Today we want to talk about something really important – having an attitude of gratitude.
Now it might sound a bit funny or even a bit weird but having an attitude of gratitude is a very powerful tool in your addiction recovery process. What do we mean by an attitude of gratitude?
People that we often see in the addiction recovery field, specifically addicts, especially when they first ask for help, often find themselves in a situation where they feel like they don’t have a lot to be grateful for it. They may have really damaged relationships in the past they may have done some really messed up stuff they may have broken laws. There are even situations where they have potentially physically injured other people.
And so it can be difficult for them to get to a place where they have gratitude in their lives and they may not even believe they are worthy of gratitude.
One of the first things that we teach people is that there are lots of things in your life to be grateful for. Cultivating a strong practice of gratitude causes the universe to respond in a way that presents you with more to be grateful for. We learned a long time ago from a great spiritual teacher, Dr Michael Bernard Beckwith, who said essentially that what you focus on expands. For people that are struggling with addiction having a focus on gratitude ensures that you are able to focus on the positive things in life and then more of those positive things can come back to you.
Well, that’s all fine and dandy but coming up with an attitude of gratitude isn’t something that you can just switch on and off. It requires deep, thoughtful, hard work. How do you do this? One of the best ways that we recommend doing this is simply through the use of a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal works pretty easy and should be kept on a bedside table. Either right when you wake up, which is a great time to do it, or right before you go to bed, you just simply take a few moments to write out between five and 10 things that you’re grateful for. And that’s it!
We had a funny interaction just the other day with somebody who said “Five to 10 things? I can’t think of five to 10 things that and I’m grateful for”. To which we responded with:
Do you have fingers? They said yes. There’s one thing.
Do You have toes? They said yes. Now we have two things.
So you can see that there are things to be grateful for even if you can’t think of any even if you can’t think of something in your life big you start with something small.
Start with the small things in life like your ability to breathe for instance; it’s crucial, but it goes under appreciated. So every day as you develop this practice it’s OK to duplicate things. It’s perfectly ok to be grateful for things repeatedly as well – we just suggest that you mix it up a little bit every day so not every day you’re just thankful for your fingers and toes and breathing but you know find little things throughout the day.
Then, try and keep those things in your mind throughout the day. Think of those things whenever you can. And this is just a key pathway to developing these different skills and an attitude of gratitude will undoubtedly lead you into a much better mind spacing and a much better healing space where some of the really deep work can start.
So I ask you to put in the comments today – what are five things that you’re grateful for?
To your recovery,