If you are going through the recovery process from an addiction or a mental health condition, you might be feeling a bit lost this holiday season. While everyone else is talking about all of the things they are grateful for, you might feel as though you don’t have much to be thankful for. Even if you feel that way some days, the truth is that you have a lot of things to be thankful for this month (and all year long)! Take a look at the following parts of life that you might be thankful for, then read on for tips on feeling and expressing your gratitude.
Your Loved Ones
If you are a teen in recovery or rehab, chances are excellent that someone you love brought you to the doctor or to a mental health professional because they wanted you to get well. It might have been your parents, another family member, or a close friend of the family. While you were in your recovery center, you likely had visitors, if they were allowed. You might have gotten letters or even care packages from friends and family, too.
All of these people are rooting you on and wishing for you to get better. They send well-wishes and will be there to offer you support throughout your recovery process. Even if they annoy you sometimes or if you get angry and frustrated with one another, the bottom line is that they love you. That is worth being thankful for!
Your New Support System
In addition to your family and friends, you also have a new support system who, like your loved ones, are supporting you and helping you to get better. This system is usually comprised of a mental health specialist, counselors, and members of a support group. Depending on the relationship and the specific individuals, they help you in various ways as you navigate the road to your recovery.
Try to take some time this November to thank your mental health care providers, specialists, and even the new friends you’ve made in your group therapy for being there for you.
Your Improving Health
When you first arrived at your recovery center, you might have been not feeling very well. Depending on your condition, you might have been under the influence of harmful substances. Maybe you were going through a detoxification process, which can be quite uncomfortable. You might have been very weak from an eating disorder or you might have been severely depressed or anxious.
No matter where you are in regards to your recovery, you’ve come a long way. Whether you arrived a few days ago or you were able to check out several weeks ago, you have done some hard work to get where you are right now. Your specialists and mental health care workers have been giving you the resources you need to get better. Not everyone gets the opportunity for excellent mental health care when they need it, unfortunately. You are fortunate to have your health, and it will only get better from here!
Your Home and School
Although you are or were in a recovery center, you will (or do) still have some consistency at home and at school. If you are not currently at home, think about how it will feel to walk back in the door. You’ll be welcomed with familiar smells and sights. Your bedroom will be a comforting haven for you and you’ll be surrounded by memories.
Many teens who go through a rehabilitation or recovery program go back to their school. That’s where you’ll know other students, teachers, and coaches. You’ll feel comfortable because you already know what the classes are like and what to expect. Others, however, feel better if they can go to a different school or even study at home. Whatever you and your family decide is best, your school will continue to prepare you for your future, and that’s worth being grateful for.
Your Recent Changes
Perhaps the most important part of your life that you can be thankful for is your recent transformation. For a young person, you have been through a lot. These experiences will factor into the type of adult you’ll become. By taking the steps you have, you’ve proven to yourself that you have the strength to get through difficult situations. You have had to make hard choices and do the right thing even when you haven’t wanted to. You are developing qualities such as perseverance and grit.
In one or two or five years, you’ll look back at this time as a time of major growth. Although it’s difficult now, you will probably become thankful for it.
How and Why to Express Your Gratitude
If this sounds too good to be true, try it: Take 10 or 15 minutes at the end of each day to write down a few things that you’re grateful for. See how you feel after a couple of weeks. Another benefit of this exercise is that you’ll be able to look back later and see all of the parts of your life that were good, even during this difficult time.
Since November is National Gratitude Month, there’s no better time to express your thankfulness. One way to do this is to write a letter to someone who has helped you recently. This might be a counselor, a teacher, a parent, or a close friend. Another way is to volunteer to help others. “Paying it forward” is a nice way to express your gratitude while giving someone else something to be thankful for. Finally, take some time this Thanksgiving to tell the people whom you’re eating with some of the ways that they’ve made your life better. Passing on your good feelings will help others feel good, too!