Over the course of active addiction, individuals experience a variety of negative and profoundly harmful effects that occur as a direct result of their chemical dependencies. The effects of addiction manifest rather quickly with some of the earliest being physical in nature; individuals often experience changes in weight and personal hygiene while generally looking unkempt and disheveled. Many addicts pursue substance abuse under the misconception that they’ll somehow be able to prevent their budding addictions from affecting any other aspects of their lives; meanwhile, everything begins to unravel.
Attendance at work or school takes a turn for the worst, culminating in the loss of employment and many other opportunities, financial hardships, and perhaps even homelessness. “Rock bottom” is a concept that has emerged to describe the cumulative destruction wrought on an individual’s life by his or her own addiction, being the point at which one’s chemical dependency couldn’t possible dig them any deeper into the hole of misfortune and ruin.
While it can be tempting to give up altogether once a person has reached the proverbial rock bottom, there’s a bright side or silver lining to the situation: When you’ve reached the ultimate low-point of your life, the only place to go it up. Those who suffer from addiction to alcohol, drugs, and even to behaviors like sex, gambling, and eating can find solace in the numerous recovery options that are available to help individuals overcome dependency to such harmful substances and behaviors.
The counseling and psychotherapy that form the basis of most addiction treatment programs help individuals to identify the altered patterns of thought that contributed to the development of addiction while learning healthier and more productive ways of thinking that will minimize the chance of relapsing back into destructive habits. Moreover, twelve-step recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous—and its many derivative groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, and so on—help individuals to not only recover from addiction physically but also socially and spiritually.
The thought of recovery from addiction often conjures images of sterile rehabs and psychotherapy, but there are many other components to overcoming chemical dependency that are equally important. As mentioned, there are many treatments and programs available that emphasize the path to emotional, social, and spiritual recovery after years spent in the throes of active addiction. Especially after a length of time suffering from addiction, individuals often feel depressed, unfulfilled, lonely, unattractive, and even unhealthy.
Due to this sustained numbness, recovery can often be a very intense period of time. However, once individuals are able to process the flood of emotions that often occur during early recovery, they often begin to feel very thankful for the opportunity to rehabilitate and right many of the wrongs in their lives.
What is a Gratitude List?
Twelve-step recovery has become a prominent recovery tool for those who have suffered from chemical dependency or behavioral addiction. Much of the twelve-step method has individuals accepting powerlessness to the disease of addiction and turning themselves over to the higher power of their understanding in an effort to derive the strength for long-term abstinence from one’s spirituality. As one gets further into the Twelve Steps, amends are made with those who have been harmed and those who are finishing working through the steps themselves become ready to help others work through the steps.
A major theme of twelve-step recovery involves aligning one’s mentality and spirit with the tenets of recovery. Through the course of recovery, individuals become increasingly aware of the things for which one can be thankful. For instance, non-addicts tend to have better health than addicts. Additionally, those who have successfully overcome an addiction are able to regain their independence by finding and maintaining employment and stabilizing one’s financial situation.
Recovery also allows individual to repair relationships that might have been damaged over the course of active addiction. On a daily basis, those in recovery will notice more and more things about which they can be thankful. As such, it’s not uncommon for one’s recovery treatments to incorporate what is called a gratitude list, which is a list that one writes, containing each of the things for which he or she is thankful.
Moreover, it’s often taught that an individual should write one gratitude list every day, or one list for every day of sobriety. As time goes on, those in recovery will notice that the list continues to grow as they find and gain more and more things for which they are grateful.
The Importance of Being Grateful in Recovery
When an individual begins his or her recovery, he or she will often have just reached the point of rock bottom or the lowest that they have yet been in life. This can take the form of having no employment or money, being homeless, contracting deadly disease over the course of one’s substance abuse, loss of important relationships, and so on.
As such, when an individual begins the journey of recovery it can often feel like there’s nothing for which he or she can be thankful. However, with each passing day, he or she can add the previous day’s abstinence to the list, meanwhile accruing other things for which the newly sober individual can be thankful. As a gratitude list grows, individuals are further inspired by their progress in life.
Especially compared to the state of one’s life at rock bottom, a growing gratitude list can become to motivation to continue with one’s recovery; moreover, it can make individuals feel like they have a lot they could lose in a relapse. In short, gratitude lists help recovering addicts to focus on the progress made in life and in recovery, showing them the successes they’ve had and are continuing to have while maintaining sobriety from alcohol and drugs.
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction to alcohol or drugs and would like to learn more about rehabilitation, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help. We have a team of experienced recovery specialists available to help individuals suffering from dependency find the addiction treatment programs that best address their individual recovery needs, allowing them to return to lives of sobriety, health, and fulfillment.