Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 900-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 30th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Friday, October 9, 2015

More about Gratitude

Often in 12-step meetings the topic is gratitude. In fact it happens so often that it seems almost cliche. Sometimes my response is "Oh no, not again."

Yet we alcoholics may have known all along something that science now confirms. And that's that practicing gratitude changes the wiring in our brains. Plus it floods our brain with serotonin and dopamine. Both of which are feel-good chemicals that give a sense of well-being.

But sometimes we addicts believe we have nothing to feel good about. Maybe we're living in a halfway house. Perhaps our family is pissed at us. We may have health problems because of our drug use. No job. The list can be lengthy.

And when I talk to those who feel that way I ask them to find gratitude. And they can do this by looking around at others who have real challenges.

We can look around us, near or far, and see many who would love to change places with us. Those in war zones. In hospitals or nursing homes. Those who never had the advantages we had while growing up. Watching the news can help us be grateful.

If we just look beyond the self-made suffering in our heads we can find others in the world who have real issues.