New research is starting to explore how gratitude works to improve our mental health…. many studies over the past decade have found that people who consciously count their blessings tend to be happier and less depressed.
Once we give up the sightseeing visits and begin to get serious about our recovery, it doesn’t take long to begin experiencing the benefits. As one fellowship puts it, “We will know a new freedom and a new happiness.”
However, it’s easy to romanticize our active addiction when we’re still new, and conveniently forget the reality. Shrinks call that euphoric recall. It has killed a lot of addicts. One of the best defenses against relapse is remembering what it was like, and concentrating on how much better things are now.
We can make a list of the good things we have discovered on one side of a page, and then opposite each of them we can list the things in our addiction that we would be willing to trade for. I’m guessing that the right-hand column will be pretty short. It certainly is for me!
The good things in our lives are easy to overlook while we concentrate on the negative, and if we do that a lot our outlook on life can become generally negative. That path leads to “I might as well drink or use drugs, because I’m miserable anyway!”
Honest, I started thinking about this without even remembering that Thanksgiving was coming up. When I began to consider a title, however, it dawned on me. Then, being the sort of person I am (read: addict/alcoholic) I immediately thought, “How trite! I don’t want to publish a gratitude post in November!” Continue reading
I just looked over a dozen or so recovery blogs, and at least half of them were basically gratitude lists — and photos. (Apparently drunks take a lot of pictures; I know I do. I just don’t post many because it makes the pages load slowly.)
Anyway, gratitude lists weren’t what I was looking for, and I started to get annoyed that these people didn’t have anything else to say. Then I was like — whoa, big fella! These people aren’t posting to please you, they’re posting for the joy of it, because they’re sober and happy and grateful.
And, suddenly, so was I.
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