“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” -Denis Waitley
I realized this morning that I have been chasing after and depending on things that will never bring me peace, much like I did when I was still drinking and using. Now I am trying to find happiness in recovery. Except now I am depending on other peoples’ behaviors and things in life going my way instead of pills or vodka. Lately I feel like I spend half my day in a rush of anxiety, always watching everybody else to make sure they’re not doing something wrong. Some of it is actually part of my job because I am in charge of the farm workers and overseeing the house. But a larger part of the angst I feel is because I’m not “letting go and letting God” like its said in the rooms of 12 Step recovery.
Happiness in Recovery
Letting go and letting God is a choice that we all must make each and every moment. When we feel like we’re craving alcohol or drugs, or we’re feeling anxious, angry, depressed or helpless, we have limited but powerful choices at our disposal now that we are in recovery. We aren’t being pulled around by the nose anymore by our addictions and character defects. We have the choice to grow into better people and evolve spiritually using the 12 Steps as our guide.
Now we can choose to be cheerful, we can choose to be hopeful, and we can choose to be kind. We can choose to turn to our Higher Power when we’re scared or angry or even excited. We can take slow deep breaths, cry and express our emotions, enjoy one of our new hobbies, call a friend in the Fellowship or our Sponsor. When negative feelings and thoughts arise, we now have a choice to turn toward something more spiritual and peaceful.
Before getting into recovery, I accepted my negative thoughts and feelings as the truth. That was one of my greatest downfalls and blocks from happiness. It never occurred to me that maybe the constant fear I had of other people and life in general was actually not real at all. Most of it was a figment of my alcoholic and addict thinking.
The truth is that my Higher Power approves of me, and loves me, and life is not some scary thing I have to escape from using any means possible (like drugs and alcohol). No amount of manipulating or controlling from my little human ego will make anything better.
Today, we have the choice to float. Just for today. We can take deep breaths, go to a meeting, stay connected to the Fellowship and to our Higher Power, and see what happens when we fully let go and let God. We can see what happens when, just for today, we are kind no matter what. We might fall flat on our faces and decide control and fear and anger is serving us better. But, like I reminded myself this morning, maybe not.
Maybe today God will show me how much peace I can have when I look to see Him everywhere, in everything. Just for today. I can’t even fathom being cheerful ALL day tomorrow or for the rest of the week, but I think I can do it just for today. That’s another one of the many beautiful sayings in recovery that reminds us that we don’t have to worry about tomorrow. All we can do is do our best today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.