1. Supportive Mental Health Professionals
Not everyone has the means or resources to seek out supportive mental health professionals who are invested in their clients getting well. In your case, however, you do have the addiction specialists and help that you need. That alone is something to be thankful for! Even when your work is hard and when there are setbacks, you have people who know a lot about addiction and what you are going through. They are ready and able to try different strategies and give you the support you need to succeed despite your obstacles.
2. Your Family
If you have a loving and supportive family, then that is absolutely worth being grateful for! You might have the type of family who stands by your side no matter what. Not everyone is so fortunate. If you don’t have a loving and supportive family, then you might need to create your own “family.” Your support group is filled with people who know and deeply understand your struggles. These individuals might be even more devoted and supportive than your natural family. Tell them how thankful you are that they are walking down this path with you.
3. Your Health
Whether you consider yourself to be in good or poor health, one thing is almost for certain: Your overall physical and mental health are better than they were when you were in the throes of your addiction. Your body is no longer being put through the rigors of handling drug or alcohol abuse and your mind is no longer altered by substances. With good lifestyle choices, you can enjoy even better health in the future. Be sure to take care of your health by eating well, sleeping enough, getting some exercise each day, and seeking mental health care when you need it.
4. Your Sobriety
If you think about where you were when you first checked into rehab, even if it was only a week or a month ago, you’ll remember what it felt like to be discouraged and addicted. Once you got sober, your life changed in many different ways. If you can keep putting one foot in front of the other and mindfully pursue your sobriety, you’ll be putting a difficult time in your life farther and farther behind you. That alone is something to be thankful for!
5. Friends Who Stand by You
Consider the friends who were with you before your addiction and stayed with you throughout your most difficult time and are still with you as you begin to emerge on the other side. True friends like this are gifts that you should be thankful for. You probably also have friends who chose not to stand by your side for reasons of their own. During this season of thanksgiving, it’s nice to recognize those who did choose to look through your addiction and continue to support and love you as the wonderful person that you are.
Think about all of the ways that forgiveness has fit into your life. During your recovery, possibly one of the hardest things you’ve had to do is forgive yourself. You might have been in the position to forgive others who have hurt you in the past and you might have asked others to forgive you. If your religious beliefs involve forgiveness for wrongs, that might be applicable to your situation as well. Being forgiven and having the ability to forgive others is something to be thankful for. Keep in mind that some people never get the chance to ask for forgiveness and that others are hardened against forgiving others. Being forgiven and offering forgiveness are gifts.
7. Your Transformation
As you think back to all that you have experienced, some good and some bad, you might be struck by how much you have changed. Whether your road to recovery has been long or short to this point, you have undoubtedly changed. You’ve learned to put your needs first at times. You’ve learned to appreciate your body and your mind. You’ve met new people and you might have cast aside old judgments and hurts that you were once struggling with. You now have new friends in your life and you have found out which of your old friends have decided to stick with you during what might have been the most difficult time of your life. In short, you have truly transformed and that is something to be grateful for.
Sometimes it can be difficult to see your blessings when you’re in the midst of a rough season, and recovery can absolutely be a hard time of life for many people who go through it. Try just taking some time at the end of each day to reflect on any victories that you’ve had, no matter how small. Did you choose to go for a walk rather than stay in your pajamas? Did you not answer your phone when a person from your past who used to encourage you to use substances called? Did you return your father’s call even though the last time you spoke, he said something that hurt your feelings, and did you accept his apology easily? All of these are actions that you can include in your gratitude journal. Little by little, you are becoming a more well-adjusted person, and remembering to be grateful is helping.