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Tips on Finding Happiness in Early Sobriety

Finding happiness is crucial while in recovery.  Not only does it promote growth and development, it also reduces the motivation to relapse.  But attaining it isn’t always so easy -- especially when we’ve relied on drugs and alcohol for that perceived “happiness” in the past. 

Leaving behind the familiar can be difficult, and we can second-guess the new path we’ve taken.  But with a lot of hard work and patience, happiness in early sobriety IS possible.  Here’s how to get there:

Put “You” First

Self-care is more important now than ever, especially since it was probably the last thing on your mind while you were in the midst of your addiction.    The first thing that should be on your to-do list?  Get more sleep!  Not getting enough shut-eye results in increased stress levels and a decreased ability to effectively make decisions – both factors that can lead to relapse.  Regular exercise is crucial now, too.  Sweating it out on a regular basis gives you more energy and enhanced feelings of well-being – all which make life much more enjoyable and manageable.

Let Go

Recovery is not just about letting go of the addiction itself, but also of the behaviors that enabled it for so long.  These include grudge-holding, victim mentality and self-blame – all behaviors that bring you down, keep you stuck in the past and zap your happiness level. 

Start Goal-Setting

Putting your goals down on paper – both short and long-term ones – and reading them aloud each day is a simple exercise that can give you both perspective and purpose.  Once you achieve something on your list, you’ll feel more accomplished, which will empower you to believe that long-term sobriety, too, is attainable. 

Practice Gratitude

Those who are grateful for what they have experience a great deal of happiness.  They don’t focus on what they’re lacking or what everyone else has – they simply are appreciative for all they’ve been given.  Developing this positive attitude is important in recovery because it not only leads to a sense of satisfaction in your life, but it prevents you from sliding back into stinking thinking that can result in relapse.

Forgive Others

This one’s a big one, but holding onto grudges only negatively affects you, not the other person your feelings are directed to.  Letting go of pain and resentment towards others, then, makes way for happiness to settle into your heart and allows you to move forward with your own life. 

Manage Expectations

In the beginning, it’s important to come to grips with the idea that sobriety doesn’t automatically make all your problems go away.  It’s going to take some time for you to adjust to this new way of living and for you to build a happy life.  But knowing this ahead of time will keep your expectations in check, and you will be less likely to get discouraged and turn to drinking or drugging to cope.