Recovery literature14-16 supports the building of a more enriching, meaningful and engaged life as a path to healing. This paper grew out of the author’s teaching practice in a Master’s degree Psychology of Addiction’s course with City University of Seattle (Edmonton, Alberta Campus). The students in the course increasingly have an appetite for more positive, non-pathologizing approaches to addiction.

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  • In the grip of an addiction, it’s easy to feel victimized, angry, and trapped.
  • Due to this connection to something bigger than oneself, gratitude also encourages people to connect with other people, nature, or higher powers.
  • People who maintain a sense of gratitude are more helpful, generous, and compassionate; more outgoing and forgiving, and feel less lonely and isolated.
  • The questionnaires included a well-known scale of affect, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, or PANAS (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988).
  • For example, studies testing the effects of similar interventions on different outcomes have reported contradictory results.

He articulated that as president, his objective for his term was to focus the profession on the scientific study of wellbeing. In a theoretical continuum with severe mental illness on the left and optimal human thriving on the right, a hypothetical distribution of individuals populates a bell curve of illness and wellbeing. Seligman pointed out that previous research had focused on the left half of the curve and that the right side of the curve, populated by individuals in good health who are thriving, mostly had been neglected. Flourishing individuals are “filled with emotional vitality … [and] functioning positively in the private and social realms of their lives” (p. 6). Theoretical and empirical evidence support the supposition that gratitude positively reinforces addiction recovery once recovery is underway.

The Importance of Showing Gratitude in Addiction Recovery

Those unrealistic expectations have a very negative impact on your progress. The extent of the damaging effects depends on how skewed your expectations are and how well you can bounce back from the disappointment of not meeting those expectations. For most of us, our addict lives were devoid of any sense of gratitude. We were glad when things went our way, but were never truly thankful for anything or anyone in our lives. And when things did not go our way, we become overwhelmed by intense feelings of anger and resentment.

At DiscoveryMD, expect evidence-based and breakthrough treatments such as talk therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), ketamine and esketamine (SPRAVATO®), as well as psychiatric medication management. At DiscoveryMD, we take a hybrid approach to care to suit your lifestyle. That means you can get safe, secure counseling sessions in the comfort of your home.

How to Set More Realistic Expectations After Relapse

Gratitude is not always expressed in the same way from person to person, but often portrays a similar meaning. Being grateful, however, is a choice, a habitual attitude that endures and remains relatively impervious to the ups and downs of life. The perspective of gratitude allows us to view life as a whole rather than being overwhelmed by temporary circumstances when disaster strikes. Although this is a challenging perspective, research indicates it is well worth it. Individual therapy provides a secure and safe setting to meet you where you are in your recovery. You will share space with a skilled professional to guide you to find peace in recovery.

By acknowledging the ways in which their actions have caused harm, individuals can begin to take responsibility for their behavior and work towards making amends. Once your mind starts associating these objects with gratitude, you will naturally begin to feel more positive every time you see them. The practice of gratitude, meditation, and deep breathing does wonders for calming your physical and emotional being.

Practice gratitude

Learn why gratitude is important, how it benefits you and others, and how it can impact your recovery. You can apply gratitude techniques while engaged in a sober living environment to express gratitude to your housemates, family, support system, friends outside of recovery, and your treatment team. Finally, there is significant potential for positive psychology to contribute to the work of the recovery movement, broadening and deepening its focus on depathologizing recovery from addictions.

We are currently located in Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. Gratitude can be defined as one’s inclination to be mindful and appreciative of what is good in our lives and return the kindness we have received back into the world. In more ways than one, the intentional practice of gratitude is very similar to mindfulness, which is the art of staying fully present and acknowledging all aspects of the present (the good and the bad) with grace and acceptance.

However, if a client has made a decision to change and has thereby entered the “action” stage (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1984), then a gratitude practice should affirm changes already underway. All reported estimates and inferences employed the combining rules outlined by Little and Rubin (2002) for multiply imputed data sets. Pearson Correlations assessed the zero-order relationship between gratitude and percent days abstinent at all time points. Change in percent days abstinent and gratitude between baseline and 6 months was assessed using multiple regression as follows. A change score was calculated by subtracting the baseline value from the 6-month value. The change score was regressed on the mean-centered baseline value of the construct and mean-centered study covariates.

Self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and empathy, especially during difficult times. It’s about accepting oneself, flaws and all, and recognizing that everyone makes mistakes. This approach can be particularly helpful for those in addiction recovery who may struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame. These principles promote change by helping the person overcome negative labeling patterns, develop a positive perspective of themselves, and learn coping skills that promote growth.

The article includes a case study of a woman facing severe stress and multiple challenges in her life. This worksheet provides a template for a daily gratitude journal, with room to record three things in the last 24 hours the client is thankful for, and three things that they are looking forward to in the next 24 hours. The following video shows the results of a USC study where students kept a gratitude journal for 10 weeks. Watch what happened when the three groups had different prompts—and results. Over time, you will find that you have a jar full of a myriad of reasons to be thankful for what you have and enjoy the life you are living.

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  • The administrative decision in the parent study to eliminate the gratitude questionnaire from the assessment protocol reduced the subsample and limited the selection of data analytic strategies.
  • By thinking positively and being grateful for what we have, we can live a more fruitful, favorable life.
  • Then, ask students to draw a picture of what they visualized and write a caption to go with it.

This may involve making apologies, showing a willingness to listen to the concerns of others, and working to rebuild trust over time. While repairing relationships impacted by addiction can be challenging, it’s important to remember that with time, effort, and self-compassion, it is possible to heal and move forward. Addiction often stems from a sense of shame, guilt, and self-criticism, which can trigger relapse or hinder recovery progress. By practicing self-compassion through evidence-based methods, individuals can learn to accept and love themselves despite their past mistakes and flaws, leading to a more positive and optimistic outlook on their recovery journey.