Attitude is everything in life. This seems like a broad statement, but it holds a great deal of truth. The same is true in addiction and recovery. Many addicts feel they are different from everyone else in life. They believe that their life has been especially hard or unfair and this allows for the destructive behavior of addiction to continue. This is simply not true. No matter how difficult a situation is, one can choose their attitude. This ability and choice is totally up to the person. This can be very useful in life, but imperative when in recovery.
If attitude is a choice than why not have an attitude of gratitude. Having an attitude of gratitude in recovery can change the way we interact and promote behaviors that are supportive of long term recovery. In order to have this attitude of gratitude you must first shift your mindset. This is something that must be done daily by choosing to see what recovery has opened up, not what addiction has taken away. This can be tough for the addict who may feel like everything was lost during addiction, but the positive spin is that you only have one direction to go, up. Every situation can have positive in it. There are people in jail who get clean. There are addicts who have been at death’s door who get into recovery and create an amazing, productive life.
You simply have to change your attitude to one of gratitude. Take for example an addict that has lost everything to addiction that can move into an apartment during recovery. This person can find the positive in having a consistent roof over their head, not worrying about the next hit, but thinking about what to fix for dinner. The apartment could be small and not well furnished, but it is a step in the right direction. Recovery gives you the opportunity to change the way you think and approach situations if you allow it to do so.
Learn to appreciate the small things by concentrating on what makes life great, not always worrying about the bigger picture. Make an attitude of gratitude journal. A great way to start is by starting one morning and every hour writing down one thing that you are grateful for in life. This can be something simple like a beautiful flower or a good friend. Truly take time to think about what you are grateful for as you move through your day and write it down. Keep this journal handy for days that are not feeling great and refer to the things that made you feel grateful before. It will become easier to find things you are grateful for with practice.
You can also have an attitude of gratitude by doing something for others without expecting anything in return. Take time to help someone with something they need. Fix a meal for a friend, help someone carry in groceries, or volunteer at a local shelter. Whatever you choose you will get the good feelings that come with helping others. This will have the added benefit of building your self esteem and possibly connecting you to others who can be friends. Addiction makes people self absorbed so the humility involved in helping others without expectation will promote good feelings and further the attitude of gratitude.
Finally, be gracious for the changes you are going through in recovery. Embrace the imperfection that is human and keep growing and changing. So this boils down to one thing, change your attitude, and change your life. You are learning about recovery or are in recovery or perhaps you have a loved one with an addiction, no matter the situation you are in control of your attitude and reactions, stay strong.
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