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How Can Thankfulness Help in Recovery?
By now you might be tired of all the talk of thankfulness that is going on around you. People are sending Thanksgiving cards, posting thankfulness messages on social media, and highlighting Thanksgiving stories on television. If you are in drug or alcohol rehab, chances are you’ve been hearing about thankfulness there as well.
There is so much focus on being thankful right now of course because it is November, the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving. However, being thankful is beneficial to your mind, body, and spirit all year, not just one week or one day that is set aside on the calendar. This year, learn how thankfulness can help in your recovery and work to incorporate this attitude into your everyday life, and you will experience the benefits firsthand.
Thankfulness helps with healing. Research shows that a positive attitude actually helps facilitate physical healing. A study that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at patients who were undergoing a medical procedure. “In each case the better a patient’s expectations about how they would do after surgery or some health procedure, the better they did,” said author Donald Cole, of the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto. Thankfulness is directly related to a positive attitude. If you are thankful for what you have, you are more likely to be content, and therefore, have a more positive outlook on your life. This, in turn, will actually help your mind and body heal more quickly and more completely. You will be less likely to worry, which can take a toll on your physical and mental health.
A thankful attitude makes you easier to work with. Recovery is definitely a struggle, but if you have a positive attitude and a thankful heart toward those who are giving their time and energy to help you, it will make you a better patient. Of course, your treatment team members are trained to work with all sorts of people and to treat everyone with respect and dignity, but you will definitely make others’ lives easier if you are truly thankful for the assistance these individuals are giving you. It will break down barriers to communication and will therefore help you get the most out of your treatment sessions.
Thankfulness helps your family be more positive. Likewise, life will be easier and more enjoyable for your family and loved ones if you demonstrate a thankful attitude. If you complain and carry on about how you don’t want to be in treatment and your life is so tough, your loved ones will be negatively affected. But if you acknowledge that you have a problem and are thankful for the opportunity to get help, your loved ones will be able to rest a little more easily, knowing you are where you should be.
Being thankful keeps you from relapse. If you have been a self-medicater, it is especially important for you to infuse a bit of thankfulness into your life. Many people who abuse drugs and alcohol start out by self-medicating because they aren’t happy with something in their life. Either they are experiencing unwanted pain or they are discontent with their life in some other way, so they take matters into their own hands to try to make things better. If you are able to appreciate all the good things in life and see the positive instead of just the negative, you will lessen your need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. This will help reduce the risk of relapse once you’ve been through rehab.
A thankful attitude is a blessing to others. You never know what people around you can benefit from your positive attitude. It might be someone else who is struggling in rehab. It might be a family member or friend. It might be treatment staff. Or, it might be a complete stranger. If you go out of your way to be positive, to be thankful for other things and people in your life, you will impact those around you in a good way. Thankfulness leads to words of kindness, acts of love, sharing others’ burdens, and an overall sense of calm. Work to incorporate this characteristic into your everyday life so that God can bless others through you.
How to Be More Thankful
Thankfulness does not come naturally to everyone, and all of us struggle with it at times. There are ways you can work to improve your attitude, however. Try making a list of all the good things in your life and things you have to be thankful for. Don’t just think of material possessions or personal achievements because these vary so much from person to person. You can be thankful for loved ones, for the opportunities you have been given, and even for the hope of a sober life through Christian rehab. Think of the support system you have, your spiritual leaders, and fellow Christians who are praying for you and are willing to help in any way they can. Most importantly, be thankful for your Savior’s love which causes Him to forgive all your wrongs and call you His child. God has a plan for your life, and even during the darkest times when you feel far away from Him, God is with you and loves you. That’s something you can be thankful for.