Many things happen during addiction treatment. “Feeling your feelings” might not be so comfortable at times, but being around other people that share the same experiences you have and receiving the support of experienced and compassionate addiction treatment professionals to see you through recovery, makes it all a bit more comfortable and not so difficult. Also, keeping a gratitude list during recovery is highly encouraged by therapists as through this simple activity you can record special and unique things that may support you in moments of weakness by teaching you to shift your attention to them.
Writing your blessings each day can be done by simply using a pen and a notebook or calendar. If you want to get crafty you can add collages, photos and create a scrapbook. No matter what format you choose do keep your gratitude list, it should be something that will be easy and enjoyable for you to do. Once started on it don’t give up. Let it be as long as possible. In time, you will notice that you are happier every day because of seeking and spending time on each day’s blessings. Keep it in a special place to reread it for years to come.
Tips to Create Your Gratitude List:
Take time to be grateful in your daily life. It’s been proven that making note of what you’re thankful for just before you go to sleep can produce a restful night’s sleep and happier dreams.
Try to write something down that you’re grateful for every day. Perhaps someone called you and asked how you are doing. Write it down. Try to write it in a detailed way like, “My friend called and asked me how I was doing. She told me she loved me, and she is missing me. This really made my day and made me remember the times I had fun with her. She invited me to her birthday. I am happy; I will get to see her soon.”
So how do you express your gratitude every now and then? There will be days that there is absolutely nothing to be grateful for. When these days come, go out and observe your surroundings. Look at the sun, listen to nature, or maybe visit with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Make sure you write it all down.
Ask someone to be your gratitude buddy. Share the blessings that you have experienced with him/her. Sharing gratitude with each other will give you one more reason to be thankful on your list.
You can also use this gratitude list as a tool in your relapse prevention program. When you get overwhelmed, you can read back over all the good things that have been happening in your life. Sad times will soon go unnoticed, as will your thoughts of alcohol and drugs.
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Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.