Practicing Gratitude During Addiction Recovery


heart in hand | practicing gratitude

Being thankful is a fundamental part of the holiday season, but practicing gratitude is also a big part of daily living in addiction recovery.


Gratitude is as simple as being thankful or appreciative of something.

But how does being appreciative help with internal struggle during addiction recovery?

Why Gratitude Is Important During Addiction Recovery

Think of how you internally view negative scenarios when struggling with addiction. For example, someone making critical remarks or cutting you off in traffic is something that can easily be twisted to justify unhealthy behavior.

Practicing gratitude is more than just saying “thank you” or being internally thankful for a life free from addiction. Gratitude is something that you need to practice in every situation. Look for the good things constantly.


Even if it’s a few little things to be grateful for, focusing on them will ultimately help work against a toxic mindset. Practicing gratitude also teaches us how to love and respect ourselves, which enables us to love and respect others as well.


How To Practice Gratitude

Developing a mindset and behaviors that reflect gratitude is a skill, and it takes time to develop. Here are practical ways to practice gratitude in recovery.


  • Focus On Little Things: Don’t just look for grandiose things to be grateful for - small compliments, someone you know now that you didn’t have during addiction, or even something good happening to someone else are all things to be grateful for.

  • Look At What You Have, Rather Than What You Don’t: When focusing on all the things we don’t have, it creates an attitude of ungratefulness and stirs up negative emotions like jealousy and anger. Don’t compare your life to others and the things they have and you don’t. Think about what you do have - and where your life would be without them.

  • Focus On The Best And Not The Worst: When something goes wrong or someone disappoints you, don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, use thought stopping techniques, then focus on the good things in the situation.

  • Make A Goal To Give To Others Daily: Practicing generosity is a large part of gratitude. There are plenty of ways to be generous each and every day, but recognizing the opportunities takes effort and attention. For example, if you see someone struggling to lift groceries into their car, the simple act of offering to help can go a long way.


More Ways To Practice Gratitude

  • Make a gratitude journal and add to it each day.

  • Tell someone you love and appreciate them.

  • Include an act of kindness in your life everyday.

  • Look for the beauty in nature.

  • Smile more often.

  • Watch inspiring videos.

  • Avoid negative media and movies with destructive content.

  • Call your mom, dad or grandparents more often.

  • Volunteer for organizations that help others.

  • Don’t gossip or speak badly about others.

  • Commit to one day a week when you won’t complain about a single thing.

  • Give recognition when it’s due at work.

  • Reciprocate kindness - if someone does something nice for you, do something nice for them.

  • Say thank you for the little things your loved ones do for you, things you normally take for granted.

  • Post quotes and images around the house that remind you to be grateful.

  • Help friends see the positive side to life.

  • Make a gratitude image board, cut out pictures of all the things that you are grateful for.

  • Make gratitude a part of family life, share it with each other during meal time.

  • Practice gratitude at the same time every day to make it a habit.

Gratitude isn’t just a nice thing to practice - it’s essential for long-term recovery.

If you practice gratitude with enough things, all of the good things you notice will add up, and eventually, you’ll have more to be thankful for than you’ll ever know. Over time, this will allow you to quickly drive away negative thoughts that fuel the desire to use again.

Need additional help? If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and want to learn more about treatment options, feel free to contact us at: 630-402-0144