How Gratitude Can Shift Your Perspective in Recovery

How Gratitude Can Shift Your Perspective in Recovery

Have you heard the phrase, "perspective is everything"? There is some truth to this. Do you ever find yourself having a terrible day where nothing seems to be going your way? Sometimes, if you take a moment to focus on what has gone right, you may realize that your day hasn't been so bad after all.

For example, let's say you are rushing out the door to work and spill your coffee. On the drive in, you realize you forgot your lunch. You arrive to work and open your email to find a never-ending list of things to add to your to-do list for the day, which is way more than a day's worth of work.

You may feel a bit tense, overwhelmed, and negative at this point. Instead of focusing on the spilled coffee, forgotten lunch, and busy day ahead, focus on what you have going for you instead. For one, you have a job. Many are seeking employment and would love to be in your shoes. Secondly, you have money to afford that lovely coffee maker and the ingredients to make a cup of coffee daily. Lastly, consider your forgotten lunch an opportunity to grab tacos from the food truck down the street with colleagues. See, it is all about perspective. When you focus on the positive and the things you do have, your whole experience can change.

Addiction has a way of stripping you of the joy and happiness in life. You may forget what it is like to appreciate the things and people around you as your focus becomes very narrow. As you enter treatment and begin recovery, it is essential to recognize all the good that awaits.

Sure, you could choose to focus on the years wasted spent chasing the next high. You can dwell on the mistakes you've made or the money and friends you lost due to your addiction. Or, you could choose to be grateful for the opportunity you now have to rebuild relationships, gain new skills, and restore your health.

The Value of Gratitude in Recovery

There is so much to be grateful for in recovery. For one, you are still alive. Substance abuse comes with huge risks, and some may not be so fortunate. You are giving yourself a second chance at life by choosing to get treatment. Is there a greater gift?

Recovery also brings new opportunities to build and rebuild relationships with those you love and care about. Addiction often creates barriers and tension. Part of the treatment and recovery process involves mending relationships and working to form healthy connections with others.

Once you have left the drugs and alcohol behind, you have an opportunity to discover who you are without them. This is a time for trying new hobbies and activities and finding out what really makes you happy from within. At Enlightened Solutions, we introduce clients to many different activities to promote healing, a sense of community, and skill-building.

Shifting Your Perspective

Despite all of the things you have to be grateful for in recovery, it can still be challenging to remain positive all of the time. You are bound to have good days and bad days. On bad days, it is important to make every effort to focus your thoughts and energy on the good. This involves shifting your perspective by expressing gratitude.

Go to Therapy

Talking to someone, perhaps through therapy, about what is bothering you can be very helpful. Sometimes, sharing your thoughts with someone else can ease the stress or pain a bit and help you come to terms with the gravity of the issue. Often, what weighs us down, isn't quite as heavy as it feels in the moment.

Practice Meditation

Taking a moment to meditate or sit with your thoughts can help you process and work through negative thoughts or feelings. Outside distractions can be overwhelming and make us feel less equipped to handle challenges that may come our way.

Journal It Out

Journaling is an excellent strategy for shifting perspective. Sometimes, writing down what we have to be grateful for can help us realize just how fortunate we are. It can be easy to dwell on the negatives. Writing down the positives can help balance out the bad.

Give Back

Giving back has a way of benefitting the giver more than the recipient. Often, when we give back to our community, we have the opportunity to see just how fortunate we are. Not to mention, giving back offers a sense of purpose.

Finding and expressing gratitude can make even the worst days feel a little brighter. Next time you are having a bad day, consider what you have to be thankful for and direct your focus on the good.

Perspective really is everything. You can choose to focus on the negative things in your life, or you can choose to focus on the positive. Considering everything you have to be grateful for when things get tough is a great way to shift your perspective. In recovery, it is important to stay positive and motivated. Considering recovery as a second chance at life to become a better version of yourself is a good place to start. Enlightened Solutions helps clients recognize the potential they have in recovery and introduces a variety of activities to promote healing and happiness. We provide opportunities to give back to the community and encourage clients to participate in many public events throughout the year. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we would love to help. Call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE


Why We Get Attracted to Fear

Recklessness is a word that could be used to describe addiction. Under the influence of powerful drugs and/or alcohol, drug addicts and alcoholics make reckless decisions. Even if one isn’t addicted to substances, when they are under the influence they live on the edge. For example, people choose to drive drunk. Some substances cause euphoria in such a way that it makes people feel invincible. Under the influence of such drugs, people attempt all kinds of reckless acts. Even without the influence, addicts and alcoholics, or substance users alike, have a common characteristic of living dangerously. Listen to the stories of recovering addicts and alcoholics and be amazed by the death defying circumstances many have survived.

There are some who can’t seem to get away from such a lifestyle. As if the danger were part of the addiction itself, despite their previous brushes with death, they cannot get away. Using in and of itself is a game of russian roulette. Relapses weaken the body. Vulnerable to the potency of drugs after some time spent clean and sober, overdose is always a possibility. Yet, time after time, just like their drug, addicts return to the high of danger. They are attracted to the fear.

Why We Get Attracted to Fear

It turns out that the attraction to the “fear” associated with substance abuse is not so different from the attraction of substance abuse itself. More specifically, what makes substance abuse addicting also makes fear addicting. When we experience fear our bodies release different chemicals and hormones to compensate. Adrenaline is quite literally the body’s fight or flight response, the natural way of handling fear. Lesser well known for being produced in response to fear is dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain which is supposed to communicate pleasure. In the brain cycle of addiction, dopamine plays a very large role. The brain becomes addicted to, obsessed with, and dependent on excessive dopamine production.

For fear, much like with drugs and alcohol, some people don’t have a tolerance threshold. That is why some people can withstand haunted houses, scary movies, and thrill seeking while others jump at bumps in the night. Since dopamine is released, some actually enjoy the fear. In fact, the scarier the better.

Can fear be an addiction?

It is unlikely that the brain will develop an addiction to scary movies or corn mazes during Halloween. However, the brain can get addicted to receiving pleasure from dopamine production. Whatever it is that stimulates the brain in this way will become an obsession over time. Danger seeking behavior can be problematic in addiction recovery, acting almost like an addiction-swap.