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The Role of Gratitude in Addiction Recovery

Written on July 28, 2023
The Role of Gratitude in Addiction Recovery

At Flatirons Recovery Center, we believe that gratitude is a fundamental component of the addiction recovery process. However, cultivating an authentic sense of gratitude in addiction recovery will not happen overnight. This is especially true for those struggling with active addiction for years. When the consequences of addiction accumulate, it can be challenging to find much to be grateful for. Yet, when a person commits to a life in recovery, the scales soon tip in the opposite direction. 

If you or someone you love has been struggling with a substance use disorder, we can help. Contact us today, and you will be connected with someone who will walk you through our simple admissions process, ensuring you receive the clinical care you need as quickly as possible. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping you begin your recovery journey today. 

What is Gratitude?

What is gratitude? In simple terms, gratitude is an appreciation for what one has. An article published by Harvard Health titled “Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier,” reads, “The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives.”

When cultivating a sense of gratitude, people often acknowledge that the source of their gratitude lies outside of themselves. Because of this, gratitude often helps people develop a connection with a higher power. This connection is imperative to work through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (or another 12 Step program). At Flatirons Recovery Center, we believe in the importance of 12-Step program involvement. We encourage our clients to continue participating in a structured program once they complete treatment as part of their comprehensive aftercare programming

The Importance of Finding Gratitude 

Why is finding gratitude so crucial to continued success in sobriety? In positive psychology, finding a stable sense of gratitude is strongly associated with overall happiness and well-being. Numerous benefits go hand-in-hand with finding gratitude, including:

  • The ability to relish positive experiences
  • Improved health and well-being
  • The ability to deal with challenges and adversity
  • More positive emotions/emotional regulation
  • The development of stronger, healthier relationships

In active addiction, people tend to grapple with the concept of contentment. The mental obsession was overwhelming, and moments of peace were few and far between. “Stopping to smell the roses” is entirely impossible when the brain incessantly demands the next drink or drug. 

When a person gets sober, they are able to slowly acknowledge all of the good in their lives. It is important to note that gratitude is a practice; a muscle that must be flexed regularly in order to adequately develop. Once a person taps into a place of true gratitude in addiction recovery, they are significantly more likely to stay committed to recovery long-term. 

Gratitude in Addiction Recovery 

It is not uncommon for a person to overlook all there is to be grateful for while in the throes of active addiction. Things like the love and support of friends and family members, shelter, food, and opportunities for treatment might be unintentionally taken for granted. Additionally, those new to recovery often find themselves stewing in the past — in the ways they have been personally wronged and the wrongs they have done to others. 

Cultivating gratitude helps people focus on the here and now. It helps them work through feelings of remorse and resentment that might otherwise lead to relapse. The transition from active addiction to a life of gratitude in recovery does not happen overnight. However, the benefits of gratitude in addiction recovery will become apparent in a short amount of time. 

How to Cultivate Gratitude 

How does one go about cultivating gratitude? There are several ways to increase gratitude in daily life, including:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal and jotting down between 5 and 10 things to be grateful for daily
  • Begin each day reflecting on all there is to be grateful for
  • Verbalize gratitude for loved ones as often as possible
  • Celebrate small wins and celebrate every recovery milestone
  • Practice self-forgiveness (work through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous) 
  • Develop a strong network of support made up of positive, happy people
  • Stop “doom-scrolling” and only share positivity on social media

Addiction Treatment in Colorado 

The programs we offer at our Colorado addiction treatment center include:

  • The Recovery Ranch Program — Our inpatient rehab in Colorado provides clients with 24/7 care in a comfortable, supportive environment. Clients participate in 6 hours of intensive therapeutic and holistic programming, followed by a range of recovery-friendly activities. 
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment — We offer daytime and nighttime Intensive Outpatient treatment (IOP). Our IOP program consists of individual and group therapy, relapse prevention training, vocational training, and various other pertinent services. 
  • Day Treatment — Our Day Treatment program resembles a traditional Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). Therapeutic groups meet Monday through Friday from the morning until the afternoon. PHP is a step above IOP and below inpatient rehab regarding program intensity and commitment level. 
  • Sober Living — Sober living facilities can be an excellent accompaniment to holistic rehab during and after treatment. Our Colorado sober living home is comfortable and structured, providing residents with the accountability they need to thrive in their newfound lives of recovery. 

Contact Us Today to Learn More 

Finding effective addiction treatment in Colorado might feel overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure what step to take first. At Flatirons Recovery Center, we take the guesswork out of receiving quality clinical care. Our dedicated team of licensed addiction specialists is standing by to help guide you or your loved one toward a life of fulfillment and gratitude in addiction recovery. All you need to do is make initial contact.

We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping you begin your personal journey of healing as soon as possible.