Happiness in Recovery – Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology Defined
[Positive psychology](http://psychology.about.com/od/branchesofpsycholog1/a/positive-psychology.htm) is a branch of psychology that works on making life fulfilling, pleasurable and happy. It aims to emphasize the importance of leading a positive and rewarding life and focusing on the good aspects while not dwelling only on the bad. Positive psychology is based in the belief that happiness is found in every person and disappointments, loss and unhappiness can be countered with positive thinking and strong personal relationships. Genetics are thought to play a significant role in whether a person is more positive and happier than another. However, through experience, personal development and altruism, every person can become a positive and happy individual.

The application of positive psychology can happen in every aspect of a persons’ life, from work to relationships to physical health. If a person believes that they deserve to lead a good, satisfying and pleasurable life, then they can work towards developing relationships that support this belief. Eating nutritious and healthy food, exercising, having intellectual stimulation, sharing time with loving partners and being spiritually aware can all be beneficial. This positive outlook is a necessary step for anyone who is trying to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction and has been living a difficult, unhappy and ignorant life.

Honesty and Trust in Recovery
Recovering from alcohol or drug abuse is a long and difficult path that can only be achieved through honesty and courage. An addict needs to have the courage to admit to their abuse problem and the issues that have contributed to their addiction. It is through this process that people can learn about who they really are, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they can grow into a strong, healthy and happy person. Additionally, substance abusers need to learn to trust themselves and trust others, even in the face of perceived adversity. Having trust in others is not about being weak or cowardly, it is about knowing and having the strength to admit that independence can be achieved with others. We all need other people for everything we do. The clothes we wear are made by others, and the food we eat is grown by others. We need someone to make our vehicles to transport us, and we need people to support us when we are struggling.

Recovering addicts are in an especially rewarding place when they seek out treatment. They have the opportunity to work with people who have a lot of belief in them and want to help them find true happiness. Therapists and doctors work hard to guide a substance abuser into a rewarding, content, happy and peaceful life. In this situation, drugs or alcohol are not needed to make up for any unhappiness.

Courage and Forgiveness in Recovery
[Forgiveness](http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201110/can-you-forgive) is a powerful part of our humanity and allows people to heal and move on with their life. Without compassion and forgiveness, a person will be unable to accept what has happened and grow into a caring and positive person. For some people, it is difficult to forgive, especially if intense pain and suffering is involved. Some people who have drug or alcohol problems have grown up angry, hateful and terrified of things that have occurred in their past and cannot move on. They may have been involved in childhood trauma, abuse, neglect or abandonment, and they may consciously or unconsciously live in this negative world.

Overcoming difficult experiences requires strength, courage and forgiveness. Blame needs to be removed from the equation for a person to truly find happiness and be positive. The trauma can be used as an example of how a person has managed to live a life beyond abuse or neglect and can stand tall without fear. Courage should be built upon the knowledge that recovery is possible, forgiveness is possible and a happy positive life is in the future.

Struggling To Be Happy
Many people in today’s society struggle to be happy and to enjoy themselves. They hold on to jobs that make them miserable, have high stress weekdays and weekends, force themselves to stay in damaging relationships because they think those things cannot be and will not be better. The stresses of money, relationships, jobs and the world at large can burden a person with unnecessary stress and sadness. It can make them have an unhealthy mind and body that leads them to seek out activities, people and places that will help them to ignore their problems and deny their unhappiness. This is when alcohol and drugs are used as a release and as a source of false happiness.

In some cases, individuals do not believe that they deserve to be happy, especially if they have abused drugs or alcohol. Some [co-dependent relationships](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/co-dependency/) are also built on this inequality. [Depression](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/substance-abuse-and-depression/), [anxiety](http://alcoholrehab.com/alcohol-rehab/substance-abuse-and-anxiety/) and other mental illnesses can also cause a person to be stuck in a place of unhappiness and negativity with very little opportunity to move beyond. Seeking help with relationships, drug and alcohol problems and mental illness will equip a person with the confidence to find positive aspects of their life and build upon them.

Living Happy
True happiness is a goal that can be achieved if someone is willing to face up to their problems and forge their own path of happiness. These are some steps that individuals can take to live a happy life:

* Be responsible for making yourself happy and don’t blame others for making you unhappy.
* Give yourself permission to be happy and don’t feel guilty for smiling or laughing.
* Don’t be concerned about what other people think of you and what you are doing.
* Be kind, generous and giving without expectations.

A happy person is someone who fills their time with positive behaviors and feelings. A happy person can admit to themselves and others that they are facing obstacles or having sad thoughts. They can also admit when they need support. A happy person does not base their level of happiness on a job, a material item, a location or another person. They are simply happy and can enjoy each day as it comes. Placing blame on others will not bring relief to a problem, expecting others to fix issues does not lead to happiness. Living with regret and anger will only attract similar feelings.

Through the pain and heartache of addiction, many substance abusers will find the [strength and courage](http://www.troubleblog.com/spirituality/considered-life-addiction-treatment-and-secret-lasting-happiness-0308557) to seek out a happy life. Many will be challenged to build on the positive aspects of their life and repair the worst to ensure that they can live a rewarding life. They will appreciate the small things that make them smile, such as enjoying their children playing, travelling, eating good food, listening to great music or simply enjoying a beautiful sunny day. When a person has overcome significant challenges, devastation, pain and depression, they can truly appreciate what they may have not experienced if they had not been able to move on with their life.

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