Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Finding Happiness

My take on life is that we all want to be happy. That's a safe assumption.

And it's probably safe to say that our ideas of happiness are different. At least to some degree. For example, I find satisfaction in being able to help others in recovery, in helping them have a better life.

For some of us, happiness is being in a relationship. Another might find happiness in satisfying work. Yet another might find it in pursuing education. Or traveling. Or operating a successful business.

Some mistakenly think they might be happier if they had more wealth, health, or beauty. This is according to Ed Diener, who is quoted in Ricard Mathieu's book "Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill."  Diener says "It appears that the way people perceive the world is much more important than are objective circumstances."

This book gives examples of populations, such as in impoverished areas of India, that score high on the scale of happiness and life satisfaction, yet live in circumstances that we Westerners would find appalling.

So what's my point? The point is that for us who are used to finding happiness in a crack pipe, a line of meth, a bottle of Jack Daniels, or a shot of heroin, there are simpler and  less dangerous roads to the Holy Grail of happiness.

We can educate ourselves about what happiness really means to us. And if we take the time to do the work we can learn how to change our perceptions on what's important.

It simply takes practice.