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Finding Happiness and Clarity after Addiction

At times, Talk Therapy Psychology Center hosts articles and important announcements from our partners and clients. Here is a meaningful post from one of our regular contributors, Joe Cervantes:

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama

Our addictions are so often shrouded in negativity and unhappiness. That unhappiness often carries directly over into life after addiction even despite abstaining. Let’s face it, changing certain behavior is hard. Life after addiction often brings past negativity to the surface so we can deal with it head on. It’s not always fun. But ultimately life without addiction gives us the chance to celebrate the positive aspects of life on a daily basis and discover unique moments of profound happiness and clarity.

Good things happen almost automatically when we eliminate an addictive behavior from our life. But even better things happen when we couple our abstinence with the deliberate creation of a new and improved lifestyle for ourselves.

  • Our confidence and self-esteem increases.
  • We become more healthy.
  • We look better.
  • We strengthen our relationships and connections with others.
  • We discover moments of bliss that are way better than being intoxicated.
  • We refocus our energy on more beneficial things like health, family and career.
  • We take greater risks.
  • We get organized.
  • We set goals.
  • We save money.
  • We write books, start businesses, and take dream vacations.
  • We finally start living!

But happiness and clarity don’t always come easy, especially to those new to life without addiction. Remember, you’re going through significant changes when you make the decision to kick your vice or take on a major lifestyle shift. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times, and you might feel the walls closing in on you on occasion. You might sometimes miss the relationship you had with your habit. You might experience withdrawals. You might have to say I’m sorry to someone or right some wrongs that you’ve committed. You might lose some friends. Life after addiction might seem like a dark place at times–so dark you might even question why you’re even trying and be tempted to go back to your old way of life.

But there is a way out of the darkness. The key to happiness in life after addiction seems to be a fine balance between patience, dedication to the work, setting specific goals, having a solid support system, living in the present moment, and perhaps most importantly, having a relentless attitude for success. Your attitude drives every decision you make and gives YOU control over your own happiness. Your happiness is ultimately up to you. Not your therapist or a rehab center. Not your partner or spouse. Not your friends or a judge. Your happiness is completely up to you!

Combine your positive attitude with action and you’ll immediately reach the island of happiness. The Dalai Lama reminds us that “happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Often we think of happiness as some distant island in a far off place that we need to swim to. The waters between us and the island might represent the struggles we are facing in our newfound abstinence. But happiness is not out there on some distant shore. It is found in the satisfaction of our work and in our forward momentum. It is found in the countless hours of action we invest in ourselves and toward a better life. If we have an unwavering attitude of success and are willing to commit to the work, we will ultimately discover a profound level of happiness and clarity in life after addiction.

About the Author:

Joseph Cervantes is an advocate for the de-stigmatizing of addiction and for the development of progressive treatment approaches. As a writer in the addiction treatment space and former community organizer he has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of individuals struggling with various addictions and mental health issues. Having completed several IOP and inpatient programs himself over the past 20 years, he offers a unique perspective into the treatment and recovery experience through both a “patient” and “practitioner” lens.

At the Talk Therapy Psychology Center, we strive to give you the right tools to cope, the skills to deal with setbacks, and the ability to believe in, rely on your own strengths.