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5 Things To Write in Your Gratitude List in Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Table of Contents

Man filling gratitude journal

It is common for people who have only recently begun addiction treatment to report being on a “pink cloud.” This phrase refers to the experience of feeling that life is wonderful and that becoming sober has solved all of life’s difficulties. While not everyone experiences this pink cloud, the vast majority of people who do experience it are quickly disillusioned. 

Fairly quickly, the realities of life make themselves apparent. Sometimes life’s realities, in fact, appear harsher in the clear light of a sober day — when substance abuse is no longer capable of shrouding problems. After a few years, even recovering addicts who are living fairly happy and stable lives often eventually begin to take for granted their hard-won sobriety.

For these reasons, it is important to practice gratitude. For some, this might mean writing a daily gratitude list on paper or maintaining a sobriety gratitude journal. For others, it can be a simple matter of merely paying attention to the positive aspects of life. Whatever your approach to practicing gratitude, here are 5 things things to write in your AA gratitude list during sobriety which any recovering addict most likely feels grateful for.

Things To Write In Your Gratitude List AA

Closer Relationships with Friends and Family

For many addicts, drug addiction is both the cause and the result of social problems. Substance abuse can cause addicts to isolate from others so that they can focus on obtaining their next fix. It also sometimes causes conflicts. 

Because alcohol and other substances affect the brain’s ability to regulate mood and impulse control, addicts have a tendency to lash out at the people around them. Often these are close friends and family who are only trying to help. Sadly, as these behaviors push loved ones away, loneliness can further drive the addict to use their substance of choice.

Getting sober gives alcoholics and addicts a chance to repair some of these important relationships. It also opens up new avenues to alcoholics whose social worlds might have been limited to their local bar. The recovery community is a great resource for companionship and fun times. By getting involved in a 12-step group, a recovering alcoholic not only strengthens their sobriety but also gets to meet new friends.

Improved Mental Health

Drug and alcohol addiction is a mental health disorder that goes by the name of substance use disorder. Finding oneself unable to stop using a substance despite wanting to quit can be deeply demoralizing. For this reason, substance use disorder is often accompanied by other mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. Mental health experts refer to this as comorbidity. 

These cases are difficult for a number of reasons. Addicts might find it nearly impossible to treat their depression or anxiety without first quitting alcohol. Thus, when they finally do get sober and begin to treat their other underlying mental health problems, they might experience the first relief they’ve ever felt in their lives.

Better Career Opportunities

It’s a cliché at this point that addicts find it difficult to hold down a job. Violent outbursts, sleeping in, unpredictable behavior — all of these make it difficult to remain employed. But even for addicts who do successfully keep their employment, it is doubtful that many of them excelled very much.

 Chances are, these more “successful” addict employees are merely holding on to their jobs by the skin of their teeth. In sobriety, with more energy and focus, promotions and salary increases might finally be within reach. Many recovering addicts also find that they look at their careers with fresh eyes. It is possible that in the early period of recovery you’ll find that you want to begin a new career entirely — and you’ll actually be able to do it!

Legal and Financial Freedom

Crimes committed in a drug-addled haze land many addicts in prison. In fact, half of all inmates meet the criteria for substance use disorder. Some find themselves in the tragic position of losing custody of a child. Others might find that they owe thousands of dollars because of poor spending habits.

 It’s hard to follow a budget while blacked out… Sobriety gives recovering addicts the chance to clean up after these mistakes. As debt and legal problems slowly evaporate, many also discover that it is also far easier to save money when they’re not going out every night to buy a six-pack.

You Can Do Things That Actually Make You Feel Good

By flooding the brain with endorphins, rugs and alcohol provide such a powerful thrill to addicts that most other activities pale in comparison. Sobriety is not boring. In fact, it’s time to rediscover old hobbies and discover entirely new ones. Whether it’s sitting down at home and relaxing with a book or playing a game of pickup basketball with friends, you’ll probably end up feeling better than you ever did while using.

What To Do If You’re Considering Sobriety

If most of these things described above sound like a dream or fantasy, chances are you probably would benefit by seeking help for an addiction problem. Recovery residences like Design for Recovery can simplify that process. 

Design for Recovery, a sober living with a proven track record of getting young men sober, will not only help you gain the tools you need to stay sober, it’ll also help you rebuild your life from the ground up. And you’ll be able to do all of that while living and sharing laughter with other recovering alcoholics. Check out some of Design for Recovery’s testimonials and reach out today!


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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