Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Residential Week 7: Gratitude

Group Objective: To explore the power of gratitude as a recovery tool.

Key Teaching Points: Gratitude is known to be one of the most powerful spiritual tools available. This group will take a deeper look at gratitude and explore how to shift into gratitude as a way of life.

Materials Needed: Quotes, basket, index cards, pens (Print the quotes on pages 42 and 43 and cut them up into individual pieces before group starts.)

Reading from Conscious Recovery: Gratitude may be one of the most talked-about spiritual principles there is, and many of us have learned that gratitude is a powerful tool for spiritual awakening and recovery. Many of us make gratitude lists, or keep a gratitude journal. This is wonderful. It teaches us to feel grateful, to be more open to positivity.

That’s very important for those of us working to let go of the emotional habits left over from our core false beliefs. If we’re working on unlearning, if we’re letting go of our stories of victimization, if we’re trying to stop living as if the world is doing something to us, then we can strengthen our gratitude by finding something to be grateful for in every situation, finding whatever light appears in the midst of the darkness. For there is always light.

From that insight, I want to take things a little deeper by talking about the tendency to force gratitude. Sometimes it seems like “living in gratitude” means we need to feel perpetually grateful. Our desire to be grateful might lead us to believe that we need to feel love for and harmony with everything and everyone, 24-7.

Some spiritual communities, for example, seem to want to focus only on the light, to call everything good without addressing the deeper shadow, or the darkness. When we talk only about love and light without also addressing some of the more difficult experiences we have, it only adds to that familiar pressure to always pretend to be happy, which can be inauthentic. And it isn’t authentic to force feelings that aren’t truly there.

Residential: Week 7 Group Outline Gratitude

(10 minutes) Meditation

(20 minutes) Check-in: Everyone says their name and pulls a gratitude quote out of the basket and share what it means to them.

Review Shared Agreements

  • One Person Speaks at a Time

  • Confidentiality

  • Share the Air

  • No “Fixing”

  • “I” Statements

  • Feedback Upon Request

    (10 minutes) Group Process: Have clients write on an index card three things they are grateful for and on the other side three things in their life that they feel is challenging.

    (10 minutes) Dyads: Have clients get with a partner, and share why they are grateful for what’s on the front of their cards.

    (10 minutes) Meditation: Listen for ways to be grateful for EVERYTHING. Guide them through a meditation focusing on shifting awareness from “gratitude for” to “gratitude in” the midst of any situation. (You can simply read the following or make it your own.)

    “I invite you to gently close your eyes. We start by taking a deep breath together. On the exhale simply allow yourself to settle in and open up to this very moment.”

“Now, imagine one of the things you are grateful for that you listed on your card. Really feel into the energy and the frequency of gratitude as you imagine the thing for which you are grateful. How does it feel in your body?”

“Now, think of one of the challenges you listed on your card. Imagine for a moment bringing the energy of gratitude to this situation. What do you notice as you imagine this? Now, take a moment to sit with this feeling.”

“Now, as you feel ready, I invite you to bring your awareness back into the room and gently open your eyes.”

Time Permitting: “How was that? What did you notice?

(10 minutes) Group Discussion (Ask someone to write this quote on the whiteboard or flipchart): “Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy

Teaching Point: How to be grateful for the challenges in your life. This is where you focus on helping them shift into an awareness that they can be grateful in the midst of anything happening in their lives and ultimately, shifting into BEING gratitude in the world.

(10 minutes) Group Process: “Anyone want to share the gratitude for what is on their “challenges” card?” (Have them stand.)

(10 minutes) Closing Process

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” — Zig Ziglar

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” — Oprah Winfrey

“ ‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” — Alice Walker

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” — Robert Brault


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward


“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein


“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” —Alphonse Karr

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” — Amy Collette

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie

“Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give.” — Edwin Arlington Robinson

“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” — Mary Davis


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

“Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.” — Eckhart Tolle

“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” — Doris Day

“I was complaining that I had no shoes till I met a man who had no feet.” – Confucius