Sober Happiness?


In recent years, the pursuit of happiness has become a distinct field of study, with numerous academic experts and life coaches offering insights through books, articles, and various public appearances. I found sobriety at just the right time to track this subject, and I’m eager to share my findings.

As a generally happy individual, my hope is to share my experience rather than just my opinion. If you ask me, I will tell you that I am generally happy.

There are countless publications offering “how-to” lists for achieving happiness. Of these many guides, I find philanthropist Ray Chambers’s “Five Keys to Happiness” particularly impactful due to its simplicity and clarity. His five keys are:

  1. Live in the moment.
  2. Choose to be loving over being right.
  3. Be an observer of your thoughts, especially when emotional.
  4. Be grateful for at least one thing every day.
  5. Help others whenever you get the opportunity.

These principles closely align with teachings found in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The correlations between AA’s advice and Chamber’s keys to happiness should be apparent:

  1. “One day at a time.”
  2. “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?”
  3. “Pause when agitated.”
  4. “You’re sober today because you were grateful yesterday!”
  5. The principle of Step 12 in AA.

The Long-Term Happiness Approach

In my experience, sustaining happiness over the long term requires attention to a few additional areas beyond Ray Chambers’s list:

  1. Regular exercise.
  2. Engaging in meaningful work.
  3. Investing time and effort in maintaining relationships.

While these recommendations and principles are beneficial, they become truly effective only when one is sober. For someone struggling with alcohol, happiness can be elusive, and plans for achieving it often fall apart.

First and foremost, if you want to journey towards happiness, sobriety is the crucial first step. From there, integrating the principles of happiness into your daily life becomes a truly transformative experience.

Discover more from Pause When Agitated – AA Wisdom

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