But what does it actually mean to be happy?
For so long that was my aim - be happy. I tried all the geographical, living in different countries, new friends, new jobs, new clothes, faster cars, you get the picture. Problem was that through all of this I was left with one thing - me.
Today, over 3 years clean & sober, I am happy. Not jumping on pink clouds in some oblivious haze, just content with my lot.
Happiness for me is not needing to look outside myself to change how I feel. It's accepting who I am. It's being able to look in the mirror and like what I see. To be living a life that fits in with my values.
Happiness to me is being authentic, being surrounded by people who I enjoy and respect.
And the best part is, that through being authentic and not looking for things to fix me, I've ended up living the kind of life I could only have dreamed about while I was still using. I live & work in Thailand, help recovering addicts, am engaged to a man I love, have honest & real friendships, am financially stable for the first time in my life, and most importantly I'm not faced with that desperate despair which help me captive for so long.
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't always easy. My first sponsor used to answer my cries of 'when will this get better' with a calm 'it will pass Natalie, just don't give up yet, the miracle will happen for you' and you know what, it did. It passed and I don't even know how it happened but there came a point I realised I hadn't been sad in a long time, you could even say I was happy, I hadn't even seen it coming!
Happiness to me is living my life and not needing it to be different. And that's what my life in recovery has given me. They say the steps are a plan for living, tools to face life. And how true is that for me. I am self-aware on a journey of growth, discovery and service to others. I have a faith today in the Unknown, it no longer scares me. I feel so lucky to have recovery from addiction in my life and to be living this life of sobriety. Putting down the drink & drugs was only the start. Sure there are tough days, but they don't pull me into depression & anxiety the way they used to in my addiction.
"I spent a lifetime searching for this idea of happiness, all along it was within me, I just didn't know how to access it"
So, 10 reasons why recovering addicts are the happiest people in the world
1. We live a life of honesty.
2. We help each other.
3. We are no longer living in self-obsession.
4. We are authentic.
5. We have a support network.
6. We are not ruled by fear.
7. We have opportunities in life.
8. We don't have to have all the answers anymore. (What a relief!)
9. We are able to give and receive love.
10. There is a solution for us.
10 reasons why recovering addicts are the happiest people in the world by Natalie