A Grateful Addict Will Never Use

A Grateful Addict Will Never Use

The Amazing Power of Appreciation in Recovery From Addiction

During my active addiction, I rarely felt gratitude for anything. I lived a very selfish life. I was an addict for almost two decades, and everything revolved around me and my ability and desire to get high. My drug addiction made me a miserable, self-involved individual. My life revolved around my substance abuse, and I slowly lost every positive influence that I had.

For recovering addicts, the idea of gratitude cannot be understated. The sentiment often shared at meetings is something I take to heart: “A grateful addict will never use.” Sobriety, like addiction, also centers around your attitude. If you have a bad attitude and are constantly cycling through negative thoughts, you probably aren’t going to find lasting recovery.

Becoming sober is just as much about reshaping you’re thinking as it is about not using drugs or alcohol. This is the first lesson I learned at Icarus in Nevada.

I hope you keep reading my story and can relate to some of the struggles I went through, and the gratitude I continue to have for getting sober. And if you or your friends or someone you love is still ‘going through it,’ I found a great foundation at Icarus Nevada, and if you have the chance to attend, I bet you can too!

Being Angry at the World is Fertile Ground for Addiction

Being Angry - Fertile Ground for Addiction

I spent most of my life being angry at the world. Angry at my situation, and just generally feeling angry at everybody. I grew up in foster care and had a generally rough upbringing. There were long periods of my life where I bounced around and didn’t seem to have any upward trajectory. I began using drugs at a young age, and it was the only thing that gave me any comfort at all.

Growing up like this creates a perfect storm for an addict. It’s very easy to fall into addiction if you are resentful your entire life. Staying clean never lasted long. I would try to get clean at different points, but my frustration and negative thought patterns always led to relapse. When you live your life in this mindset, it can be very difficult to get out of. Changing your attitude takes a lot of work.

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Substance Abuse as a Coping Mechanism

I never learned how to properly deal with my emotions. I was never given the option of therapy growing up. I grew up assuming that you are the way you are and there’s no changing it. This is probably because of the people in my life. Almost every person from my past lived with that kind of attitude in their own lives too.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t ever think about self-help. Some people just don’t want to put in the work to change. I definitely can understand and empathize, since that was me for a very long time.

My addiction was a coping mechanism. With nothing to look forward to in life, drugs gave me an escape. The only time I ever felt happiness growing up was when I used drugs or alcohol. I only ever felt thankful after a successful drug deal. Once the drugs wore off, those negative feelings would flood back in. When you are stuck in this process, imagine that it takes such a major event for you to think about fixing your situation!

What It Takes to Get Clean

I suffered a near-fatal opiate overdose and woke up in the hospital a day later. Being faced with my mortality changed something within me. I still felt anger and resentment, but I was grateful to be alive. It was the first time I ever felt grateful for being alive. When you are faced with your mortality, it leads you to have some deep thoughts. You begin to look at yourself and see a lot of things that you may not like.

When I finally decided to give addiction recovery a chance, I was at a point where I was willing to give myself to it entirely. I knew that to get on the right path, would require some serious life changes. When I eventually got to Icarus, I learned very early on that gratitude is key if you want to stay clean. It was not part of my life before, but it certainly has become central to each day now!

Succeeding In Addiction Recovery

Succeeding In Addiction Recovery

I heard a lot during inpatient rehab at Icarus about the idea of being a grateful addict. Life works in interesting ways. As complicated as daily life can be, many things can help you shift your attitude. It’s the little things that go a long way. Waking up and just being aware and appreciative of being given another day is enough to set you up for success. I started applying all the lessons I learned in rehab and saw them all working in real-time. It was surreal.

No matter where you are in life or recovery, it’s easy to forget what you have. A lot of addicts never find sobriety. If you are an addict who has had any extended period of sobriety, that is enough to be very happy and thankful for. Reminding yourself of what you have and just the fact that you are alive and breathing is ultra important to the recovery process. The adage that ‘a grateful addict will never use’ can be 100% true, but it is also self-perpetuating. It requires a daily fuel of gratitude but can certainly burn bright enough to firmly deter relapse if kept kindled each day!

Overcoming Drug Addiction with a Ton of Support

I didn’t know how to be grateful or act positive until I began forcing myself. It sounds weird, but there’s something to it that works. When I was in rehab at Icarus in Nevada, I was encouraged to take a moment every day to write down what I am thankful for. At first, my answers looked the same every day. “I am thankful that I am alive.” After writing this over and over again, I began to think of other things I was thankful for.

I am thankful for the supportive people at Icarus. Thankful for my health. Thankful for all the different foods I enjoy. All these little things add up. When you begin to focus and be mindful of thankfulness and gratitude, it works wonders in recovery. As I began to get more sober time under my belt, I found more and more things to be thankful for.

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A Grateful Addict Will Never Use: Maintaining A Positive Outlook

You have to be active in recovery to make it work. There are times when my old ways of thinking creep back in, but I am mindful of it. I know when I am slipping back into my old thinking and I try very hard to avoid letting it snowball. It’s okay to feel angry or upset sometimes. It’s warranted in a lot of situations. The trick is not to let it overtake and control you. Thinking positively goes so much further than thinking negatively.

The most relevant thing I learned in recovery is the idea of justified anger. We all feel like our anger is justified sometimes. We think we have a good reason to be angry. This often blinds us and makes us forget that anger can be a drug that we abuse. Whether or not we have justified reasons for anger, fear, and resentment, holding on to them and pursuing self-destruction does not lead to much success.

Reaching Out to Icarus in Nevada if You Need Support Too

Reaching Out to Icarus Nevada for Addiction Support

I have the tools these days to know when I am slipping into negative thinking, and I realize and am usually able to catch myself. This wouldn’t have been the case when I was an active addict. Because of my time at Icarus, I now have the tools to catch myself before I fall.

If any part of my early story sounds familiar, and you have yet to find a treatment center that can help with a really solid foundation for recovery, give yourself a chance. Reach out to the people at Icarus in Vegas. I know that call is one that I look back on with a ton of gratitude – it helped change my life.

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