How and Why to Write a Gratitude List

Gratitude is an action of appreciation for what one has and has done. One thing I learned pretty early on in recovery is to be grateful. Life without drugs can feel overwhelming at times and I was told to focus on what I have gained in recovery no matter how small or large the list.

In addiction, I was self obsessed and in recovery, it’s still is all about me! This is something I can work on now that my head is more clear and that the hunt for drugs is removed. This is learning about humility and support.

When feeling down, upset, feel like nothing is going right, etc, this is a good time to write a gratitude list. It elevates attitude and mood. It starts to show blessings that we all have in one way or another. We just have to look good to see them.

An Attitude of Gratitude is heard in the rooms often. Just waking up and not having to worry about getting drugs is a huge blessing to be grateful for. It is not just about material things. Peace, contentment and serenity are the desired outcomes. Peace at any level is nice.

Why a Gratitude List?

Addiction is a world of chaos, drama, and turmoil. Addicts perceptions and rationalizations become distorted. The focus is on the misery of our lives in addiction. If an addict lives with this kind of thinking for very long, it leads back to what is known best to cope, drugs.

In early recovery, it is easy to focus on all the difficulties and challenges that are associated with being clean. Therefore, a gratitude list is a perfect tool to switch thinking to a positive and hopeful state of mind, Being grateful usually means being positive about the future and content with the here and now.

Gratitude reminds us of the good that is happening in our lives. The good people and the good changes that are in our lives right now. It reminds us of the simple things in life that we take for granted even on a daily basis. We do not have to wait until November (Thanksgiving) to be grateful for our lives. Life…. we can be grateful for being alive today.

A grateful person can be more optimistic, think more clearly and overall experience less stress than someone focused on all the negative happening around them. Being grateful helps me rest better at night and not feel as anxious or agitated.

How to Quiet Your Mind

It is hard to concentrate on gratitude when you are in the middle of chaos and drama. Is your mind is occupied with things that went on in the past or coming up in the future? Are you feeling afraid, angry, nervous? Take a few breaths. Get away from the chaos and somewhere quiet. Begin to let the fears, frustrations, and anxiety leave you so you can be present in the here and now. Now you can begin to think about all that is good in your life at the moment.

How Do We Get Started

I suggest using one document form for all gratitude lists. Some prefer a notebook, journal, or on phone or computer. Wherever, it should feel special and easily accessible. Here are a few that are available on Amazon that are a great price.

The top 2 journals have questions and pages to answer where the last one is blank lined paper only.

A gratitude list does not have to be some formal event. Once comfortable quieting the mind, a mental gratitude list could be helpful as well. We focus on the present. The here and now.

If you are struggling of coming up with anything, start with waking up that morning or take a breath and be grateful your lungs were able to breathe it in. Sometimes this is all we can do. In early recovery, our brains are fogged and being grateful is so foreign to us,

Writing the List

There are different ways to write the list. Some like to write their gratitude by the different hats they wear. Gratitude as a mom, as an employee, employer, etc. This narrows the focus of being positive in the different roles we play in today’s world.
Another way is to expand on the gratitude in paragraph form. Doing a good deed for someone can really show some areas to be grateful for. Writing about our experiences with helping those that cannot help their selves can be a story of gratitude.

A gratitude list gets easier to write the longer we learn how to live without the use of drugs. We begin to look around and see all the beauty. We start to look at all the miracles happening in our lives and those lives around us. A higher power’s love becomes part of our lives and springs more things to be grateful for. We begin to appreciate the small things and start to begin our day being positive and kind. This can change the mood of the whole day.

In Conclusion

So, gratitude does not have to be foreign. Learning to be positive and to reach out helping others helps take the focus off of what is going on in our lives that we cannot change. It reminds us of the good that is going on in the world around us.

A Gratitude List is an easy way to help put perspective on one’s current life. It may be difficult at first, but as time goes, gratitude with become more natural. From waking up until going to bed, having an attitude of gratitude is priceless. Staying clean we also start to be of service and help others showing that we are blessed beyond measure and life will work out just as it should.

If you are new, start with being grateful for the ability to read this post. Grateful you woke up this morning. Grateful that this is the start of a great journey, one day at a time.

Blessings to You All


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