Tag Archives: gratitude

Tag Archives: gratitude


grateful to be soberBy definition, gratitude is, “the quality of being thankful; ready to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” When we talk about addiction, gratitude isn’t often the first on the list for discussion. Many may ask, “What is there to be thankful for?” Substances often provide us a way out – of our sorrows, our pain and our ignorance. They pull us away from what we already have, because they draw our attention elsewhere – to using. The truth is, one of the most vital components of addiction recovery is practicing gratitude and that’s because by recognizing and appreciating what we have, we can live a happier, healthier life overall.

A 2015 study conducted by researchers from around the U.S. sought to explore how gratitude played out for 23 adults in outpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). They asked these adults to complete daily gratitude exercises that asked them to write down “Three Good Things” about their lives. Many participants completed the study and while some found this difficult to do on a daily basis, the process overall held a significant effect on the perceptions and temperament. More and more participants started to feel calmer, more at ease and the researchers concluded that this type of gratitude exercise was truly beneficial to their recovery.

If you get the chance, try out this exercise. What can you come up with? For many in addiction recovery, gratitude looks something like this:

  • Having another opportunity to get one’s life back
  • Developing a stronger connection with a Higher Power who loves you
  • Being able to rely on people from support groups or recovery programs
  • Sobriety and all of the wonderful benefits that come with it
  • And more

Gratitude is for anyone and everyone. It’s a spiritual practice, and it connects us to what truly brings us joy in life. Start incorporating more gratitude into your life today.


Cool Springs Treatment is a 12-Step based outpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation program. Designed for individuals 18 and older, we strive for individualized, quality treatment to meet each person’s unique needs. Our outpatient program gives you just enough structure to really keep a firm grip on your recovery, while still allowing you the time to follow through with outside responsibilities such as family, school or work.

Call us today at 615-356-2700 to get more information on seeking the help you need.

The Holidays

When I went into treatment on Monday, December 18th over thirty-five years ago, I thought my life was over. It was like the very thing that I’d been trying to outrun all of my life, finally came crashing in.

It being during the holidays, it seemed like the worst consequence that could have ever happened.   I had been working in a department store in Los Angeles and everything around me was festive and holiday-like. Everything was red and poinsettias. Unfortunately, I couldn’t feel a thing. Emotions were beyond me.

Now I am sitting in a hospital with a totaled car, a pending divorce and virtually no hope for a job. Christmas and New Years are rapidly approaching.

At first I was resistant and fought everything and everybody. I stayed angry and afraid.   I racked my brain trying to figure out what they wanted me to do. (Note. Not what I needed to do, but what they wanted me to do. Big difference.)   Christmas approached and like everything in my life, I went into denial. (“It’s not a big deal!”) It was a big deal.

During this period I finally came to the conclusion I was where I was supposed to be, and, even though I didn’t believe them, I would try to follow their instructions. But during a particularly contentious group session I threw a fit and ran out of the room. I ran to a window and reared back my fist to break the window. Instead I turned around ran back into the group room and began to shout, “you’re not gonna stop me from not stop drinking.” I fell to my knee  and began to cry like a baby.   It felt like a fifty pound weight had been taken off my back. For the first time in years, I did not feel pain or shame.   It was the spiritual experience like Bill W. spoke about in his personal story in the Big Book. The scales from my eyes fell away.  No hurt, no pain, no regrets. Perfect peace.

I remember looking out the surrounding picture windows in the group room that overlooked LA Harbor and the island of Catalina.   It was beautiful. I saw and felt for the first time since I was a child.

I didn’t even notice it was New Year’s Eve. Later that night I went into the darkened group room with the picture windows. I watched a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor.   I saw and felt the beauty of the moment. I was totally present and at peace in the world.   The next day my family visited and I saw them in a new light. I really felt their love.

The time spent in the treatment center changed my world.   It was the most wonderful gift I have ever been given.   Today I enjoy the holiday season with my wife and children and my friends and family.   I know that not one drink or drug will ever give me the peace that my Higher Power bestows on me.

Have a wonderful holiday.


Feel free to tell us about how your sobriety has changed your holiday experience and what you no longer take for granted during this season.


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