I don’t often talk about gratitude.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know I prefer sharing tips, tricks and actionable advice to help you move forward with your sober goals.
But the truth is, none of that stuff is going to work if you’re approaching sobriety from a negative place.
If your focus is always on everything you don’t have, or everything that’s going wrong in your life, it makes it pretty hard not to drink.
You’re far more likely to hit wine o’clock and think “What’s the point?”
My American friends will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week, so now feels like a good time to talk about gratitude and the surprising benefit it has on your sobriety.
Why bother with gratitude?
Our brains naturally have a negativity bias – we’re wired for self protection, so we often pay more attention to negative experiences. If we constantly feel a bit dissatisfied with life, it’s easy to think, “Why am I bothering to quit drinking? I deserve a drink.”
Tests at the University of California found that people who kept a gratitude journal for two weeks felt happier and healthier. They exercised more, drank less alcohol and their families and friends noticed they were nicer to be around.
How to practice gratitude
Write down 3-5 things or people that you’re grateful for and why. You could jot down a list of different things, or you could get really specific, and write all your points about the same thing.
Alternatively, you could try a ‘what went well list’ or note down things you’re grateful for on little pieces of paper that you keep in a jar. On some days, you’ll have to work a bit harder to think of what went well, or what you’re grateful for – but that’s kind of the whole point!
What’ve you got to lose?
We all have negative thoughts from time to time, of course we do. But if you’re not careful, complaining can become a habit, and feeling as if life is less than perfect can become an easy place for your mind to rest.
2020 has been a tough year for many of us and maybe you’re wondering how this can really help? But if a sceptic like me can come round to this idea… perhaps you can too.
If you’d like some help and support to create an alcohol-free life you love, click here for details of my online course.
This is brilliant. Going to try this diligently.
Go for it Roisin! You have nothing to lose 🙂
I started doing this last year after being recommended by a friend and it’s amazing! I do it just before bed and it makes me end the day full of positive thoughts and so grateful even after a tough day.
Doing it at the end of the day is such a good time to do it. Glad you’re feeling the benefits Lorna 🙂
Thanks – I have started writing in my gratitude journal now for a couple of days and it does help -with a lot of things. The thing I am discovering is the more specific I am the more benefit. Gratitude brings about happiness – not the other way around. So for example. Today I am grateful for The Sober School who took the time and effort to produce affirmations for sobriety. rather than just grateful for affirmations.
also allows me to change my perceptions of what is going on in my life.
Totally agree about being specific! The details that really matter. And thanks for the mention with the affirmations 🙂
I love this exercise ! I am going to do this daily.
Yes I’m game il give it ago
I am grateful for this reminder Kate
I am somewhat inconsistent with being grateful so I will now bring it back onto my radar. It needs to be genuine…I’m sure I can find many things to be grateful for. And when things aren’t going well or times are difficult the gratitude is even more heart felt x
Absolutely – that’s something I’ve really noticed this year. You get more gains from your gratitude practise during tough times x
Thank you for continuing to pop into my world with your insights
Fabulous reminder Kate. Just watching the updates about covid 19 and frankly feel despair at the lack of adult leadership from the England Government.
No excuse to drink, though.
Definitely not worth drinking over! It’s good to be AF in these strange times. Great to hear from you Sarah, hope you’re keeping well 🙂
Still affected by Long Covid, sadly. Also sidetracked into thinking moderation was a good idea, (due to covid stress)
Not a good plan!
Back on it now, and helped by finally getting into The Sober School Club (missed the last opening date)
Might you think about making it open to join, anytime, to graduates?
*If* I could have joined when I was actually wavering, it *might* just have helped?
Just a thought.
This is a timely reminder to keep up my journal -like you, I was really only doing it for the high days and holidays but I will do the 3-week test and see how it improves things. I’m a July 2019 grad so I feel I’m well on the well with my sober journey but mental health has been an underlying issue for years.
Not just covid but for the past 12 months life has been extremely challenging for me and being sober has made it survivable!
I’m so grateful I opened your email this morning!! I’m also very grateful we live in NZ where we’re enjoying a relatively “normal” existance without covid in the community.
I love how you’re reframing this Anna – alcohol free living makes life easier, not harder but a lot of people miss that. I’m sorry it’s been such a tough year for you, but I’m super happy to hear you’re still doing life sober!
I’m grateful that I took a break from alcohol 225 days ago( inspired by your motivational videos!)grateful for the self awareness journey and being present in my daily life and taking a good look at things being sober.( not just no alcohol sober but being really present and working on self love) I’ve realised the most important relationship I can have is starting with myself and loving myself first ,rather than putting myself last and self sabotaging and abusing my body with toxic alcohol.I’ve lost 16 kilos and am healthier than ever.touch woodmy only subconscious hiccup is knowing New Years party is on the way and do I entertain just one night to have a few French champagnes,and knowing I reset for start of the year…I’m grateful to know that’s something I have to prepare for and am scared that it would creep back in again.
Well done on your sobriety so far Jade. Remember – you don’t need rotting fruit juice to celebrate the start of a new year. Give yourself the best New Year present by keeping things AF – you don’t deserve to start a fresh new year with a hangover. Double check you’re not romanticising alcohol and I think you’ll see you’re not missing out on anything. Have fun 🙂
I’m going to start keeping a gratitude journal. It sounds like a great way to keep focused.
First I’m grateful that I found your website. I have been struggling with alcoholism for a long time telling my hungover self every morning that I won’t drink anymore, but always do.
I’m grateful for your tips and positivity.
I’m grateful for the hope that I can stop this vicious cycle and feel better.
Hi Eileen, I’m glad the tips here resonate with you. I know how hard it is to do this alone. If you’re ready to take the next step, I wanted to make sure you knew about my online coaching programme – it’s a great way of getting the support you need to make sobriety stick. Here are some more details: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Thanks Kate, great timing with this. I’m going to start doing this every day before I go to bed
Thank you Kate! I had just bought a cute little notebook because I was going to give journaling a try, thank you for the direction to start, you always seem to be right on time for me!
Sounds like you have everything you need to do this Teresa! Let me know how you get on 🙂
Kate I am so glad you are having this discussion . I believe having an attitude of gratitude in everything as we go about our daily life is the secret to a happy life.
It’s easy to feel pity and sorry for ourselves in difficult times however if we stop and give thanks or have gratitude for our blessings and our challenges it totally changes my mind set .
So many people in the world are really suffering for lack of safety, food, shelter, health , love , clean water to drink etc how can I not have an attitude of gratitude for even the smallest gifts like a hot shower or clean dry warm socks .
Happy Thanksgiving Kate !
I am grateful for my sobriety and your wonderful sober school ❤️
New here! Love the content cant wait to try these tips and tricks. I’m a bit nervous to start I’m a very heavy drinker and people always talk about physical issues and tips on how to stop safely? Thank you for being here!!
I know what I am grateful for today, and that is finding your website Kate.
I stumbled upon it early Saturday morning when I was horribly hungover at 3:00 am for the umpteenth time and desperate for help. I began viewing your videos and postings and I have already purchased a grateful journal to use each and every day religiously.
I am excited to begin my journey. I know it is up to me to take it beyond a glimmer of hope, but I am so grateful for this informative and inspiring blog! Thank you so much for this.
No problem Mary, I’m glad it resonates with you 🙂