Happiness is something that almost everyone strives for. But, what if we told you that you should stop trying so hard to search for happiness? There are so many other things you can focus on that will bring you lasting joy. While happiness comes momentarily from materialistic things and big moments, joy is a way of life that we should all be working at harnessing. Your recovery isn’t just about remaining sober. It’s about practicing the many things that lead to joy.
Recovery Means Being Vulnerable
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity,” says Brené Brown, researcher and author, in her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. “It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
You can’t do recovery without vulnerability. It just isn’t possible. When you have decided that you need to stop using and abusing substances, you must have the courage to be vulnerable and ask for help. No one does recovery alone. Vulnerability is necessary if you want to be successful in your recovery from substance use. Brown further notes in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, that numbing emotions doesn’t happen on its own.
If you’ve decided to numb the painful emotions — possibly with alcohol or drugs — you are also numbing the positive emotions. The more you do this, the farther joy feels. Although you may feel momentary happiness while using, the way of life that is joy is out of your reach.
Dare to Find Your Meaning
Instead of searching so hard for happiness in your recovery, get comfortable with the idea of living a life full of joy. By striving for joy, you open yourself up to a life full of many wonderful things. Having the courage to find meaning will bring you long-lasting joy. Having the courage to be vulnerable will bring you a long-lasting sense of comfort. Having the courage to seek meaning will bring you a long-lasting recovery.
Finding your meaning means that you seek out experiences and connections that align with your values. Letting your values guide you helps lead to joy. For example, valuing sobriety means that you work hard in your recovery. You avoid substances and actively practice self-care that will bring you closer to what you believe in. If you are struggling with finding your meaning, ask yourself what relationships you want to be building that will further your recovery.
Do you want to be associating with people that abuse substances while you are in recovery? Will doing so help you become better in your recovery? Truly thinking about your relationships and how they impact your recovery is a necessary step to finding your meaning. Next, you can ask yourself what you want your life to reflect. Do you want to be seen as someone who is working hard at their recovery, doing the very best that they can to stay sober because they know that is what is good for them?
Or, do you want your life to reflect the old habits you had of using and abusing substances to find momentary happiness? It’s time to take note of what your life currently reflects and if that is truly what you want to be portraying to others. Lastly, ask yourself what you would do if you knew it was your last day on earth. Would you be spending your time doing what you are currently doing? Or, would you be doing something completely different? We know our days are numbered, but we don’t often live a life that reflects this knowledge. Dare to find meaning. This is what brings you lasting joy.
Living too much in the past or too much in the future can only bring worry into your life. Instead of focusing on things that are out of your control, work on keeping yourself in the present moment. It’s a powerful thing to live in the moment. Appreciating each day for what it is — a new day to further act on your values — is a way to bring lasting joy to your life. It’s a way to cultivate love and let go of shame, blame, disrespect, and betrayal, says Brown.
Being present also means finding a balance. Instead of allowing yourself to ride the recovery rollercoaster, get off the rollercoaster when it is safe to do so. Learn to observe your emotions and realize that you are not your emotions. You have the control and the ability to be present and find your meaning.
Own Your Recovery
We’ll wrap up leaving you with this quote from Brené Brown: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Sober Life is here to help you learn vulnerability, find your meaning, and be present so that you can own your recovery. Doing so will bring you lasting joy. Call us today at 1-619-542-9542. We can’t wait to speak with you and help get you the help you need. Call us now!