Early Recovery Tips: Practicing Gratitude in Early Recovery

Early recovery is ROUGH. And finding ways to be grateful in early recovery is even rougher. Maybe these early recovery tips can help.

You could be facing enormous obstacles, losses, and catastrophic changes in your life. Maybe you lost your job, your family’s support or are struggling to find housing. Or maybe you are facing jail time, adjusting to living in sober housing or are in the hospital dealing with the physical consequences of your alcoholism or addiction.

Whether you are facing one or several of these hurdles in early recovery; finding ways to be grateful is crucial. The following are several time-tested and sober people approved ways to find and practice gratitude even when everything feels terrible:

Write in a gratitude journal.

Just look around! You are alive and you are sober. Even if the only two things you are grateful for everyday is being alive and sober then that is a great start. Often in early sobriety all you may have are little things to be grateful for; like clothes on your back and food to eat. The big and exciting things are yet to come so for now keep your gratitude list small and simple if you have to.

Write a text or a letter (even if you don’t send it!) to one person per day saying why you are grateful for them.

The people in your life including the new ones you have met along the way in your evolving recovery journey make up your support system. It is important to express your gratitude to them; not only to brighten their day but to remind yourself that there are people in your life who truly care about you. Building and expanding these relationships (+ the simple fact that these relationships exists!) is a huge thing to be grateful for.

Go for a nature walk or meditate.

Did you know walking counts as meditation? In fact, doing anything mindfully can be meditation. Sometimes the best way to clear your mind and focus on what really matters is to escape to the beauty of the natural world. As you walk think about the fact that you can walk, that you can breathe air in and out, that you can feel the earth beneath your feet…you are here; you are grounded and most importantly you are sober. What’s not to be grateful for?

Look for the red.

The final tip for finding gratitude in early recovery is to look for it! Look around where you are; name everything you can find that is red. How many things did you find? Try doing this with yellow. Isn’t it amazing how many things you can find if you are just looking? Try this with gratitude; in many situations there is an opportunity to look for gratitude. Opening up your mind to finding it is the first step.


Practicing gratitude isn’t something that comes naturally; especially in early recovery. But the more you practice it the easier it will become to live in gratitude. By doing just one of these activities per week will slowly put you on the right course for a long-lasting sobriety. There are so many things to be grateful for; but it’s up to you to find them.

To put these early recovery tips into practice and take the next step in finding purpose and gratitude in recovery contact a care coordinator today.


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