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Gratitude in the AA Big Book: How Practicing Gratitude Can Help in Addiction Recovery

Gratitude in AA’s Big Book: Why It Matters


AA, also known as Alcoholics Anonymous, is a community of individuals who support one another on their path to sobriety. The Big Book, as it is commonly known, is a guidebook that outlines the recovery program used by AA. It contains personal stories, spiritual principles, and practical tools for those struggling with alcoholism. One of the most important themes throughout The Big Book is gratitude. In this article, we will explore the role of gratitude in AA’s Big Book and why it matters.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is a powerful emotion that involves recognizing and appreciating the good things in our lives. It is a feeling of thankfulness for the people, experiences, and something that bring us joy and happiness. Gratitude is not just a pleasant emotion but has several benefits for our mental and physical health. It can decrease tension, boost satisfaction, strengthen connections, and improve your general state of mind.

Gratitude in AA’s Big Book:

Gratitude is a central theme in AA’s Big Book. The program of recovery outlined in the book emphasizes the importance of gratitude as a tool for achieving and maintaining sobriety. The first three steps of the program involve:

  • Acknowledging one’s powerlessness over alcohol.
  • Turning one’s will and life over to a higher power.
  • Deciding to surrender to that power.

These steps require much humility and gratitude towards a power greater than oneself.

Freedom from Bondage: 

The Big Book also includes several personal stories that illustrate the transformative power of gratitude in the recovery process. One such story is “Freedom from Bondage,” in which Roland describes his journey from hopelessness and despair to a life filled with gratitude and purpose. Roland credits his newfound sobriety to the spiritual principles of AA, including gratitude, which helped him find meaning and purpose in his life.

Why gratitude matters in AA:

Gratitude is an essential component of the program of recovery outlined in AA’s Big Book. It helps individuals in recovery cultivate a positive mindset, which is crucial for maintaining sobriety. By focusing on the good things in life, individuals can shift their attention away from negative thoughts and emotions that may trigger cravings for alcohol.

The Role of Gratitude in Recovery: 

Gratitude also helps individuals in recovery build stronger relationships with others. Individuals can foster a sense of connection and belonging by expressing gratitude towards friends, family, and the AA community. It is significant for those in recovery, as feelings of isolation and loneliness can trigger a relapse.

Finally, gratitude is a powerful spiritual practice that can help individuals connect with a higher power. The Big Book emphasizes the importance of surrendering one’s will and life to a power greater than oneself, and gratitude is essential to this process. By recognizing and appreciating the blessings in our lives, we can develop a more profound sense of spirituality and connection to the world around us.


Gratitude is a powerful tool for individuals in recovery, and it is a central theme in AA’s Big Book. By cultivating a mindset of gratitude, individuals can shift their attention away from negative thoughts and emotions, build stronger relationships, and connect with a higher power. If you are struggling with alcoholism, incorporating gratitude into your daily life can help you find meaning, purpose, and joy in sobriety.

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