top of page

If you want to be happy? Be grateful!

Updated: Jan 27

If you ant to be happy, be Grateful

It is said in some 12-step literature that the addict who is grateful will not relapse. For an addict like myself, unfortunately, this is something that did not surface overnight.

Gratitude is a muscle that develops with practice and let's just be honest, like going to the gym and living a healthy lifestyle, most of us would rather stay home and practice extending our arm to reach the remote. Netflix and chill have become the “go-to”, we spend countless hours on the interweb in search of something to numb the mind.

In recovery cultivating an attitude of gratitude takes practice and yes tons of perseverance, and maybe the willingness to snap out of that self-entitled world and everyone in it owes me stinking thinking.

Being grateful for the little things in life may seem self-explanatory for most, but as addicts, we tend to overlook them regularly. For me, as an addict, this was and sometimes still is a difficult concept to grasp.

I have learned however that gratitude requires no recipient. I can be grateful for my health, the weather, accomplishments, hell I can be grateful for small comforts such as chocolate-covered cookies from Shoprite, the worn shoes on my feet, even the fact that I’m 1253 days free from addiction today.

The appreciation for the smallest of things no matter how irrelevant it may seem is what gives potency to the rewards of living a life being grateful for everything.

If you're happy and you know it...

The more grateful I feel, the more useful I am. My primary purpose is to carry the message of hope that we do recover from the still-suffering addict. Being grateful for being alive and able to share my hope, strength and experience empowers me to keep moving forward and protect my sobriety. An integral part of me being happy and building a solid foundation on which to achieve success in my recovery is being aware of, and taking the time to appreciate the small blessings that I experience each day.

But wait, there is more. I also need to be very very careful of the calling card of my inner addict, resentment.

Resentment is the umbrella term under which fall anger, ill will, grudge-holding, un-forgiveness, spite, bitterness, grievance, and hostility. Resistance in my case.

A popular saying in 12-step programs is “Holding onto a resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” I hate it when someone says that, but it’s true, and I can say that because I still find myself sipping from that cup. I do so both willingly and unconsciously because not only am I human, I have the disease of addiction, I struggle with depression, co-dependence and all the other vices depending on how often I practise the attitude of gratitude.

Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die

Look, addict or not, everyone has resentments. Somewhere hidden in the depths of being a fallible human being all of us have that little black book where we keep score. Unfortunately, keeping score is exhausting and at some point, most people get stuck in keeping up to date with all the misfortune handed to them daily.

Sure, maybe I get to tell a good story with myself as the victim but that story prevents me from healing and I will keep living crippled by this injury until I step up, own my part played and accept that life happens, people disappoint, and love hurts.

AA recognizes that resentment is toxic to our inner lives. Plainly stated in the Big Book: "Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else."

I believe that gratitude and humility are the antidote to the poison I so willingly administer to myself. It ultimately starts with me. I need to change the way I perceive the world, and by being grateful I can allow myself to turn the suckage of life into an opportunity to grow.

I need to change the way I perceive the world

My suckage in life can be faced with grace, dignity and faith. Gratitude is the catalyst for humility, truth and hope.

Gratitude is humbling. Sometimes eating a bit of humble pie allows me to see the truth of any situation. With self-centeredness being the very core of my disease gratitude allows for constructive, unselfish behaviour.

Gratitude is a vehicle to diffuse self-pity and prompt mindful awareness of that which is beyond my SELF—of belonging to a greater whole, and of connection to others, as well as to the world.

Numerous scientific studies have documented a wide range of benefits that come with gratitude.

Here are some of the many benefits of gratitude:

  • Gratitude Boosts Physical Health.

  • Gratitude Facilitates Happiness.

  • Gratitude Strengthens Relationships.

  • Gratitude Enhances Sleep.

  • Gratitude Encourages Service.

5 Benefits from Cultivating Gratitude in Recovery Infographic

Practising the attitude of gratitude is one of the most reliable methods for increasing contentment. Feelings of optimism, joy, pleasure, enthusiasm and other positive emotions are of cardinal importance in the life of a recovering addict, and if I want to experience any of these – I need to be grateful that the universe made things uncomfortable for me to move out of my comfort zone and the imagined safety the drugs and the lifestyle offered me in active addiction.

Gratitude is a muscle that develops with practice

In closing…pay it forward “We can only keep what we have by giving it away”, work your ass off to abandon your ingrained self of selfishness, and do simple things for others, regardless of getting any rewards from it, list 3 things every day to be grateful for and remember that gratitude is more than just a simple please and thank you…Gratitude is shown NOT spoken.


In this heartfelt exploration, we share the profound impact of gratitude on addiction recovery. Gratitude, likened to a muscle, requires practice and perseverance. Onthene reflects on the importance of being thankful for small blessings, acknowledging its role in personal empowerment and sobriety. The narrative delves into the dangerous territory of resentment and how it poisons inner lives. The article emphasizes that gratitude and humility act as antidotes, fostering constructive behaviour and awareness beyond oneself. Scientifically supported benefits of gratitude are highlighted, including improved physical health and strengthened relationships. Onthene concludes by advocating for the transformative power of gratitude in recovery and encourages readers to pay it forward.

The Power of Gratitude

The blog emphasizes the transformative impact of gratitude, especially for individuals recovering from addiction. Gratitude is likened to a muscle that requires practice and perseverance to develop. As addicts, cultivating gratitude involves breaking free from a self-entitled mindset and appreciating the smaller aspects of life.

Gratitude Requires No Recipient

Contribution to Others and Personal Happiness

The Dangers of Resentment

Gratitude and Humility as Antidotes:

Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude:

In summary, the blog underscores the profound impact of gratitude on the recovery process, encouraging individuals to practice gratitude as a means of personal growth, happiness, and healing. The article provides a holistic view of the significance of gratitude, acknowledging its challenges while emphasizing its transformative power in the recovery journey.



bottom of page