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As we’re working to heal, we learn that recovery is about more than sobriety. Abstinence is an important element of shedding our dependence on our addictive substance or behavior, but we need to tackle our recovery holistically to give us the best chance of being successful. Happiness is one of the most important ingredients in having a lasting recovery and creating meaningful change in our lives. Our addictions are our attempts at happiness, albeit misguided and self-destructive. We are trying to escape our pain and distract ourselves from our difficult thoughts and emotions with our drugs of choice. We’re constantly trying to get back to the feeling of happiness and relief we get from our high. When we’re in recovery, we start to discover the importance of genuine happiness, and we learn that drugs cannot provide us with this, only we can. Our happiness is something we can generate from within. Any external source of happiness is usually temporary and superficial. It doesn’t bring us true satisfaction or fulfillment. It doesn’t help us to find our way or discover our purpose in life.

True happiness is a powerful tool in our healing. It helps us to keep sight of our goals and gives us a tangible desired feeling we’re striving for. When we keep our goals for happiness and peace of mind at the forefront of our recovery work, we’re more likely to be able to withstand the temptation of addictive urges and compulsions. We’re better able to stay the course of our sobriety, because we have happiness to look forward to. We have a reason to do the work we’re doing. When we prioritize our happiness, our recovery efforts are not empty, they are given a purpose for us to try to fulfill.

Living with addiction, we can forget what it was like to feel happy. Happiness feels elusive to us, distant, foreign and unfamiliar. It can help to access our past memories, of childhood, of happier times, before our addictions and mental illnesses set in and took over our lives. We can try to remember what our hobbies, interests and passions were. We can try to recollect what motivated us, what drove us to be better and do better in our lives, what made us feel at peace, centered and whole. When we focus on these things and apply them to our lives, they become powerful tools in our recovery work.

Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you get back the life you love. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.