National Thank You Month
• January 2022 •
From Juan Navarro, Executive Director
Los Angeles Centers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse
World AIDS Day in the Age of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART)
January brings us some important days to commemorate, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 17th, 2022. But among this month’s little known observances is a thing called National Thank You Month. Saying thanks is something I remind myself to do, but it often gets lost in the business of each new day. I want to start 2022 off right by expressing my personal gratitude to the many people in my life who deserve to hear it.
First, I say thank you to L.A. CADA patients and program participants who give my life — and everyone who works here — real meaning. Serving you is an honor. As an agency, we are incredibly proud of you and the journey toward recovery you have been brave enough to begin.
To the agency’s Board of Directors, I thank you for your leadership and support. L.A. CADA’s success has been built on your shoulders and the important work of every past board member in the last 50 years, especially our founders, Dr. Ethan Allen and his late wife Alice. Your good work lives on in the 21st century.
The staff and volunteers at L.A. CADA are the people who make recovery happen. To say I’m proud of each one of you, and forever grateful, is just not enough. Working long hours in a small office or cubicle, L.A. CADA staff (in all positions) are real life heros. You’re on the front lines of the fight against substance use, mental health disorders, homelessness, interpersonal violence, and HIV. Please know how appreciative I am for your continuing dedication.
Our community partners and their staff are working with L.A. CADA on the front lines, I thank you all for your valued partnership with L.A. CADA. You answer our referral calls, give of yourselves for our clients, provide needed Letters of Support, and deliver high quality, culturally responsive services. We depend on you more than you know, and your faithfulness is beyond appreciated.
And without our funders, nothing would be possible. From the largest government grant to the smallest contribution, your funding fuels the work that L.A. CADA does. It translates into saved lives, united families, and a safer community. Our agency is grateful for your assistance.
Of course, there are many, many more for whom I am grateful. Including my own family and friends who support me and tolerate my crazy work schedule. Thank you — you are my strength and my heart..
To all L.A. CADA supporters, Happy New Year! I wish you health, peace, joy, and prosperity in 2002 and the same meaning you give to my life.
Watch: Gratitude in Recovery
“My name is Brandy. I’m an alcoholic addict. I always joke about my name – what did they think I would be? So, my story is like lots of people in recovery. Broken up family, dad in prison, I was a single mom at 15. Poor. Angry – just angry at the world. When I drank, I wasn’t one of those funny drunks, I was mean and I knew it. So, I mostly drank and used alone. I got in treatment after going to jail for a fight. They had anger management there and my counselor asked me what I was grateful for. What? Nothing! I hated my life. But she wouldn’t give up until I gave her something. So, I wrote down my kids who were taken away. My counselor asked me about them and I talked until I realized how much they really mean to me. After meditating, I was able to add other things. Then, every morning I had to get up and say thank you for each thing on my list. But, eventually, I actually was grateful. One year later, I have my kids back and you know what? Today, I really am a grateful woman in recovery.”
SPOTLIGHT – THE EVIDENCE IS IN:
How Gratitude Changes Your Brain
Is gratitude beneficial for people who struggle with mental health concerns? Yes, it is.
A university studied college students struggling with depression and anxiety. Study participants were assigned to one of three groups; all of which received mental health counseling. The first group was additionally asked to write one letter of gratitude to another person each week for three weeks. The second group was asked to write about their deepest thoughts regarding negative experiences. The third group did no writing activity.
Compared with the participants who wrote about negative experiences or those who only received counseling, the students who wrote gratitude letters reported significantly better mental health at four weeks and 12 weeks after the experiment ended. This study (and others) suggests that gratitude writing can be beneficial not just for healthy, well-adjusted individuals, but also for people with mental health concerns. In fact, it seems, practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when gratitude practice is brief. The university study suggested that:
- Practicing gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotions
- Gratitude helps – even if we don’t share it
- Benefits of gratitude take time
- Gratitude has lasting effects on our brains
Practicing gratitude can help train our brain to be more sensitive to feeling gratitude in the future, thus contributing to improved mental health over time.
Learn more about: Gratitude and Recovery