“We will all have trauma in our lives at some point. It is how we process that trauma that counts”
Gratitude changes our interaction with the world and promotes thoughts and behaviors that support the recovery of addiction. The practice of gratitude is proven to help overcome trauma and improve mental resiliency even during hard times. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude is a major contributor to resilience. Recognizing what one has to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – fosters resilience.
Whether a person struggles with substance use disorder, depression, anxiety or is addicted to a process such as gambling, pornography, gaming, shopping etc., all of these symptoms serve the same purpose – to avoid emotional pain. Past and present trauma and unresolved pain, in addition to low self-esteem and poor coping skills, create the perfect combination that creates a desperate avoidance mechanism.
The practice of mindfulness and gratitude are important components in the most effective forms of therapy and can help people in recovery appreciate the things that bring joy to their lives. Multiple studies prove that there is a link between gratitude and well-being, leading to a reduction in a multitude of toxic emotions. Gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression related to the trauma that often leads to addictive behaviors.
In active addiction, people are typically extremely self-absorbed. Humility is an essential part of a successful recovery and promoting gratitude stimulates the desire to be of service to others. Being of service to others creates a sense of a generosity of purpose rewarding the addict with a feeling far better than any drug can offer. Gratitude ultimately becomes the discovery path to spirituality.
Cultivating gratitude is a process that, like recovery itself, can be threatened by relapse, it is easy to fall back into patterns of self-pity, resentment, and negativity, particularly when life becomes stressful or things don’t go your way. Left unchecked, these feelings can lead to isolation and result in a return to addictive behaviors.
While negativity fuels the disease of addiction, gratitude nurtures recovery. In recovery, you continue to grow and learn and experience the willingness to be open, honest, and recognize the blessings of life without the presence of addictive behaviors.
Other articles you may be interested in:
- Addiction and Substance Use Disorder: We Used to be Called Drunks and Junkies by Julie Jeter
- CHANGE by Karith Foster
- Finding Freedom… by Lynette Jensen
- Are You Afraid of Them? by Cobi Tittle