Staying in Gratitude

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Just the fact that we’re here and reading this right now is reason enough to be grateful. Maybe you’re here because you’re new to recovery, or contemplating sobriety, or you’ve been in recovery awhile and you’re just struggling. Whatever brought you here doesn’t matter as much as acknowledging your gratitude for getting to be here. Every day that we wake up and are still breathing is a day full of beautiful opportunities, whether it’s easy to see things that way or not.

In general, whatever your spiritual beliefs may be, the astronomical odds of even being alive are pretty miraculous. We are made up of millions and millions of microscopic events that had to go just right for us to be here. Yet, here we are. Maybe we are looking for help or just an emotional boost, and we found this article. What are the odds? Hopefully we can do both — be helpful and provide an uplift if one is needed. 

Lucky To Be Alive

So it’s crazy that we even exist. It’s even crazier that we have alcoholism or addiction, and yet we’re still alive. We truly are the lucky ones. Far too often, people with the disease of alcoholism and addiction don’t live long enough to be given the opportunity to recover. Even more tragically, some who struggle with recovery give up on themselves before the miracle of recovery takes place. But we are here, and if we stay here we will get the chance to help other people afflicted with alcoholism and addiction recover.

To participate in helping to save a life, as our life was saved, is a blessing unlike anything else — and it happens regularly in the rooms of recovery. All we really have to do is stay active and involved and we’ll get the chance to help someone. If we are lucky enough to be in recovery from our alcoholism or addiction, there is indeed very much to be grateful for. Yet, no matter how good our lives are, sometimes the clamor of daily life or our negative thoughts cloud away all those good things, making gratitude impossible to see or feel.

Don’t Take Things for Granted

Losing our gratitude and thankfulness might not seem like such a big deal, but it can be a poisonous place to stay for even a small amount of time. Of course, bad moods and negativity happen to everybody. Ups and downs are part of life, and everybody experiences them. But we would be well-served by doing whatever we can to make sure we are in gratitude as often as possible.

When we lose sight of all our gifts and blessings and forget how fortunate we truly are, we begin to take things for granted. Self-pity and entitlement often prevent us from being loving, and we stop treating our loved ones as well as they deserve. We slowly become angry that we aren’t getting everything we want or don’t already have all our hearts’ desires. This headspace keeps us from taking accurate stock of all the good in our lives that’s already right in front of us. Few things can wreak as much havoc in our lives as ingratitude. We can begin to lose the wonderful things that fill our lives just by taking them for granted.

Most people won’t stay too long in a situation where they are treated unlovingly and taken for granted. Most opportunities in life for growth and joy have a way of passing by people who are entitled, selfish, and self-pitying. Yet when we learn to appreciate all that we have, those blessings seem to multiply themselves right before our eyes. When we are grateful, we are thankful. When we are thankful, we take loving care of all the people and things in our lives. This only makes the good things better and grows the joy in our lives.

Finding the Bright Side in Bad Times

We can’t realistically expect to be in gratitude all the time. Sometimes bad things happen, and we’re going to feel bummed. But if we spend just a little time every day practicing gratitude, we can eventually learn how to make the best out of even the bad situations. Most alcoholics and addicts have to practice pretty hard to bring positive and grateful thoughts to the forefront of our minds, but practice can eventually rewire the way we think. We really can learn to keep our eyes on the bright side and make the best out of everything. Not only will this be a big help for us, but it will be a blessing to the people around us. They will feel loved and cared for, and they will know they can lean on us when their own hard times hit. And ultimately, that is our goal in recovery — to be of maximum service to our fellows and our higher power.

Gratitude feels better than the alternative, and it can actually change our lives. Attitude counts for a lot. Thankfully, gratitude is an easy thing to practice and provides a feeling that is best brought on by action. If we wish to feel grateful, we should act grateful, and then we will in fact be grateful. Meditation can help keep us balanced and clear-minded enough to think positively. It also gives us time to reflect on how good we have it. Getting into the habit of writing a gratitude list every day can also be a life-changer. Grab a notebook and spend a few minutes writing down the things you’re grateful for or start a gratitude group text with your recovery community. Do your best to express that gratitude through action, and watch how your list of things to be grateful for just keeps growing and growing!

A once happy, vibrant person with a promising life can be laid to waste by the disease of alcoholism and addiction. Thankfully, there is no one who is beyond the help offered by the 12-Step program of recovery. These 12-Steps of spiritual action are designed to produce the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience that can lead to recovery from alcoholism and addiction for just about anyone — no matter how far gone they are. But those who are willing to work this program of recovery cannot do it all on their own. At Jaywalker Lodge, we have an active recovery community built up around us of men who came to us for help and found their lives saved. We believe firmly in the power of the 12-Steps to change people for the better and restore our lives beyond our wildest dreams. We believe that what worked for us can work for you, too. Call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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