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Finding an Internal Source of Happiness

For many of us, the only time we felt any sense of happiness was when we were drinking or using. We had deluded ourselves into believing that we could not be happy without something external, whether it be drugs and alcohol or material things and relationships. In sobriety, we found that our happiness was not contingent upon anything outside of ourselves. There was a wellspring of untapped happiness inside of ourselves that we had cut ourselves off from by relying on the external.

Addiction creates all sorts of problems with our mental health and expectations. We live with a constant reliance on substances to dictate our mood and sense of wellbeing at any given moment. Drugs and alcohol certainly made us feel good and provided a sense of relief, but we still were not happy. We confused feelings of external pleasure with internal happiness. Dr. Margaret Paul, in a 2015 Huffington Post article entitled The Difference Between Happiness and Pleasure, explains, “Pleasurable experiences can give us momentary feelings of happiness, but this happiness does not last long because it is dependent upon external events and experiences. We have to keep on having the good experiences — more food, more drugs or alcohol, more money, more sex, more things — in order to feel pleasure. As a result, many people become addicted to these external experiences, needing more and more to feel a short-lived feeling of happiness.” Pleasure is fleeting and dependent upon external sources, but happiness is possible without any external source.

The Dalai Lama said, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” In recovery, we engage in actions that go directly against the selfishness and self-centeredness that overtook us in addiction. We do our best to live by a code of love and tolerance of others, and be of help to anyone we can. Through the altruism of carrying the message of recovery to others, we are given a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives that we had always longed for. Our thoughts, behaviors, actions, and reactions to life are shifted, and we finally discover a source of happiness that is not dependent on drugs, alcohol, or anything external.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431