REHAB 101: Make Every Day Thanksgiving with a Daily Gratitude List
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr
When I came into recovery over twenty years ago, I was introduced to the concept of a ‘gratitude list.’ The person who told me about it explained that having a substance use disorder (i.e., addiction to alcohol and/or drugs) predisposed me to taking for granted the gifts I received each day.
Speaking as a recovering addict himself with long-term recovery, he said, “This tendency to take things for granted can compound the stress or anxiety we have about what we don’t have and subdue or weaken any feelings of satisfaction or contentedness we have in our lives.”
And then he cautioned me by saying, “Carrying around a sense of discontent can lead us into feelings of resentment or victimhood, which can cut us off from others and actually drive people away from us. And when we’re cut off from others or isolate ourselves in any way, that sense of separateness is known to be fertile ground for a relapse.”
So, when he concluded by sharing with me how he and countless others who’d been living free from active addiction utilized a gratitude list to develop a more positive, healthy state of mind and emotions.
“Everyone has challenges in life, whether we’re in recovery or not,” he said. “Making a gratitude list can help us shift your focus from lamenting about what you don’t have to sincerely appreciating what you do have present in your life – and it can be as simple as literally ‘counting your blessings.’”
Given the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust so many unprecedented problems into our laps this year, I thought it might prove beneficial to share some of my gratitude list for Thanksgiving 2020, with the hopes it might motivate readers to consider writing their own gratitude list AND (if you’re not already doing so regularly) adopting it as a daily recovery practice.
[Note: I was taught to feel free about including anything I felt grateful for, both small and large “gifts”… so that’s what you’ll see below. I encourage you to do the same! And use this tool to help maintain your recovery and freedom from active addiction, one day at a time!]
I am truly grateful for…
- My recovery predecessors, those who came before me and both learned and began living the principles of recovery—so I could see examples of people who’d struggled with addiction as I had and yet now were clearly “walking the talk,” living new lives I admired;
- All of those people who’ve supported, guided and helped strengthen me along my journey of recovery, including family members, friends and past lovers;
- My “recovery network,” those people who I can (and do) turn to for perspective, support, a feeling of connection or acknowledgment, whenever I’m facing challenges, achieving something important to me or simply looking for a common bond and a desire to feel “part of,” rather than “apart from;”
- The opportunities I have to make a positive difference in other people’s lives, whether it be others in recovery, family or friends, clients, or readers I’ve yet to touch with my writings; and last, but not least,…
- My Higher Power, who has blessed me with a “second chance” at life—through guiding me into recovery—and so many gifts to enrich my heart, mind, soul and body… that, in my view, I may be of greater service and offer up that much more to those I encounter each day, one day at a time.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Y’ALL!!