Gratitude: A New Kind of Opiate For Recovery

In general, we addicts and alcoholics pop our pills and drink our alcohol because the substance makes us feel better. Maybe we just fought with our spouse. Maybe we just had a bad day at work. Maybe we just watched our favorite TV show. Either way, we needed to escape reality, so we could feel better.

So what do we do after we’ve been dry and sober? How do we re-create that good feeling without using or drinking?

Create Our Personal Gratitude List

Here’s a suggestion—create a gratitude list. Recovery is about knowing and applying tools to help us not to relapse.

A “What?”, you ask.

A gratitude list—a list of all the things you’re thankful for. The longer, the better.

Some of us can probably come up with a pretty good list of 5 to 10 things in about as many minutes, and others of us will not be able to think of anything in 30 minutes. But coming up with a simple list isn’t as important as training ourselves to be grateful and thankful on a regular basis.

Train Ourselves to See Life Through a Positive Lens

A better process is to pick the same time every day—maybe at night before we go to bed—then pull out a notebook and pen and jot down one or two things for which we are grateful. Every day add one or two more.

And we shouldn’t feel badly if we’re tempted to repeat our items. Maybe one day we just feel really thankful for our husband. It’s okay to be grateful for him again the next day too.

It’s really not about what’s on the list—it’s about the process of forcing ourselves to look for people and circumstances to be thankful for on a regular basis. That daily process will train us to see life through a “half-full” lens and begin to help us feel better.

Read Our Gratitude List

For the recovering addict, we can’t just take away the substance that makes us feel better. We must replace it with something.

If we can replace it with a gratitude list, next time we need to feel better, we can pull out that list and read it.

What Are You Grateful For Today?

Take a few moments to jot down in the comment section what you’re grateful for today.