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Is Happiness Guaranteed Following Rehab?


The reason why people become willing to go to rehab is that they believe it is going to lead to significant improvement in their life. Major change can be a challenge and this is something that people will only be willing to contemplate if they know there is a nice payoff for all this hard work. Entering rehab puts people in a great position to begin changing their life in such a way that it can lead them to happiness. It would be misleading to say, though, that happiness is guaranteed because in many important ways rehab is only the beginning of the process.

No Guarantees in Addiction Recovery

If giving up alcohol or drugs were enough to ensure happiness, there would be no substance abusers left on the planet. The fact is that nobody gets a free ride in life and breaking away from addiction just gets the individual back to where they started. It is from there that they can begin to rebuild and if they go about things the right way, they can then find happiness. In other words, giving up the addiction is like giving people a clean slate and it is then up to them to decide what they are going to do with this new start. If the individual carries on as they always have done, they are likely to keep getting the same results.

There are a number of reasons why happiness is not guaranteed in recovery:

  • The reality is that life is full of vicissitudes and nobody gets to be happy all the time. Getting sober just means that the person may experience a lot more ups than they did in the past.
  • The ability to experience happiness is closely tied in with people’s ability to cope in life. It takes time and effort before individuals in recovery are able to develop appropriate coping skills.
  • If the only change that people make is to give up alcohol or drugs, it is unlikely that they are going to find happiness in recovery.
  • Nobody else can guarantee anything for the person recovering from addiction – it is always going to be up to the individual.
  • It can take a lot of time and work in recovery before people reach a stage where there life is manageable.

The Importance of Realistic Expectations in Recovery

It can be a real mistake for people to go to rehab and expect that this is going to make their life perfect right away. This type of unrealistic expectation is a way for people to set themselves up for failure. It will mean that when they find that their life is just one constant bliss trip, they can become disillusioned and disappointed. They can then use the negative feelings as an excuse to relapse.

The sort of results that people can reasonably expect following rehab includes those we have listed below.

  • There will be some immediate improvements in their life due to giving up the substance abuse.
  • So long as the person makes an effort to build a strong sobriety, they will experience steady improvements in their life over time.
  • The individual can realistically expect to have days, even in early recovery, where they feel happier than they ever felt during the midst of addiction.
  • The person should find that they become better at coping with life the longer they remain sober.
  • Those people who continue to work on their recovery should find that they become much better at dealing with the challenging times.
  • The bad days in recovery are usually nowhere near as bad as the bad days in addiction.
  • The individual should enjoy an inner sense of being on the right track.

Serenity in Recovery

The way for people in recovery to enjoy long periods of happiness is for them to develop serenity. This is a situation where they individual is able to cope with life so well that they enjoy an almost constant sense of inner peace. This level of happiness occurs because of developing emotional sobriety. It means that the individual has successfully faced so many challenges in life that they now have a full set of coping strategies that allow them to deal with anything. It can take many years before people in recovery reach this stage of serenity, but it is an attainable goal so long as individuals are willing to put in the required effort.

How to Find Happiness Following Rehab

The key to finding happiness in recovery is to have realistic expectations of what is possible. It is also vital that the individual is willing to keep on making the effort needed to develop new and more effective coping strategies. During their stay in rehab, the individual will have the opportunity to pick up some new coping tools, but it is only when they return to the new world that they can start to try these out. Different approaches to the challenges in life work for different people, so it can take time before the individual finds the best set of tools that will work for them.

The other key to finding happiness following rehab is to be always willing to change. The most common reason why people become miserable in life is that they become stuck. Falling into addiction is just one example of becoming stuck. If people become stuck in recovery, it can be particularly dangerous because it can easily lead to relapse. The best way to avoid becoming stuck is to always be willing to face any challenges that come our way.

Another way that people can increase their happiness in recovery is to appreciate what they have. Progress can occur so slowly in recovery that people will just take the improvements in their life for granted. One of the best ways to avoid missing these improvements is to keep a gratitude journal. The secret to happiness is that the happy people are the ones who are able to see all the good things while the miserable ones can only see the bad things. By keeping a gratitude journal, it helps people focus on the good things.

One other important aspect of happiness is that people need other people. Those individuals who have an addictive personality are usually prone to self-absorption. This means that they spend far too much time inside of their own heads. It is not necessary to become an extreme extrovert to be happy but human connection is vital if people want to get the most out of life.

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