Higher Ground Men's Conference


Gratitude: Finding Deeper Joy in Recovery


By Jonathan Daugherty
Founder, Be Broken Ministries

I have yet to meet an addict (who is active in their addiction) who isn’t angry, or at least easily irritated. I used to be like this myself; grumpy, selfish, ready at the drop of a hat to chew people up and spit them out. Addiction, by its very nature, is imprisonment to something that never satisfies.

When an addicted person first admits their powerlessness and starts seeking help, seeing the recovery process as a pathway to gratitude is often a slow lesson. Instead, we often first see recovery simply as a reversal of our “bad habits” that are ruining our lives.

But eventually another stage of growth challenges these initial assumptions: Is recovery merely about changing my behavior so I can still get everything I want, maybe just in a healthier looking way? Or is recovery actually about a total transformation from a self-centered idolator to becoming a person who serves others and finds genuine joy in doing so?

Could recovery be more about gratitude than it is about “clean” behavior?

I remember when I first felt this shift several years ago in my own recovery journey. Good things (God things!) had been happening in my life, and I had a type of contentment that I hadn’t had before. I was grateful, but I kept feeling deep in my soul that there was even more to discover. But it wouldn’t come from gathering more information or more accountability partners or more Internet filters. This type of gratitude could only come from giving it all away.

Could recovery be more about gratitude than it is about “clean” behavior?

I began recovery with a type of gratitude, one we are all most familiar with: thankfulness for receiving good things, especially undeserved kindness (i.e. God’s grace).

But I was challenged to embrace a deeper gratitude: the honor and privilege to give away everything God had given to me. When I took a step back from my recovery journey and tried to look at my life as a whole – the good, the bad, all of it – I was struck with the truth that I didn’t create my life.  It didn’t start with me, or even with my parents.


I realized I was the handiwork of my Creator, the God of the heavens and earth, who saw me before anything was made and chose to give me life (Eph. 1:3-4, 2:10). Everything, all of me, was in His hands. Embracing this truth changed my journey from that point forward.

Gratitude flows from my knowledge of God, not out of my circumstances. So, whether I am “receiving” everything my heart could desire, or “giving away” anything I don’t really own (God owns it all, right?), I am grateful. My heart, my soul, is filled to overflowing with gratitude that cannot be measured by what I have, or even by how much I give away. For every addict I meet, I long to give away everything I have so they, too, might come to realize this great and precious truth: God loves addicts.

If you are “stuck” in recovery, still believing that the journey is merely about getting “clean” and acquiring more knowledge or insight or whatever, let me invite you to go deeper and enter the next leg of the journey where you can discover it truly is “more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35b)

Jonathan Daugherty is the founder of Be Broken Ministries and will share his inspiring personal journey of recovery and engaging in a life of gratitude and purpose at the 2017 Higher Ground Men’s Conference, Saturday, Feb. 25, 8:30a-4:30p at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue, WA.

17-HG-WebBanner-400x400The Higher Ground Men’s Conference features more than 20 in-depth breakout sessions facilitated by leading psychologists, pastors and thought leaders on topics of sexual brokenness and recovery, father-son relationships, healing the father wound, spiritual authenticity, navigating a hyper-sexual culture, biblical manhood, marriage enrichment, teens and young adults embracing integrity in dating, and being agents of social justice in regard to poverty and the sex trade.