Finding Happiness with Peace
Addiction can be described in many ways. Peaceful is not one of them. Problems begin to mount, both internally and externally, that create a world of chaos. Living in a way that requires a person to scratch and claw to get through every day, often throwing out their own personal values in the process, can lead to a lot of personal consequences. Financial consequences, emotional consequences, relationship consequences, legal consequences, physical consequences, can all pile up to an overwhelming sense of misery. Everybody who has been through addiction has their own story, and some suffer steeper consequences than others. The one thing that is probably universal in everybody’s story, however, is a lack of peace in their lives.
I used to have a very different perspective on what it took to feel happy. That word was so complicated to me. How could I ever feel any true happiness with the way my life had gone up until that point? The choices I had made, the people I had disappointed and hurt, the time I had wasted. My old perspective on happiness was skewed by the way I was living. I thought money would make me happy. A big house, nice car, a family one day, how could any of those things be possible for me? I gave zero thought to what would eventually be my true form of happiness. That is not surprising to me given the frame of mind I was in when I was abusing drugs.
The happiness I feel today does not come from money or cars or a house. I have been able to work hard to achieve some of those things and find some form of comfort and self-sufficiency in life. Those achievements do feel good, but they are not what makes me feel happy. My happiness comes from within, the peace that I have from the way I now live my life. The relationships I have with my family and friends are healthy and absent of any wrongdoings by me, and that provides me peace. I no longer wake up with miserable withdrawals or hangovers, I wake up from a peaceful and healthy sleep. I no longer suffer from the physical discomforts of malnutrition or unhealthy living, and that is peaceful. I still go through upsets in life and have my fair share of bad days, but they do not pile up on my shoulders or linger in a way that overwhelms me, and that provides me peace.
The peaceful existence that I have today may not have been possible if I had not gone through and overcome my addiction. I do not know the answer to that. I only know my reality and have a sense that a lot of ex-addicts who find themselves grateful for surviving their addictions may feel the same way. It is quite remarkable to me how much my perspective on happiness has changed in the years since I left my addiction problems in the rear-view mirror. My mind no longer races from place to place, worried and stressed about each decision that I have made and will make. Being in control of my decisions and actions also provides an overwhelming sense of peace. There was rarely a decision or action that I made as an addict that did not have a negative consequence. Today I am able to rationalize and analyze decisions that I make to avoid negative consequences. Instead of chaos, I am at peace with my life.
It is in that peace that I have found happiness. Money comes and goes; problems arise and are solved. Upsets and stress still happen. But so long as I am living my life in a way that brings me peace, nothing can come in the way of my happiness. It is a far cry from the chaos and misery of my addiction and a huge shift in perspective on what I used to think happiness was all about. It makes sense when I think about it, because a huge shift in my lifestyle is bound to bring about a shift in the way I perceive life and the things that are important to me. That would be my message to anyone reading this who may be struggling. Forget the past, focus on right now to protect your future. End the chaos and find your peace. It just might lead to that elusive feeling of happiness.