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How to Create Joy

Often people view getting and being sober as a negative experience. The grief and loss as well as anhedonia experienced is very real and we need to learn to create joy in the midst of this and other difficult experiences along the way.

 
There are many ways to create joy and learn to be happy, we just need to be willing to explore a little. One way is to look at our perception. The way we view life, our recovery, and the world around us. We can choose to see things in many different ways both negative and positive. We can change the story we tell about out existence at this very moment. Think of something that has given you a sense of achievement in your life. If you could do anything, what would you do and what would bring you closer to your dreams?
 
Decide to focus on the thoughts that bring a sense of happiness, calm and serenity. We all have negative thoughts at times,  “This is too hard. I’ll never make it. I can’t stay sober if…, etc.” We can choose to tell ourselves a new message at any time, “This is a challenge and I’m up for it! I have all I need today! Nothing can steal my peace!”
 
Find others who believe in us! It can be extremely powerful to be surrounded by others who believe in you, and what you are choosing to do with your life can be half the battle. Influence is important and for some it is what lead us into substance abuse in the first place. Finding those who influence our recovery can be just as powerful as the opposite.
 
Find gratitude. There are many things we can be thankful for each day and listing these things daily can create joy in the moment and can last throughout the day.
 
Create a vision board. Seeing things we want to have, be and do can help cultivate energy to “go for it”! Those of us who are visual learners also need visual stimulation toward goals and dreams. This can be a fun project to do with family or friends.
 
Last but not least, go out and play! Find activities that bring joy into your life. If you’re not sure what you like to do for fun, ask others what they do, remember what you liked as a child or try new activities. Get those endorphins flowing and the joy will find you!
 
Kristin Colton CATC II
CD Counselor
AToN Center 888-535-1516