An individual who is in recovery from drug abuse and addiction problems often finds that they still have a long, difficult journey ahead of them in order to not only maintain their sobriety but also establish the foundation for a happy, healthy and productive new future.  However, they can also find that there are many things to be thankful for, including:

1. Experiencing true freedom and happiness.  Most drug abusers and addicts live with the constant fear that they will be found out and judged for their drug problems, and so they feel that they must always hide.  This can contribute to already overwhelming feelings of sadness, anger and shame, and lead them into feeling hopeless about their situation and their ability to change it.  The individual can become so enslaved by their addiction problems that they may actually come to believe that true happiness is unattainable.  Recovery can help the individual come to realize that they can be honest with self and others, and they can rebuild their self-confidence and self-respect.  They no longer have to hide their drug problems, and this allows them to experience freedom in ways they may not even have conceived of.  Even more precious is the feeling of true happiness that comes with taking back control of one’s life and future.

2. Lessons learned from the past.  An individual who is in recovery from drug abuse and addiction should certainly not try to glamorize their past drug use, but nor should they try to completely ignore it.  After all, their drug use and the many damaging consequences of their drug use taught them some important lessons about life and how incorrect solutions to problems can become problems themselves.  They have also learned that no matter how big a problem is, it can be overcome with support, encouragement and determination.

3. A stronger sense of self.  Drug abuse and addiction problems can drive an individual into only thinking about their own problems and their lack of control over their life.  They can sink into the feelings of uselessness and self-pity, essentially giving up on trying to do anything because it seems pointless.  However, the recovery process is far from easy, and no matter how much support and encouragement the individual may receive from others, the fact remains that it is his own dedication and persistence that brings him through to the other side.  This can allow the individual to experience the confidence that comes with success, and build up a stronger sense of self.

4. A brighter outlook on life.  It’s a sad fact that many drug abusers and addicts are so thoroughly tapped in and helpless about their drug problem that they actually wish for death as a means of permanent escape.  Most of the time, their every thought, decision and action revolves around how to obtain, use and recover from drugs.  They have little thought to the future and the setting and making of goals.  However, this is often where an individual’s happiness comes from–setting and making future goals in life.  When an individual has successfully recovered from drug abuse and addiction, they may feel like their entire future is laid open before them, brighter than ever before.

5. The patience to cope with life.  Many drug abusers and addicts can become quite frustrated by the fact that the recovery process is not fast or easy.  The fact is that it takes time to successfully address and resolve each and every cause and effect of drug abuse or addiction, but it’s obviously well worth it when the individual is then able to establish and maintain lasting sobriety.  The patience it takes to make it through the recovery process can also serve the individual very well in their life, whenever they encounter difficulties and problems.  Drugs were once considered the “fast” and “easy” way out of these challenging life moments, but they quickly proved to be far more harmful than helpful.  Patience allows the individual to find better, more workable solutions and not get quite so bothered by the ups and downs of life.

The holiday season is a time of joy, laughter, family and celebration.  An individual in recovery from drug abuse and addiction can experience these things, often for the first time in many years, which is itself something to be thankful for.