Few of us ever experienced real happiness or joy until we embraced a life of sobriety. We came to realize that our conception of happiness was skewed– we had been confusing the pleasure and relief provided by drugs and alcohol with genuine happiness. Our reliance on external pleasure and validation became our greatest source of motivation. In sobriety, however, we realized that true happiness was not the result of something external, but came from within ourselves.
Indian spiritual leader Dada Vaswani said, “Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.” Our lack of internal happiness led us to seek comfort in things outside of ourselves, ultimately driving us deeper and deeper into our addictions. We believed that our happiness existed externally and, if we were to be happy, we had to assert control over everything in our lives and the lives of others.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous compares our desire for control to “an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful.” However, this causes the show to be a failure, resulting in the actor becoming blameful, angry, indignant and self-pitying. Just like the actor, our attempts to create happiness by external control only results in inner-conflict, usually leading us to seek comfort in intoxication. If we are to be happy, we must stop looking outwardly and begin looking inwardly.
Our happiness is not dependent on chemically-induced feelings of pleasure, but comes from something greater. We can find it in our hearts, our spiritual connection, and through acts of kindness and service to others. Helen Keller said, “True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” In recovery, we can turn our attention to helping others, enhancing our spiritual lives, and striving to live a life of hope, faith, and courage. Then, we will begin to know serenity and peace of mind as never before.
You can achieve a life of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety. You can make the choice to seek help now and begin the first steps on the rewarding journey of recovery. The Lakehouse Recovery Center is staffed with highly qualified clinicians and substance abuse counselors dedicated to helping you build a brighter future. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 762-3707