Can I Be Happy Without Drugs or Alcohol?


One of the greatest fears of an individual coming into a life of recovery is that they will not be happy. They fear that they will be resigned to a boring life of recovery-based activities and miss the perceived sense of happiness provided by intoxication. The idea that we can experience happiness without the pleasure and relief provided by alcohol and drugs seems absurd. However, we soon come to realize that what we thought was happiness was false—it was an illusion created by intoxication that ultimately made us feel worse. When we achieve sobriety, we open the doors for a new and true sense of happiness, joyousness, and freedom that we never thought possible.

To understand that we can experience happiness, we must realize that the sense of comfort and relief provided by alcohol and drugs was false. Moments of pleasure were punctuated by feelings of deep sadness and remorse as a result of our addiction. Overtime, the overwhelming desire to achieve pleasure as a means of short-lived happiness made us fall deeper and deeper into addiction. Dr. Margaret Paul, in a 2015 Huffington Post article entitled The Difference Between Happiness and Pleasure, explains, “Our intent to seek safety and pleasure through controlling others, outcomes, and our own feelings leads to an inner feeling of abandonment and emptiness. We abandon ourselves when we are trying to control our feelings rather than be kind and compassionate with ourselves. Our anxiety and feelings of emptiness lead to more seeking outside ourselves to fill up with pleasurable experiences. The momentary pleasure leads to addictive behavior.” It may be a difficult habit to break, but if we are able to seek happiness internally, and no longer rely on external things to control our feelings, we open the door to discovering a deeper and more meaningful sense of happiness.

In the early stages of sobriety, we may still yearn for the feelings of pleasure provided by drugs and alcohol, but this is only because we are unaware of the potential for true happiness in sobriety. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains that the changes resulting from recovery result in true happiness: “It may seem incredible that these men are to become happy, respected, and useful once more. How can they rise out of such misery, bad repute and hopelessness? The practical answer is that since these things have happened among us, they can happen with you. Should you wish them above all else, and be willing to make use of our experience, we are sure they will come. The age of miracles is still with us. Our own recovery proves that!”

You can achieve a life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin the rewarding journey of recovery. The Lakehouse Recovery Center, located on beautiful Sherwood Lake in Southern California, offers highly effective care that treats all aspects of addiction and alcoholism. Many individuals come to the Lakehouse with little or no hope of finding joy and contentment in sobriety, only to find themselves amazed at what life has to offer in a short time. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 762-3707


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