Recovering from addiction is difficult. There are numerous physical, mental, and emotional changes one must make in order to be successful. One of the most important aspects of recovery is figuring out what makes someone happy. While everyone’s definition of happiness is different, it is critical to help people discover what makes them happy and how to achieve it.
Happiness is an important piece of recovery. It can be critical to maintaining sobriety and encouraging people through some of the hardships they may endure during the process. Some ways in which happiness promotes successful sobriety include:
- Happy people may be less likely to relapse: When people achieve happiness and enjoy their sober life, they are more likely to fight to keep it. Those who are unable to find happiness in sobriety are more likely to relapse.
- Happiness is an achievement: Many people in recovery have experienced trauma or negative situations that have contributed to their addiction. Happiness is something that should be a goal of recovery.
- Happiness is a goal for friends and family: A person’s recovery can help address the needs of family and friends as well. Seeing a person successfully navigate recovery can alleviate worries and stresses loved ones may experience.
- Happiness encourages growth and development: For many in recovery, happiness is often achieved through growth and development. As people begin to make changes, they often experience more happiness. Healthier outlooks improve happiness, due to both improved emotional intelligence as well as the development of better coping mechanisms.
Letting Go in Recovery
In many ways, recovery is a process of letting go. It is not just letting go of the addiction itself, but also the behaviors that enable it. Some of the things you must release in order to progress in recovery include:
- Being a victim: Addiction is painful and many who struggle with it believe they have been victimized. Addiction hurts more than just the person who is affected by it—their family and loved ones are also often exposed to pain and struggle as a result. Avoiding the victim mentality is critical, and letting go of it is just as important. It does not contribute positively to recovery. Rather than falling into that mindset, focus on what makes you happy and list the things for which you are grateful. This can help keep things in perspective when times get tough.
- Beating yourself up: Everyone makes mistakes and often those in recovery struggle with letting go of their past. Similarly to the victim mindset, beating yourself up for past actions or experiences does not contribute positively to recovery. Rather than focusing on things you cannot change, focus on how you can learn and grow from those experiences. Calling yourself names, or thinking poorly of yourself—especially if you have experienced relapse—will not help you get back on your feet. Recovery is not easy, and beating yourself up will not make the process more successful.
- Comparing yourself to others: It can be easy to lose sight of your progress when you continuously compare yourself to others. Each person is in a different stage of recovery and has varying experiences. It is also easy to view other people’s lives unrealistically. This is especially true when viewing others through the lens of social media or online representation. People often only share what they want others to know, and can leave out the other, less positive aspects of their lives.
- Trying to be perfect: It is impossible to be perfect, and the journey in recovery will not be without mistakes or steps back. It is important to consider the bigger picture and how everything contributes to your overall success. Without mistakes or setbacks, you would be unable to learn and grow as a result. Giving your all, learning from your experiences, and setting realistic goals is the best you can do.
- Waiting until the right moment: There is no such thing as “the right time”. People may put off entering recovery because they are waiting for what they think is the right time, but truthfully, there is no perfect moment. Achieving sobriety is a decision you should make now. There is no right time; getting help for addiction does not become easier as more time passes. The sooner you begin your journey, the sooner you can enjoy the successes of sobriety.
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