How Can Gratitude Be Applied to Addiction Recovery?

Applying gratitude in addiction recovery There are many elements of healing that we talk about when it comes to addiction recovery – forming support, gaining education on what addiction is and how it affects us, working through painful emotions and experiences to promote healing in therapy and much more. Addiction recovery is a time where many emotions, thoughts and changes take place; for many people, these changes can have a lasting impact on their lives, but in order to truly reap the benefits of the support they now have in improving themselves, gratitude is necessary. When we don’t have gratitude, we’re more likely to fall back into old, negative states of being – we are less likely to see the benefit in what we’ve been doing or what other people have offered us for our mental, physical and spiritual state, which can bring us back down and increase our chances of relapse.

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley asked Robert Emmons, a world-renowned scientific expert on gratitude, what “gratitude” meant to him. This is what he stated:

“First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received…we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves…We acknowledge that other people – or even other higher powers…help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

A 2015 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that when gratitude is involved, those in addiction recovery are much more likely to feel calm and at ease; in addition to this, positive thought processes are likely to help propel those in recovery towards reaching their goals. When we’re more open to affirming the goodness that we’ve received thus far in recovery, we’re likely to maintain a positive, loving mindset – and with that comes an enhanced opportunity for growth, learning and drive.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) explains that recovery involves healing and re-building a life in a recovery community. With so many people and resources to lift us up, it’s no wonder that gratitude can have such a magnificent impact on our lives.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.