It is often heard in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous that “a grateful alcoholic will never drink” and in the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous that “a grateful addict will never use.” Now, while that isn’t a very scientific statement it does seem to hold a good bit of truth. Many people over the years have looked into the benefits of practicing gratitude. People that are grateful or thankful more often than not have a healthier outlook on light, view things more positively, express more love, compassion and kindness and even generally “feel” better. There is even some studies that state gratitude is cause for stronger immune systems. Alternatively, people that don’t express regular gratitude seem to be more angry, resentful, see themselves as victims, typically view situations from negative stances, naturally feel the world is unfair and generally have a more self-centered view of the world.
It is interesting, that last point. Self-centeredness. The 12 Step fellowships view addiction and alcoholism as an illness that derives from self-centeredness. So clearly gratitude and thankfulness would be the antithesis of a self-centered attitude. For those in the medical and scientific community that view addiction and alcoholism as a brain disease or behavioral issue stemming from a person’s reward system in the brain and influenced by a person’s environment, self-centeredness is still a root issue. Therefore, while simply an attitude adjustment wouldn’t solve a person’s addiction or alcoholism, treatment that would change a person’s view or outlook from one of self-centeredness to gratefulness certainly would aid in overcoming the disease of addiction.
Maintaining a Thanksgiving Attitude
Clearly, simply being grateful is not enough to take someone from addiction to recovery. However, the addiction treatment that can aid an addict from a self-centered, selfish attitude to an attitude of positivity and thankfulness is incredibly important to bring about addiction recovery. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, everyone loves to jump on the “What I am thankful for” bandwagon. In the current environment of immediate gratification and “Me me me” society, many people don’t have time to step back and reflect, to take time to see how they can give rather than take or receive, to take a look at the good rather than the bad, to truly be grateful. However, for addicts and alcoholics, an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness cannot only take place on Thanksgiving or around the holidays. This is an attitude that must be cultivated every day, year round, to ensure against the self-centered nature of addiction and alcoholism. For addicts and alcoholics, everyday has to be Thanksgiving.
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