The Importance of Showing Gratitude in Addiction Recovery

The Importance of Showing Gratitude in Addiction Recovery
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Importance of Showing Gratitude

Cultivating gratitude is an important part of recovery. Gratitude is recognized as one of the foundational virtues in the creation of happiness. If individuals are grateful to be on the road to recovery, then it is less likely they will relapse because they are empowered to move forward. A grateful attitude means they can face the challenges that are before them. Although issues may arise, they view it as a chance to grow rather than an obstacle. This positive way of thinking helps them to their goal of recovery.

Positive thinking and a positive outlook can influence behavior and aid in leading a sustainable recovery-oriented life. Those suffering from substance abuse or addiction tend to show signs of depression, and are self-centered, thinking of their own needs. With gratitude comes a less selfish attitude and more satisfaction in their needs being met and they can focus their attention on others. Gratitude helps people to become more optimistic, more in control of their lives, and offer a less stressful environment.

According to Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, “The practice of gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life.” His study of gratitude states that a sense of gratitude gives many personal benefits.


  • Stronger immune systems
  • Reduced sensing of aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased interest in exercise and taking care of health
  • Better, more restful sleep


  • Increased levels of positive emotions
  • of being more alert, alive, and awake
  • Increased sense of joy and pleasure
  • Increased feelings of optimism and happiness


  • Increased desire to be helpful, generous, and compassionate
  • Increased feelings of forgiveness
  • Increased interest in being outgoing
  • Reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation

Practicing gratitude not only affects the thoughts and behaviors of those suffering from addiction or dual diagnosis in recovery, but it also has profound implications on the way we interact with the world around us. Gratitude allows an individual to celebrate the present and be an active participant in life.

Below are tips for practicing gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Recall moments of gratitude daily by recording 1-3 things which you are grateful for, including people, places, objects, moments, and successes. Journaling your gratitude moments becomes a habit, and the mind shifts into a permanent way of being.
  2. Focus on what is important. Concentrating on the people around you and your relationships is a key part of long-lasting happiness.
  3. Appreciate the small things. Think about the things you take for granted and what life would be like without them. You will have a renewed appreciation for the things you do have and people in your life.
  4. Share your appreciation. Think about those that have made an impact in your life and share your gratitude with them.
  5. Give back. Express your gratitude through volunteering. Once you feel your needs are met and you have a strong sense of gratitude, your capacity to give to others will increase.

Those suffering from an addiction and entering drug rehab will learn how important it is to change how they perceive the world and create a better attitude towards life. Being grateful can motivate someone to take the actions needed to change their life. Gratitude brings about a healthy outlook and helps someone realize life’s difficulties can be faced with dignity, and it is a fundamental element in recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction.

At Lifeskills South Florida, we are here for those seeking help with a drug or alcohol addiction. Entering treatment is the first step to recovery, and we focus on equipping clients with coping and self-care skills for reintegration back into life once out of treatment. Our holistic approach to treatment incorporates elements of mindfulness, meditation, certified yoga, and integrated primary care, where we teach nutrition, meal planning, and cooking with a certified nutritionist. Our program goes above and beyond to empower individuals during their recovery.

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, Lifeskills South Florida can help. Lifeskills is an accredited dual diagnosis treatment program near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  To learn more, please contact us.

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