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.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happiness Formula

We addicts are sometimes so unhappy. But why?

It usually goes back to the idea that we want something we don't have.

The past few days I spent time with addicts who were unhappy. One was in tears over I don't know what. Another was angry. One had a dark cloud of depression over his head. But why?

I'm not 100% sure.  But I know that each had the same core issue: they wanted something they didn't have. One wanted more freedom. Another to be in a relationship. Another needed a job. One didn't like being on restriction.

None accepted the idea that their unfulfilled wants made them unhappy. They were looking at externals.

If only they could have the things or situations they were grasping for they'd be okay. They wanted what they wanted and right now. Not having what they wanted equaled unhappiness.

A wise person gave me these two keys to happiness:

  • The first was that at this moment I accept everything about myself and my life. 

  • The second was that I don't want things I don't already have or can't easily get.

And this is true. If I'm satisfied with where I am and with what I have, then everything's perfect. And that means my marriage, my income, my home, my age, and so forth. Everything.

At some point I came to realize that the next great thing doesn't bring happiness. Maybe a temporary rush until the newness wore off. But that soon becomes an empty cycle.

So, to recap, the secret is that we accept what's going on at this moment. And we don't want anything in life we don't have right now.

That's happiness.

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