There was a time in my life when Positive Polly annoyed the shit out of me. I was Negative Nancy at the time, and just fine being my miserable self. There were other seasons in life when I was so depressed I could hardly shower, let alone allow happy thoughts to emerge from the storm I was in. The thing with life though, is that everything seems to happen in seasons. Those seasons ultimately result in growth, but growth is never comfortable.
While I can’t say my life is perfect since I’ve found recovery and I’m living the sober life, I can say that I’ve found a new love for life that I hadn’t had before. I think part of it has to do with the clear head, and part of it has to do with my relationship with my higher power. I have more faith than I’ve ever had, and that really helps me love the life I’m living, even if it’s less than ideal circumstances.
I think often times we make the mistake of giving our circumstances too much power. We allow them to dictate our lives, instead of allowing our life to dictate our circumstances. We often have it backwards.
Here are some tips and tricks I learned along my journey that have helped me fall in love with life.
Embrace the suck. It’s a saying we use in the military. It’s definitely a mindset that can be used in recovery as well. Sometimes, the suck is inevitable. It absolutely sucks that I can never sit down and have a beer or a trendy glass of wine. But I’ve learned that hangovers and regret suck too, so either way, I am forced to embrace the suck that is. I’ve found a sense of humor in sobriety that was lost long ago. The internet is full of sarcastic folks like me that have learned to embrace the suck. A good chuckle is always available on the internet.
Every day is a new day..and hopefully it begins with coffee. You’ve heard it a million times, but until you’ve experienced a truly terrible day, its cliche right? I don’t know how many nights I’ve hit the bed and thanked God that tomorrow I get a do over. Ever had one of those days you’d like to tell your kids or spouse to piss off, or maybe you spend your day at work fantasizing about a glorious exit strategy similar to the epic movie, Office Space. Maybe it’s just one of those days where shit just keeps piling up. I’ve been there, whispering WTF at least a hundred times in one day really sucks. What I’ve learned though, is eventually the day will end, and if you’re lucky, a new one will begin again tomorrow.
Don’t compare your journey. Remove the word should from your vocabulary of life philosophy. “Life shouldn’t be this hard”, or “life shouldn’t be this way” is a whiney excuse for what is. What changed my comparison struggle for good, was finding like minded people in recovery on a similar journey as me.
What I found in sobriety, was that authentic, genuine, humble, broken, damaged people are my people. I found my tribe in recovery, a gang of folks who aren’t afraid to admit their faults, and who have a zest for life, like no other.
Social media is full of bullshit tales of glorious lives people are pretending to live (unless you’re following your recovery tribe of course). We live in a time where fantasy and reality are blended into whatever we want to present to the world at the moment. Comparing my Instagram feed to someone elses is a fruitless and disappointing venture. But, we all do it. I have to remind myself daily that this is my journey. The grass is greener when I water my own damn lawn, and stop looking at the neighbors. Unless of course, they want to share their fertilizer.
Release endorphins. Daily. There’s science to happy brains. Think about your brain chemistry for just a minute. When you’re living the sober life, your brain is not functioning the way it was while you were using. While using, it was being fueled by whatever substance or behavior you were addicted to, right? By nature those who struggle with addiction, struggle with impulse control and with thrill seeking behavior. Those who struggle with substance use disorder also have a tendency to struggle with a co-occurring disorder (i.e. depression or anxiety, bipolar, etc.) For more on that click here. My advice is to determine what it is that releases those endorphins in a healthy manner, and do it daily. Whether it’s a workout, music, or puppies, just do it. I personally have to take antidepressants, work out daily, pray, and eat healthy things to have proper brain balance and endorphin release. Again, your journey is yours and it might look a little different, and that’s totally ok.
So, the things that have helped me in my journey towards falling in love with life are embracing the suck, remembering that every day is a new day, stopping the comparison game, and releasing endorphins and maintaining serotonin balance. My circumstances change all the time. There are still seasons that absolutely suck, but committing to these 4 mantras has helped me get through the tough times, while still loving life. Committing to these mantras has helped me because no matter who is in my life, or what life throws at me, I can remain positive. People will come and go, and seasons will change. What you’re left with is life. Don’t just enjoy it, learn to fall in love with it again. I promise it will be worth it.
Stay sober my friends!