Living with chronic pain is very difficult. If a person also has a coexisting addiction, it makes it even harder. Many people who have chronic pain and addiction become very depressed and begin to feel hopeless. They have often lost their self-esteem and the support of significant others, who may be feeling burned out by trying to be overly helpful. Healthcare providers often become confused and frustrated when none of their treatment interventions seem to work.
One of the best parts of my professional work is getting to see people I’m working with go from hopeless and helpless to achieving peace and a better quality of life. For many the journey is not easy. I believe that it’s important for us to focus on what we want—instead of what we don’t want. One tool for achieving this shift is to switch from complaining and suffering to looking for what to be grateful for. I sometimes forget this and end up stressed out and then I have to remember to practice what I tea h.
Please check out my video below and then read the rest of this post.
Today I live with an “attitude of gratitude.” Each day I write 10 things I’m grateful for. At the end of the month I review my entire gratitude list for the month and pick my top 30 items. At the end of the year I review all the month’s top 30 items and pick the top 30 for the entire year. I have found it is impossible to be devastated by any uncomfortable emotion or experience if I can shift to gratitude.
I have worked with many pain patients over the years that I taught this process to. Those who wrote daily gratitude lists reported that it was almost impossible for them to be in gratitude and suffering at the same time—most of the time they chose gratitude. I would like to encourage those of you reading this blog commit to writing a daily gratitude lists for at least a couple of months and see what happens for you. I would love to hear about your experience.