I Am Grateful

Group size:  5-50

Purpose:  Increase coping skills, neurocognitive restructuring, enhance positive thinking

Props Needed

  1. I Am Grateful handout
  2. Pens


Activity Preparation

  1. Prep time needed: 5 minutes
  2. Prior to class make sure that facilitator has enough pens and handouts for each participant.

Time needed

  • Directions: 5 minutes
  • Activity: 25 minuets
  • Debrief: 15 minuets

Set Up:  It would be helpful to have a hard surface for participants to lean on while writing such as tables of clipboards.

Activity Directions:

  • Provide pens and handout to group.
  • Explain what gratitude is and how it can benefit someone in recovery
  • Ask group to fill out each section of the handout with as many items as the section calls for. Don't leave any spaces blank.


Facilitator script: “ok everyone have a seat. Today we are going to do a gratitude practice. Research shows having a gratitude practice has the power to not only change our patterns of thinking, but actually change the structures of our brains. Most of us spend the day doing the opposite of a gratitude list. We are so used to focusing on what is wrong with us, our situations, and the world around us. A gratitude practice causes us to focus on what is right with us, our situations, and the world around us. Each time we have a thought it creates a groove within our brains and the more we have it the more this groove is reinforced. This practice is about creating new groove that can be even more useful in out daily lives.

People in recovery have a long history of using a gratitude list as a way of changing our perceptions. Now science is catching up with the recovery movement. Gratitude can help you when you are stuck in recovery, when you are down, as well as when you are feeling hopeless. There is a universal principle that you will experience more of what you focus on. For example, the more you focus on what is negative the more you will experience negativity; however, the more you focus on the positive the more you experience positivity.

Your challenge today is to come up with a list of things you are grateful for. I suggest doing 25 things for 25 days! It is a fun way to change our brains together. This might be more challenging than you might initially think. Use the “I am Grateful” handout as a springboard into your gratitude practice.

So let’s take the next 20 minutes or so to fill out the I am Grateful handout. Go through each section and make sure that you have an answer for each one.

(Give participants 20 minutes to fill out the handout. Make sure to give them warnings when they are ½ way through their allotted time and another warning when they are ¾ through with their time. When 90% of the participants are completed with the handout it might be ok to move on to the next part)

Great job everyone! Who would like to share what they have? (Let participants volunteer, unless you have enough time to go through everyone then it would be ok to go around the circle. This is a facilitator preference. Also consider after each participant shares clapping to reinforce the participant’s willingness to be vulnerable.) Ok who’s next?

Ok so what was this activity like for you?


  • What was your initial reaction to hearing we are doing a gratitude list today?
  • Have you ever done a gratitude practice before? What was it like?
  • Where there any sections that we easy to fill out?
  • What sections were harder to fill out than others?
  • Are you willing to do the 25 things for 25 days challenge?


Recovery & Wellness Metaphor: When we can open our minds to the realization that there are things right within us, our situations, and the world we start to automatically respond differently. When we do a gratitude practice the filters through which we see the world literally change.

Role of Facilitator: Create a quiet space so that participants can have the space that they need to do the gratitude practice. Create a space that allows room for creativity.

Variations: If you don’t have access to a printer you could give participants blank sheets of paper and ask that they come up with a list on their own. This can be more challenging as participants find it easier to have prompts such as those on the I am grateful handout.