They say “time flies”, but for some reason they never say “life flies”. At the end of the day, aren’t time and life synonymous? It might depend on perception of course, but think about it. There are 60 seconds within a minute. Happenstance there are also 60 minutes within an hour. Of those hours, there are 24 that make up a day. 7 of these days are added to make a week. The weeks turn into months as the months evolve into years, and before you know it time has vanished right before our eyes. Excuse me, I mean life.
We work our jobs, pay our bills, and contribute to society as deemed fit by 21st century standards. We sheeple into the great rat race of robotic nature doing what is expected of us as we chop wood, carry water, chop wood, and carry water, etc. We eat, play, and sleep. Or is it eat, pray, love? Either way, it gets monotonous of course. It also gets tiring, stressful, and spawns existential paranoia for some of us. Yet there is no pause button that we can click for any of it. Time waits for no man, and life harass’ every woman it can. So what can we do when all of it starts to get heavy and we begin feeling unhappy in recovery?
First of all- whether in active addiction, just dipping our toes into sobriety, or fully committed to the recovery process, the Charlie Brown rain cloud can follow any of us. Feeling unhappy in recovery isn’t precipitated just from the negative energy of depression or the simplicity of having a bad day. ‘Happiness comes from within, and to better understand that one must better understand themselves.
If we wake up every morning and decide to be positive, despite whatever our current circumstances, we will remain happy. On the contrary, if we wake up and decide to be negative, then most of the day will probably be like a wet blanket in the sand. We brew the storm of misery inside, harnessing negative emotion and unknowingly giving whatever it is we’re thinking power. This is what allows the clouds to gather in the first place.
After we are (re)introduced to sobriety in some capacity, our emotions come flooding back to us. Most of us forgot what these are; we forgot how to feel. However, as we become reacquainted, it’s crucial we remember that we have the power to control these emotions through perspective. You see, there’s always another side of the coin to any and every situation you find yourself in. If we begin feeling unhappy in recovery, taking control of that unhappiness can change the mindset. Seems so simple on paper.
Keeping Your Chin Up
Obviously it’s through our alcoholic exploits and chemically woven endeavors that most of us began our emotional slump. Even so, after we’d gotten clean, shouldn’t we have begun feeling happy? Isn’t that how this works?
Well it is and it isn’t. Alcoholism is the culprit to our melancholy, not the substances. Alcoholism is a disease of the mind that persuades the person inflicted to think a particular way. Most of this particular thinking is built around obsession. Yet just because the obsession is relieved, doesn’t mean the all the problems involved are. Coming back around from feeling unhappy in recovery takes work. It’s not something that can just be wished away. Although we can control our emotions, which is a good start, there are other things that must be done to combat the doom and gloom. Aside from the basics of recovery like finding a sponsor, working the 12 steps, and attending meetings, a few other things can include:
- Volunteering/Giving Back
- Keeping a Gratitude List
- Sharing/Vocalizing Your Unhappiness
- Positive Reinforcement
- Chanting a Specific Mantra to Yourself
When you push, life will pull. Whatever you put into life is usually what you’re going to get back. That can be interpreted as kharma or just reaping what you sow. When we cheat ourselves short of what were capable of doing, then we’re barely living. This would give anybody a reason to feel unhappy in recovery.
The Gift That Keeps Giving
On another note, feeling unhappy in recovery should be a pun, although sadly it’s not. Fortunately recovery helps deliver the building blocks for enhanced positivity in life. These building blocks would be nearly impossible to amass while using. These blocks educate us on the importance of selflessness and fellowship. They teach us that life is all about helping each other through it. No single person on planet Earth can make it without help at some point.
Recovery doesn’t specifically focus on acts of altruism, but kindness goes a long way and does wonders for the soul. It’s really as organic as medicine gets. This can be as simple as holding a door open for a stranger, being there in somebody’s time of need/grief, or helping a friend haul twelve and a half human sized boxes into a U-haul. No none of this will keep you sober per say, but it’ll make that sobriety so much more worth it. Happy, joyous, and free. Feeling unhappy in recovery, or rather finding happiness in recovery, boils down to love. It’s about loving yourself enough to love others and loving yourself enough to stop negativity from holding you back.