The only way to move past what was, is to focus on the present. Even though people hurt others, make poor choices, and find themselves at a crossroads in their lives, it is a huge accomplishment to have a goal of living sober and making it a reality. It is vital to recognize steps along the way to healing. Gratitude for the old life helps build new memories in recovery. Finding things to be grateful for can make working through some of the harder moments in recovery easier.
Seeking Gratitude First
One of the hardest things to do is to put gratitude ahead of everything else. It is easy to look back and wonder why a person should be grateful for the devastation left in the wake of a substance use disorder. Although it may not feel good at the time, it is a big step to decide to attend treatment, be grateful you made that step. Acknowledge and be thankful for everything, because it has all brought you here to this moment in recovery, and made you the beautiful person you are today. Those who have suffered from substance use disorders have often been the source of much pain and stress. It helps to have gratitude for the potential change that seeking treatment can bring, and appreciation for a life saved. This thankfulness can put things in perspective and give a process to a painful journey.
Gratitude for family is essential while in the midst of challenging circumstances. Being home with the kids on Christmas, being sober enough to enjoy family dinners, and making new memories are all ways to think about recovery and gratitude. Start by making plans with the ones that are closest and most loved. It is not easy, but gratifying to know those who support the journey of recovery are right there in the midst of it all. Let go of past resentments and start fresh by just being grateful the opportunity exists to salvage strained relationships. Look at this time as an opportunity to heal and forgive, move forward, and find hope for the future. Make room for new experiences by getting involved in doing things with family that brings memories to carry forward today and always.
Health and Wellness
One thing many people take for granted is their health until they no longer have it. With substance use disorders, it may not be a top priority. Still, in recovery, it is essential to focus on healing from the inside out. Healthy eating habits, sleeping patterns, and overall wellness are important, and you can be grateful for simply being able to make these things a priority again. Being grateful that health issues you have put off due to substance use disorders can and will be addressed is a great place to start. If more significant health issues due to substance use have been avoided, gratitude can be practiced by merely continuing to take care of the body and mind. Be grateful for the health you have, and be excited about all the opportunities to practice gratitude daily.
It is hard for people to avoid complaining about their jobs, everyone does it at some time. One of the most anticipated and anxiety-producing events to happen post-treatment is returning to work. Whether it is a previous career or a new job, recognizing your gratitude for work can help calm any fears. When starting over, it is hard to navigate the ins and outs of this new world without substances. Your career is essential for your well-being. This opportunity exists now to make different choices and focus on work and family above substances. Gratitude for work and a paycheck is huge. Between paychecks, being grateful for smaller everyday joys, like the coffee and donuts in the office, will keep you in the gratitude mindset. Take a moment to think about what it would be like without a job or any of the opportunities available to working people. Give thanks by writing in a journal or extending it out to others and let them know how grateful you are for the chance to have meaningful work that pays the bills.
Learning and growing are part of recovery. Higher education is a gift not everyone can access, but being grateful for the available education opportunities will improve mood and outlook. Every day is a chance to find something new, as learning is an inherent part of life. It is the little things that add up. Not everything will be complicated, but sometimes it feels that way. It adds up to a growing number of new memories that include goals on the to-do list. Think about what your heart’s desires have been and how you got where you are now. With so much information and so many opportunities available, showing gratitude for your future education plans can be empowering and self-motivating. Gratitude can be expressed by giving yourself a chance to set and achieve new goals. It is okay to look back and wonder how things happened to this point but know that it is okay to move forward and find hope in the process of learning how to be better tomorrow.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at 800-799-4673.