The great English writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
Wow! What a reminder! There’s no doubt that one should give thanks more often. Time is set aside for being grateful at mealtimes, Sunday mornings, and Thanksgiving. But a person in recovery from addiction should not let an hour go by without giving thanks . . . for work, school, kids, health, spouse, friends, blessings, and even challenges.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT) says, “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
When a person in recovery has a God-awareness about life and sense Him working in their life—both in the important things and the trivial things—it’s hard not to be thankful. A grateful heart finds the countless blessings of God, even in the mundane.
Practicing gratitude may seem easy to some but daunting to others. For most people, their brains have been wired and become accustomed to thinking one way—often negative. This can be especially true for those in recovery.
Those with addiction issues sometimes have maladjusted ways of thinking, which become habits. These thoughts, as mentioned, can tend to be negative. But negative thoughts will never lead to a positive life. Being grateful, though, can do the opposite. It can rewire the brain and improve one’s overall mental and physical well-being.
Becoming grateful is as simple as building a new way of thinking. This can be accomplished through some simple practices. And just as with any other habit, gratitude can become a part of everyday life.
To be more grateful in recovery, you can:
- Write in a gratitude journal.
- Keep a gratitude jar.
- Write prayers out.
- Send thank-you notes.
- Share your story in a Life Recovery Group.
Take time to thank God and be grateful every day. Be thankful for the victories, whether small or big. By remembering what God has done in the past and is doing in the present, it will give you strength to overcome struggles in the future.
By Steve Arterburn