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10 Things to Be Grateful for in Recovery

There is no better time of year than Thanksgiving

To pause and consider all that there is to be thankful for in sobriety. While things likely are not perfect – and when are they ever? – there are still dozens of things to be grateful for. Taking the time to meditate on all that you have going for you in life, and taking a break from dwelling on the things that you wish were different, can improve your mood, increase your energy, and bolster your recovery as well.

If today is one of those days when it is difficult to pinpoint anything good in your life, here are a few things to get you started:

  • 1: Health:
    Even if your health is not perfect due to chronic or acute illness, and even if you have aches and pains when you get out of bed and are struggling as a result, you are alive and breathing, and that in and of itself is something to be grateful for. This means you have the opportunity to improve your health. Even if you have bad days, there are good days as well, and good days are always on the horizon.
  • 2: Family:

    When you are close with your family members, these are often the strongest relationships in your world. Your spouse, your children, your parents, and your siblings – these people can be your anchors in sobriety, helping you to stand strong in the face of adversity and cheering on your successes. It’s easy to be thankful for family in this situation.

    However, family relationships can be stressful at times, far from ideal, and a heartbreaking struggle – but even in these situations, these relationships are things to be thankful for. Our family relationships play a large role in defining who we are, how we feel about ourselves, and how we exist in the world. Even if these relationships are not what we might have hoped, there is still strength to be found in surviving these relationships, and that is something to be thankful for.

  • 3: Spiritual life:
    In sobriety, people are encouraged to explore their spiritual side even if they have never defined themselves as spiritual people. Opening yourself up to this process can be beneficial to other aspects of recovery: increasing your support network, improving your mood, increasing your self-confidence and self-esteem, and improving your overall sense of wellness and balance – all great things to be thankful for.
  • 4: Friends:
    Your friends in recovery, as well as the friends who you lost to addiction and the ones who helped you to realize that it was time to get treatment, are all valuable in your life. The people who helped you to get where you are and the people who stand by you in your recovery are gifts to be grateful for this year.
  • 5: Freedom:
    If you live in the United States and many other parts of the world, and you are not incarcerated, you are free. You can choose the details of your life and make changes as you see fit to improve your situation. When you were living in active addiction, you were not free; your choices and every minute of the day were likely impacted by the consequences of drug and alcohol use and/or the drive to get high or drunk again. When you are sober, you have the skills to manage the compulsion to use. You can manage triggers healthfully rather than escaping in drug and alcohol use. This freedom from active addiction is arguably the most important part of your life to be thankful for this year.
  • 6: Sobriety:
    It’s commonly said that the worst day in sobriety is better than the best day in addiction. Every minute, hour, day, week, month, or year that you live in sobriety is something to give thanks for. Consider all you have experienced an accomplished so far in sobriety – everything from the moments of peace to the difficulties of working through tough issues. All of these are something to be grateful for.
  • 7: Career opportunities:
    In sobriety, you have the opportunity to accomplish any of your career goals and to begin to do work that matters, however you define that. Even if you are not actively doing so yet, you have the opportunity to do so now that you are sober. Be thankful for that.
  • 8: Personal goals:
    What personal goals would you like to accomplish now that you are clean and sober? Whether you’d like to cook your way through an amazing cookbook, learn how to garden, or build exquisite furniture or paint landscapes, you can begin to explore the world through the fresh lens of sobriety today.
  • 9: Change:
    The only constant in life is that change is inevitable. You cannot control what happens around you or even to you in many cases, and you can’t control the choices of others. Thus, change will always happen around you and impact your experience. This is a beautiful thing. It means that there is always the possibility of new and amazing things coming your way – feelings, people, and experiences that you may not have otherwise had the chance to know. No matter what your feelings or fears about change, it is something to give thanks for this season.
  • 10: Hope:
    Like change, hope is a neverending characteristic of recovery. No matter what your current situation, as long as you are clean and sober, there is always hope for positive change.
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