There will be no turkey this year. No stuffing, either. Tim was 36 days sober and still looking for a job. His addiction had cost his family – in so many ways. Now they had no money for a feast; his wife hadn’t planned anything anyway – not knowing what state Tim would be in for the holiday.
Even so, Tim was full of gratitude. He was thankful for his new-found sobriety. He was thankful that his wife was still by his side. He was thankful they had food to put on the table – even if they could only afford Ramen this Thanksgiving. He was thankful for his support group. He’d lost a lot of friends along the way, but he was grateful for the new ones he was making in recovery.
Each day, Tim trained his mind to focus on these points of gratitude. He found things to be thankful for in every circumstance. He wrote down at least one thing he was thankful for each morning. This attitude of gratitude was making a huge impact on his recovery. He was able to stay focused on the positives and keep moving forward, one day at a time.
Ultimately, these simple changes in attitude and mindset saved Tim’s sobriety.
Can an Attitude of Gratitude Really Make a Difference?
Studies say yes – and that means Tim is not a rare turkey.
Those who gobble up the attitude of gratitude reap huge benefits. Researchers have looked into this phenomenon at great length and published studies show an association between gratitude and well-being. Research indicates practicing gratitude makes you happier, provides a healthier outlook, improves relationships and makes you a more productive worker.
These benefits are exactly the boost you need in recovery. The immense heartache, pain, and loss caused by addiction can make it easy to focus on the negative, but this goes nowhere good. If we can develop hearts of gratitude instead, we are well on our way to establishing a solid foundation for sobriety.
Besides keeping our thoughts on the blessings in our lives, gratitude keeps us humble. Counting our blessings requires humility. As we thank others for what they have done for us, we are reminded of our need for them. As we thank our Higher Power for the blessings given, we are reminded we don’t have it all under control. This humility protects us from a prideful attitude that can easily lead us down the path to relapse.
Putting it Into Practice
What are you grateful for today? To achieve a healthy sober life, make Thanksgiving a year-round mental holiday. Use the following proven practices to maintain an attitude of gratitude 365 days a year:
- Write thank-you notes. Send at least one gratitude letter each month.Keep a daily gratitude journal. Write about the gifts you receive each day.
- Focus on your blessings. Write down three things each week and reflect on what you are grateful for in your life.
- Compliment others. As you appreciate others, you appreciate the life you live.
- Pray. Prayer is an impactful way to cultivate gratitude.
Additional Reading: 5 Ways Gratitude Can Change Your Life
Image Source: iStock