When someone who is dependent on alcohol wants to get sober, she is signing up for a very painful process, with very profound rewards.
To get sober, she needs to
1) have at least 1% faith that life would be better without alcohol, and,
2) be willing to experience all the pains of the initial withdrawal and of living a life without the numbing or distracting benefits of alcohol.
She needs to believe,
"Being full awake to the reality of my life is worth all the pain."
This acceptance of pain and commitment to a well-lived life is the formula for sobriety, and the formula for happiness in general.
Happiness isn't feeling good all the time.
There is no quick, pain free formula for a happy life. The multi-billion dollar self-help industry really doesn't want you to know this.
Happiness is Painful. And you can learn to Love the Pain of Happiness.
(I didn't say 'Like it.' 'Loving it' means treating your Pain Lovingly).
Happiness is staying connected to what really matters to you.
Happiness is feeling capable of making daily choices that serve love, beauty, truth, compassion, courage, connection.
Happiness is being willing to feel all the discomfort and pain that comes with saying 'No' to numbing, avoiding, and distracting yourself in ways that betray your commitment to a well-lived life.
Once you can say,
"Being fully awake to the reality of my life is worth all of the pain,"
you are on your way to Happiness.
Oh! Another awesome thing sober folks know?
We can't stay awake to the reality of our lives and tolerate all of the pain and discomfort without other people. In order to stay connected to what matters and to treat your pain lovingly, you need to surround yourself with people who have faith in you and are willing to hold the pain with you.
Find a group. Find a #painfullyhappy buddy. Hire a coach or therapist. But, please, don't go it alone. We can tolerate much more together.
Wishing you a painfully happy day.
With love and optimism,