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You hear a lot of talk these days about the power of gratitude. But research shows that being thankful actually does make us happier and more productive.
Two psychologists, Dr. Robert Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael McCullough of the University of Miami, led a study testing the effects of a grateful mindset. They found that those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the future.
When you’re in recovery, there’s so much to be thankful for.
Waking Up Sober
Being sober has its challenges, but the moment when you first wake up typically isn’t one of them. Do you remember how it used to be? Maybe you felt guilty or physically sick. Or maybe it was just the realization that you were in for another hard day of getting what you needed to feel OK.
Every morning you wake up sober, you have earned the right to feel proud, healthy—and grateful that you’re finally free.
Whatever your drug of choice was, you can bet that it was having a powerful effect on your health, including an increased risk of heart attack or stroke, liver damage, narcotic bowel syndrome and lung damage. You may also have been malnourished and were potentially increasing your risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Now, you can look to the future with hope, knowing that you’re taking care of your body. Everyday brings a new chance to get stronger, happier and healthier.
The Recovery Community
You’ve found an entire group of people who know you can do this—and are here to help you in any way they can. This includes counselors, 12 steppers, sponsors and new friends.
One study, also done by Emmons, found people could significantly increase their happiness for an entire month by taking the time to write a letter of gratitude to someone who had shown them a kindness in the past.
Who are you most thankful for? Your letter (or email) doesn’t have to be long or perfectly written. Just tell the person how they helped you—and thank them.
The Ability to Work
Plenty of people manage to hold a job while suffering from addiction, but it usually isn’t easy—and they’re probably not doing their best work.
Now, your future is in your hands. Nothing is stopping you from working hard and advancing your career. Nothing is stopping you from working hard and getting the degree you need to get the job you want.
You’ve Got Your Mind—and Your Life—Back
Addiction literally changes your brain and shrinks your world until all that is left is the drug or drink. You become a slave.
Now, everyday your world grows a little bigger. Think back to what your life was like a year ago. Could you have appreciated the beauty of a sunny fall day? What about that great feeling when you’re done with a good workout? How about museums or books?
Think back to what your last Thanksgiving was like when you were using—and be thankful that you’ve found a new path.
Things to Be Thankful for—a Fresh Start at The Raleigh House
If you’re still battling addiction, you need to realize that there is way to be sober—and happy. The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver where you’ll find the help you need to rebuild your life. Our team of experts will work with you to come up with a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs and ambitions. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.