For many, the holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family and friends, but for those in recovery, the holidays can be a bit painful and overwhelming, risking a relapse.
Regardless of how pretty and peaceful our streets look, end-of-the-year stress catches up with everyone.
That’s when Gratitude steps in – a practice that’s helpful all year long, especially during the holidays.
Making a little extra effort towards being grateful could help in maintaining positive emotional and spiritual health.
For instance, keeping a gratitude journal or a gratitude list goes a long way – they sound cliché but do help.
1) The Gratitude Cap
In order to wear this cap, we need to understand why the feeling of gratitude is important. You most likely learned about gratitude while in treatment.
Your therapist may have mentioned how selfishness and addiction usually coincide. An individual who is struggling with a substance use disorder often has the mindset of “me against the world.”
Mindfulness helps break this thinking pattern and enables you to focus on positivity and control.
Expressing gratitude while in recovery allows us to take control of our thoughts and actions.
Although we may not be able to control the world, we can control how we react to the world.
2) Your Perspective
Another year of “Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” might not be something you are particularly ecstatic about but hey!—Not everyone has this chance.
Simply taking the time to be thankful that you are around to experience another holiday season puts things into perspective. Every day you have another chance at life.
Not only are you in recovery, but also you were given the opportunity to spend time with family or friends, reconcile, and watch yet another sequel to “The Santa Clause” starring Tim Allen.
3) Gift Wrapping > Gift Unwrapping
It’s no secret that bringing a huge smile and receiving a tight hug from a loved one is greater than any joy. That feeling of being appreciated for the simple act of giving is unmatchable.
This small act of giving is a massive gratitude amplifier and can keep you moving positively for a longer time than you would expect.
4) Active Gratitude
Recovery is a gift that you have worked very hard to obtain. Make sure you continue to take time each day during this holiday season to focus on the positives in your recovery.
Be thankful for those individuals who have helped you during your recovery process: family, friends, therapists, social workers, and individuals you have met along the way; they all played an extraordinary role.
Make sure you are still attending community groups, therapy sessions, or meetings during the holidays and try to reach out to others who may be in need.
Time and energy spent in the service of others is time and energy well spent indeed. Volunteering is a great way to express gratitude for where you are in your recovery.
Whether it is volunteering at a homeless shelter, helping others along their recovery journey, or serving those in your community, the opportunities to volunteer are everywhere, especially during the holiday season.
By engaging in service to others, you will find a new appreciation for your life, for others and yourself.
Well, after all, a wise man once said “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha
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