Practices for Early Recovery: Gratitude and Acknowledgement
March 27, 2019
During the time of early recovery, we are in a growing phase where the way we look at and interact with the world is rapidly changing. We may hear things like this quote from Wayne Dyer, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”
How Do We Change the Way We Look at Things?
Some people say that addiction is a “disease of perception.” The way we interact with the world around us can often times be over-shadowed by our belief systems about ourselves and others. There are two very simple practices that if practiced regularly, can begin to change our perception from the inside out. Those practices are gratitude and acknowledgement.
There are hundreds of things we can find gratitude for at any given moment. But for many of us, we aren’t accustomed to finding those things, or looking for them. It is easy to get into the habit of looking at what’s wrong with the world around us. If we change the lens of our perception from judgement to gratitude, we find things to be grateful for that were there all along. You may consider starting by getting out a pen and paper and writing down all of the things you could be grateful for, right now. You might start with clean drinking water, food to eat, the ability to read. Write it all down. Then read over the list. Think about how often you actually acknowledge the gifts that are all around you. If you find that you often miss these small gifts, try to make it a daily practice to acknowledge three things you are grateful for. Notice what happens in your relationship with yourself, others and your Higher Power. If you don’t feel grateful when you start out, that’s okay. Just continue to bring this practice into your daily life and notice what happens!
Taking the gratitude practice one step further, we look at the practice of acknowledgement. How often are we in the practice of acknowledging ourselves? Instead of this acknowledgement, leaning too far one way or the other, we acknowledge our challenges and our successes. Starting the practice of daily acknowledgement allows us to see ourselves more clearly. Instead of always looking at what we’ve done wrong, or only looking at the things we’re good at, an acknowledgement practice invites us to look at both. It might be something like:
“I acknowledge that today was a hard day, I lost my temper at the post office. I also acknowledge myself for calling my recovery sponsor, asking for help, and attending a meeting. I acknowledge that change can be challenging and I’m showing up with honesty and willingness.”
Bringing Gratitude & Acknowledgement Together
By acknowledging the small, positive changes we are making every day, it helps change our beliefs about ourselves, recovery and the world around us. When we can honestly look at the areas where we can improve, acknowledge the things that we are doing well, we are naturally brought back to gratitude. The ability to see the little changes on a day-to-day basis is another thing to be grateful for. Over time, if we journal our gratitude and acknowledgement, we can see how much we have changed and grown. You may even find that you are doing better than you think you are, every single day!