Conscious Recovery & the Power of Gratitude

Content reviewed by Gillian Bieler, LCSW, CSAT, Clinical Director at ARC

Addiction and mental health recovery facilities increasingly recognize the importance of individualized treatment. When treatment is not individualized, it suggests that every person, disorder and addiction can be treated the same way to achieve the same outcome, which is an inaccurate generalization. Effective treatment for achieving and sustaining recovery must address each patient’s unique needs and goals.

Individualized treatment means that patients have access to various types of treatment in a given program or facility. Many facilities also incorporate spiritual approaches that allow patients to address healing and recovery from a whole-body perspective alongside traditional psychotherapy methods.

One of these spiritual approaches is Conscious Recovery, a groundbreaking method for tackling addiction. This new approach encourages patients to view themselves as whole and perfect instead of broken and flawed as they go about their healing journey. The Conscious Recovery program is a valuable source for developing self-love and gratitude in recovery.

Why Choose a Conscious Recovery Program?

There is a gloomy cloud associated with the topics of addiction and recovery. Decades of misconceptions and misunderstandings have formed inaccurate stereotypes and stigma surrounding people that use drugs, are addicted to drugs and seek help for addiction and other forms of mental health conditions. These stigmas validate people who struggle with addiction and mental health, believing they are broken and imperfect.

The Conscious Recovery curriculum challenges the negative self-talk that many individuals develop as their addiction or mental illness becomes more severe. It offers a fresh perspective on addiction and on life itself, emphasizing that under any addictive behavior lies an essential self that is whole and perfect. The five core principles of the program include:

1. Underneath all addictive behavior is an essential self that is whole and perfect.
2. The addiction itself has never been the “problem” but was a strategy that has lost its effectiveness.
3. Treating addiction must go beyond addressing symptoms and get down to the underlying root causes of destructive behavior.
4. The root causes of addictive behavior are unresolved trauma, spiritual disconnection and toxic shame.
5. There is a pathway to permanent freedom by adopting spiritual practices and principles.

Conscious Recovery is more than just achieving sobriety. It is believing that there is purpose and meaning in challenging life experiences. It is being open to the fact that life is a journey of self-discovery. Addiction does not have to be a setback in your journey. Instead, it can show you that recovery can bring your life transformation better than you had ever experienced before.

Conscious Recovery Emphasizes Gratitude

In terms of healing and transformation, gratitude is essential. In part, mental health and substance use disorders instill false narratives in our heads because these conditions alter brain functioning associated with awareness, emotional regulation and behavior. Fostering gratitude in your life can be challenging when there are mental health barriers, but utilizing a Conscious Recovery program can make all the difference.

When people consider gratitude, they often think of outward displays of appreciation. It is important to recognize that internal displays of appreciation are just as important, especially during healing and recovery. There are many benefits to having gratitude, such as:

Gratitude reduces victimization: Many individuals experience a victimhood mentality every now and then. This thinking centers around why things happen to you or why the world is seemingly out to get you. Leaning into gratitude in your life will help you to let go of these stories of victimization and teach you how to reframe your mindset. Instead of living as if the world is doing something to you, you can try to look for something to be grateful for in every situation that life throws your way.

Gratitude fuels self-appreciation and authenticity: A conscious recovery is an authentic recovery. It is normal to have hesitations about discussing your traumas, mistakes and other reasons that may have led to substance use. When you make the conscious decision to be grateful for who you are, the opportunities you have and the social support surrounding you, you can learn to be more truthful and honest with yourself about the things you are struggling with. You can learn to accept the parts of yourself that you would like to change instead of trying to avoid them. Living your life with gratitude allows you to welcome more experiences of love and connection into your life, especially during your recovery.

Gratitude encourages awareness: Another critical factor of gratitude is its encouragement of awareness. In a spiritual sense, awareness is the state of being conscious of yourself and the world around you in an objective way. Many people initially turn to substances as an attempt to numb away pain. When you lean into mindfulness and increase your awareness, you will start to recognize situations for what they are instead of having an emotionally charged reaction to those circumstances. Gratitude allows you to emphasize what matters in your life and what you are grateful for. When you sustain your long-term recovery, practicing gratitude will train your mind not to fall victim to relapse triggers.

Authentic Recovery Centers believes in the principles that guide a conscious recovery. We recognize the value that spiritual approaches have in sustaining sobriety and helping patients transform their sense of self and the world around them. If you are someone that struggles with intrusive thoughts, lack of self-worth and relapse in your recovery journey, consider trying our Conscious Recovery Program. To learn more about the program or our recovery facility, please call ARC today at (866) 786-1376.