5 Minute Recovery: Gratefulness

Categories: General

Today’s topic is gratefulness. A lot has been said and done on the topic from a variety of worldviews. These views make it clear that gratitude somehow unlocks happiness, prosperity, wealth, positivity, and heals you from sickness and disease. The most common exercises to develop the attitude of gratitude is the daily gratitude list. This post is about what happens before the gratitude list can be made. Addiction has warped your spiritual connection. You can’t have a proper attitude of gratitude as a slave to addiction. You must first experience freedom. In today’s post I will explain the damage addiction has done, what needs to be corrected, and then get to the practical 5 minute recovery of gratefulness.

Jack Canfield, the co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul, says, meditate on what you appreciate in the course of your day and it will get better. I am not saying this is wrong. I am saying the timing must be right. The stress and chaos of daily life creates in us feelings of desperation, fear, and the desire for escape or relief. We naturally seek escape from unbearable conditions.

The Damage Addiction Has Done

Remember your story as you read this paragraph. Recall how you were desperate in mind, body, and soul for some relief. The pain was an unbearable throbbing and you had to make it stop.

So you found a remedy. And that is when you felt relief. It had been so long in coming and it was so welcome. That relief sparked a level of thankfulness you had not known in a long time. This cycle of struggle, desperation, and relief began to repeat. Eventually the life of the afflicted revolves around doing whatever it takes for a little bit more of the remedy. From this standpoint, the programming has been achieved. You are grateful for the remedy but you require more and more of it. Eventually, you come to hate it and the damage it has done. This leads to the breakdown of how gratitude is experienced and expressed. 

As you read this, I am speaking in general terms. I don’t know your affliction, circumstances or remedies. This pattern is something I see in my own life and the lives of people I work with, from smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, shooting heroin, alcoholism, chanting, worrying longer and harder, manipulating others, and much more. The depths of addiction have warped things to the point that gratefulness has been abducted. It has been stolen from us and twisted to serve some sick cause. This is why making a gratitude list is ineffective for people in the midst of addiction. They just keep coming up with thankfulness for their drug and the things that lead to their drug. 

Correcting the Damage

The damage that’s been done by addiction has warped something inside us. We don’t feel a genuine and wholesome thankfulness. We only feel relief by doing what our affliction requires. The location and ability to access feelings of deep appreciation, indebtedness, or thankfulness are lost. This is precisely what we must restore.  Our gratefulness needs to be restored.

Much of the resources out there on this topic will explain and explore the law of attraction. The idea is that what you think becomes reality. It will be attributed to the universe as some benevolent force that serves your every thought. There are conditions from which you and I suffer that cannot be healed from within by our own thinking. When you and I are desperate, hopeless, and resentful we are without gratitude. We may actually be thankful for death. These are the conditions from which we must be saved from the outside. 

The Gospel…Again.

Have you ever received a non-gift? A non gift is a gift you don’t want to have. You open the package, are disappointed, and say thank you. You act like you are grateful. At this point, most people lie for the sake of playing well with others but Inside, they are already thinking of ways to re-gift or exchange the package for something they want. I have received my share of non-gifts. When this happens I become suspect of the giver. Eventually, I realized the giver wanted me to have this particular gift out of the goodness of their heart.  This is the point I think we need to connect with the gospel story. 

A gift wrapped in plain brown paper and tied with a string. Recovering gratefulness.

God, The Creator of the universe, decided, you and I need Him so much that He made a way for that to happen. Jesus. He decided we needed Jesus because he wanted to, it’s his nature to give, and we needed the gift. This is gift giving in its purest most benevolent form. The gospel is full of people receiving food, water, healing, and freedom at the point of desperation. Even death is not a barrier to receiving life. You see, when you and I are desperate, hopeless, and resentful we are without thankfulness. At this point to receive a true gift corrects our mind, body, and soul. Once this occurs there will be no doubt where you keep your gratitude and who is responsible for it. 

5 Minute Recovery on Gratefulness

Turkey Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread recovering gratefulness

Take 5 minute recovery today to restore gratefulness. This exercise will take some set up. You will need to be very hungry or thirsty. Have your food or water prepared when it is time. And then, sit down at the table to begin this 5 minute recovery on gratitude.

Next, take a deep breath. Do not rush to eat/drink. Close your eyes and journey into your hunger/thirst. Notice your need. Feel your body asking for what it needs. Notice. Sit for a moment with hunger/thirst. Feel it. Allow the feeling to grow and notice your condition. Notice how you need to eat/drink.

Turn your attention to your food/water. Think about how that food/water came to be in front of you. Think about it’s journey to your table. Turn your attention to God. Thank Him for creating the food/water. Feel your appreciation toward him grow.  Savor your food/drink. Feel it change your body. Notice your hunger/thirst being satisfied. Sit for a moment, satisfied. Finally, thank God for caring for you before you knew about your need. Sit in this moment and appreciate it. 

Author: Todd Davis, PhD, MFT, LADC

2 Responses to "5 Minute Recovery: Gratefulness"

  1. Thomas Barr Posted on September 9, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    I can use this approach to gratefulness in my SA groups…..thanks Todd!

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