This is not a trivial question, and it crosses the mind of every human being at least a few times in their life. This question gets asked often when we are new to recovery. For many of us, our lives are in shambles when we get here. We’ve been through a really rough time. And so many changes in early recovery that before we have any firsthand experience with the 12-Steps, we genuinely wonder if we’ll ever be happy again.
It’s a legitimate question, sure. But the answer is an unequivocal, “yes!” You will be happy. If you’ve never been happy, you’ll finally know what happiness is like. If you used to be happy, but it’s been a while, you will be happy again. Happiness is something that we all deserve and is attainable for everyone. No matter what you were like before or what your life is like right now, you can be happy. You deserve to be happy.
At Jaywalker Lodge, we wholeheartedly believe that recovery is not about punishment for our past, but it is truly about the promise of a bright and beautiful future in recovery. We believe that recovery and happiness are possible for anyone. For alcoholics and addicts, the road to happy destiny begins with our first step into the 12-Step program of recovery.
Will I ever be happy? The short answer is “yes,” but let’s look at the long answer.
Happiness in Recovery
Recovery is described by the co-founder of the 12-Step program, Bill Wilson, as “the fourth dimension of existence.” He also said about his recovery, “I was to know happiness, peace, and usefulness, in a way of life that is incredibly more wonderful as time passes.” The book Alcoholics Anonymous often referred to as the Big Book, has a lot to say about happiness. It also teaches us about our disease of alcoholism and addiction and lays out the 12-Step solution for us to follow.
What would life in recovery be if we were just as miserable and hurt as before? No kind of life at all. Recovery is very much about healing and happiness. The Big Book says, “We absolutely insist on enjoying life.” And it’s true — we insist that you enjoy your life in recovery! The Big Book also says, “We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us.” Misery was our disease, but in recovery, we can learn to leave that behind.
For most of us, being “happy, joyous, and free” sounds like exactly the kind of life we want to live. And now you can find just that kind of life in recovery.
Get Out of Your Own Way
For many of us, we don’t even realize we’re standing in our own way when it comes to happiness. Think about it this way: maybe we’re a little out of shape, and it’s starting to hurt our body. Getting healthier might make us feel better and help us be happier. Right? So, what do we do about it? If we keep eating junk food and sitting on the couch, then we’re standing in our own way when it comes to feeling better and being happier. We can’t expect to become happy while we’re hurting ourselves. But what if we started trying to move more and eat a little better? Well, then we’d be helping ourselves along the road to happiness.
Let’s make an effort to really think about how we’re hurting ourselves and blocking our happiness. We also have to let ourselves understand and truly believe that not only can we be happy, but we deserve to be happy. This feeling of deservingness can be hard for some of us, but it’s crucial. If necessary, a therapist might be able to help us work through it.
Your Happiness Makes the World a Better Place
Everyone wants to be happy, but so many of us don’t think it’s even possible. We pin our happiness onto crazy fantasies and get discouraged that we don’t win the lottery or become a famous movie star. But happiness has nothing to do with any of our circumstances. In fact, our happiness has a magical way of tending to change our circumstances. It doesn’t work the other way around — our circumstances can’t make us happy, but our happiness can change our circumstances.
Happiness, joy, and freedom are an inside job that requires us to work the 12-Steps with a sponsor, engage in fellowship, and be of service to others. The more we do these things, the happier we will be. The best part is, the happier we are, the more we want to do these things. Even better than that, the happier we are, the happier we make other people.
The program of recovery tells us that our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and our fellows. Becoming happy makes us better at our purpose — and the happier we are, the more we can help others.
Everyone deserves to be happy, but happiness is also an important part of your purpose in recovery. Your happiness makes the world a better place. Your happiness makes others happy. Our goal in recovery is to be of service to others, and sometimes being happy is the best service we can do for them. We treat people better when we’re happy. We’re more helpful, hopeful, and generous. At Jaywalker Lodge, we know that happiness is possible for anyone, and we believe that you deserve to be happy. Most alcoholics and addicts like us will never know happiness until we abandon ourselves to the 12-Step program and lifestyle of recovery. But once we make this leap of faith, we are rewarded with happiness, joy, and freedom, the likes of which we never thought possible. But it is possible for you — and you deserve it. Your journey can begin right now. Call Jaywalker Lodge at (866) 529-9255.