I’d imagine that anybody who goes through the effort of working the twelve steps and actually admits to being an alcoholic- they did so for a specific reason. Let’s face the facts here, nobody really just up and does such without recognizing a need for it. Most of us used as a coping mechanism and lived unhappy lives during our use. The stories I hear mixed in a nasty concoction with my own experience, and boom- right there you have the perfect recipe for disastrous misery. Putting up with this for a bit of time and we start to realize that living such a problematic and toilsome life is taking us nowhere. So you take a hike to the beginning of the beginning and we drop all the chemicals and alcoholic beverages. We plan to make things better and follow direction. Chop wood, carry water, chop wood, carry water- and all that jazz. We’re told that if we follow this pathway, we’ll stay clean and gain a life beyond our wildest dreams. That’s what “they” say at least. Then it happens. All this effort is dished forward, we make it to the other side, but for some of us, the grass is still damp and brown. The Charlie Brown rain cloud followed us even into sobriety. We’ve become miserable in sobriety. What gives? Well, I have seen the light and darkness of sobriety and can assure you there is a joyful side of sobriety that is completely worth the fight.
Where is My Mind?
Through my travels in and out of the rooms, the biggest change made that kept me happy, joyous and free was changing my perspective on things. There’s always another side of the coin to any and every situation you find yourself in. It occurred to me at some point in time that I had been practicing this cynical frame of mind. Everything was always negatively affecting me even when it wasn’t. I was ill-tempered, constantly agitated, and just downright pessimistic about my outcome in this game of life. Once I became aware of this, there were little changes to start being made.
For one, I stopped selling myself short. As cheesy and cliché as it can be, you do only live one life. The bar had been set low and skating by with the bare minimum was the standard. This wasn’t just the case with work, but with relationships, eating right and even simply just the experience life had to offer. I no longer wanted to be miserable in sobriety, I had to take action. Becoming a “yes man” was one of the best things I could do for adding to happiness in sobriety. Instead of declining offers to go places or things that were out of the norm, I would simply say “yes” without hesitation. Seize the day right? As this pattern continues, you begin to grow. You start learning things about yourself and becoming more introspective and intuitive. Alas, this was only a piece to the giant puzzle in our heads.
At some point in time, we’ve all heard the phrase, “happiness comes from within”. If you haven’t, then you must know some things about this famous quote. This saying pairs with the idea that happiness comes from within. If we wake up every morning and decide to be happy, despite whatever our current circumstances, we will be happy. This goes back to my broken record player preaching about perspective. On the flipside, if you wake up and decide to be negative, then all of your day will probably be like a wet blanket. We, as human beings, have the power to change our emotions. Once we get clean, we are reintroduced to these strange feelings. These so called feelings bring us anxiety and discomfort, but also pleasantry and happiness. But for some of us, we don’t really know how to deal with them. We don’t see the black and white, but only the gray in the center. Nobody is forcing fear or anger upon us. These are the choices made by us in response to some sort of negative stimulus. Vice versa, there is the positive direction to that choice of emotion too. The idea is to become aware when we start feeling downbeat about things. Once you start to consciously recognize the emotion as its happening, that’s when the personal development keeps growing.
Another tool many pick up to create happiness in sobriety is giving. Yes, to simply put. Life is all about helping each other through it. No single person on this planet can make it through a plush and have a successful life without help. Acts of altruism and kindness go a long way and do wonders for the soul. It truly is internal medicine. This can be as simple as holding a door open for a stranger, or helping a friend haul thirteen and a half boxes into a U-haul which he needs you to drive because his license was suspended. I may or may not have been in both situations at some point or another. Anyhow, my take on this life is that it comes in full circle. Whatever you put into life is usually what you’re going to get back. When we cheat ourselves short of what were capable of doing and the lives we have the ability to touch, then we’re barely living. In a sense, it all boils down to love and loving yourself enough to love others. Love makes us all giddy and is associated with happiness and other positive emotions. When you push this idea to its threshold, you’ll be amazed at the sense of purpose and accomplishment that comes with it.
Happen To Be Struggling With Finding That Happiness?
At the end of the day, sometimes the misery has a hard time of separating itself from you. For some of us, it can lead us right back into the depths of addiction. What do you do when there’s nothing you can do, but you can’t do anything? You do what you can. We’re here 24/7 to help with finding that happy state. Don’t spend another day miserable in sobriety or addiction. Visit www.guardianiop.com or call one of our specialists at 855-517-1871 to see if we can help you or a loved one achieve that happiness in sobriety.
Reviewed for accuracy by:
Anna Marie Barrett LCSW, CYT
Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.