It’s that time of year again. Turkey. Family. Gifts. Ringing in the New Year. But if you’re dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, the holidays can add insult to injury. Bells aren’t ringing; treats feel like tricks; and gift boxes hold empty promises. At times, you may feel that there is no hope, because that’s what addiction does. You feel isolated and desperate. You need a strategy that can help you get through those initial cravings in early recovery and support your long-term sobriety. The road to addiction recovery can be far less frightening when gratitude replaces attitude.

The Science of Gratitude

The concept of gratitude is not just some naïve, do-gooder’s idea to make those affected by alcohol and drug addiction feel better about themselves. It is a proven technique that can help you at every stage of addiction recovery – from early recovery to maintaining sobriety for the long run.

The whole idea of leveraging gratitude for addiction recovery is one of the cornerstones of “Positive Psychology,” often attributed to Martin Seligman and his colleagues, whose studies focused on gratitude, optimism, forgiveness, happiness, compassion and altruism (the selfless concern for the welfare of others). More recently, studies have revealed that gratitude is one of the best pathways to better mental health (like higher self-esteem) physical health (higher energy and sounder sleep) and improved relationships.

Your “Getting-to-Grateful” Daily Checklist

There are many simple gratitude activities that you can do to train your brain to go from having an attitude to achieving gratitude. It’s like muscle memory for the mind. If you practice gratitude daily, then it’s easier to acknowledge the positive without a second thought even when times get tough.  These gratitude activities include:

  • Keep a journal and be committed to entering some gratitude.
  • Relax, breathe deep and think about what you’re grateful for.
  • Say thank you to friends, family and anyone who helps you.
  • Spend time thinking about your day’s positive experiences.
  • Write a letter (not an email!) of thanks to someone who’s helped you, and deliver it to him or her in person.
  • Picture yourself smiling, happy and loved.
  • And…this is really important, write down what you like about yourself!

Be Grateful for Family: FREE Family Night Support

If you or someone you love is battling alcohol or drug addiction, we encourage you to join us for Family Night on December 8th (usually held the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month, except holidays). We find that people leave with a greater understanding of the journey of addiction recovery and the comfort of a support group.

We also include Family Services in our treatment program as part of our commitment to healing the family. For more information about Family Night, please contact us at 954.556.7441 or