Gratitude is a powerful tool for people in recovery. Gratitude can be thought of as a thankful acknowledgement of something you’ve received that has benefited you. Your successes in recovery are things you can be grateful for, and when you’ve got an attitude of gratitude, there’s little room for negativity.

You may feel regret for some of your behaviors when you were in active addiction. Now that you’re in recovery, focusing on decisions made in the past won’t help strengthen your sobriety. Examining your beliefs and counting your successes in recovery can help you stay motivated and focused on the amazing future in front of you.

Two key ways to develop a strong attitude of gratitude are self-reflection and acknowledging your accomplishments. Let’s take a closer look at how you can take these concepts and apply them to your everyday life.

An Attitude of Gratitude Starts With Self-Reflection

Healthy self-reflection involves not feeling sorry for yourself or reliving past hurts or laying blame.1 Rather, it’s objectively examining your beliefs, opinions and motivations, so that you’re better able to remove ideas that are harmful to you. It also means replacing harmful perspectives with positive ones, such as gratitude.

If you’re grateful to be sober, it is less likely you’ll relapse back into active addiction. That’s because you’ll be motivated to do what you need to do in order to prioritize and protect your sobriety. Taking your recovery for granted can begin a slide toward relapse.

A grateful attitude will give you the means to calmly face the challenges that confront you in recovery. You’ll view problems as a chance to grow. Dealing with problems with honest self-reflection and gratitude leads you toward the ultimate goals of recovery: peace and fulfillment.

Acknowledging Your Accomplishments

  • Take the time to acknowledge the accomplishments you’ve made in recovery. Every day of sobriety is a victory for you and the ones who love you.
  • Acknowledging your accomplishments allows you to pause, reflect and take time to enjoy and be proud of what you’ve accomplished and how your life is better as a result.
  • Focus on the positive emotional and physical health benefits you’ve gained by being sober.
  • Remember that every day that you remain abstinent is another step toward a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Start a Gratitude Journal

An excellent way to develop a strong attitude of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal.2 Write down the things you’re grateful for, no matter how small they seem. Write down five things you’ve experienced in the past week for which you’re grateful. Keep it simple and short; one sentence each will do. As you review your growing list, you’re encouraging yourself to pay attention to the good things in life that you may have taken for granted otherwise.

Practice Creates Progress

Learning an attitude of gratitude is a skill requiring practice and patience. You’ll have times where progress looks great and other days you may feel like you’re losing ground, but don’t give up. Persist at cultivating a grateful attitude despite the “bad days.” You’ll definitely see progress over time.