Conscious Recovery & the Power of Gratitude

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

Conscious Recovery is a 12-week program that Casa Palmera offers to patients as a supplement to clinical therapies used in addiction treatment. Conscious Recovery takes a fresh approach to treatment and recovery because it is guided by the philosophy that patients are not broken or flawed; they are perfect as they are but need help realizing that. Cultivating and embodying gratitude is an essential part of the process and can be a powerful tool for spiritual transformation in addiction treatment.

Conscious Recovery in addiction treatment is guided by five principles.

The goal of the Conscious Recovery program is to help patients undergo a deep transformation through experience and practice, rather than trying to treat symptoms and change behaviors through psychoeducation and psychotherapy. This pathway to recovery is spiritually-oriented, as patients work to reconnect with their inner self and discover their greater purpose in life.

According to the Conscious Recovery, the curriculum is shaped by five key principles:

  1. Addictive behavior is not a reflection of who someone is; the inner self is whole and perfect.
  2. Addiction itself is not the problem; it is a coping strategy that no longer works.
  3. Addiction treatment must address symptoms and the root cause of addictive behavior.
  4. Unresolved trauma, spiritual disconnection and toxic shame are the true causes of addictive behaviors.
  5. By adopting spiritual practices and principles, patients can find freedom from addiction.

Gratitude can give you hope to carry on in addiction treatment.

Gratitude is a concept that is often discussed in the context of substance abuse treatment and improving mental health. It is also a manifestation of Conscious Recovery’s core principles.

Many people are familiar with the quality of being thankful. However, it is one thing to say you are thankful, but another to actually practice gratitude and experience the healing vibrations it creates.

The idea is not to understate and devalue the positive things in your life, including the progress you have made in recovery. Rather, it is to appreciate the things that support your well-being and progress while recognizing the need to improve areas without judging yourself. By practicing gratitude, your heart will start to open up to positivity and guide you to find reasons for hope even in the most uncertain of times.

Authenticity and self-love can be nurtured through Conscious Recovery.

Gratitude is related to other themes in the program, such as authenticity and self-love.

Patients in addiction recovery are often burdened by negative emotions, such as self-pity and shame. They sometimes carry guilt for things they have done while under the influence and are confused about who they are inside. It can be easy to lose your identity to substance abuse and become trapped in a self-destructive narrative. Gratitude plays an important role here because it is not just a feeling but a way of accepting reality in all its rawness, even the parts of your history and character that you think of as bad.

As TJ Woodward—the creator of Conscious Recovery—explains in his book on the program, “When we’re in the midst of a difficult situation, being gratitude means honoring the difficulty, acknowledging the feelings of anger, sadness, or frustration, and yet at the same time tapping into the ultimate truth of who and what we are…”

From this optimistic frame of mind, you can come to radiate authenticity and learn to love yourself.

Make the practice of gratitude a healthy habit.

There are many ways you can practice gratitude. Some people have rituals like writing in a journal, sending thank you cards or using verbal means. Thanksgiving is an example of a tradition where families and friends gather to express thanks for good food and each other’s company. Simply showing up can be a way of saying, “I acknowledge the value you bring to my life. Thank you.”

The first step in practicing gratitude is to reflect. Throughout the day, whether it be the first thing in the morning or the last thing at night, try to list all of the positive things in your life. Imagine what it would be like without them and take several moments to savor the happy feelings that emerge.

However, as TJ Woodward points out in his book, it’s also important to be grateful for the challenges and “aspects of [our] shadow” because they are a part of the human experience and can motivate a spiritual transformation. By making this a habit, you are already making progress.

Experience a spiritual transformation.

Conscious Recovery offers a unique way to understand and treat addiction. Patients are seen as wholesome individuals who need a little guidance to mobilize their potential. The program helps patients reconnect with their authentic selves through the cultivation of gratitude and self-love despite painful circumstances.

Conscious Recovery can guide you in changing how you view the world and your place in it.

The Conscious Recovery program guides patients through a 12-week program that incorporates learning the power of gratitude. Casa Palmera is a fully licensed residential and outpatient treatment center in West Los Angeles. Contact us today for more information.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.