is being happy really a choice? can we really just wake up and say “i’m going to be happy today” and really be happy all day? its easy when things are going all fanfuckingtastic in our lives. but what about when our lives take a shit? like, you know, the day your husband tells you he doesn’t love you anymore. how can you choose to be happy then? or when your favorite uncle died the day before your birthday. thanks addiction.
my point is, it’s hard to choose to be happy when you are fucking miserable. people tell you “don’t worry, it will get better” and you want to punch them in their stupid face. we can do all the things to cheer us up, calling a friend, making gratitude lists, all that jazz, but sometimes even that doesn’t help.
for those of us who are in recovery, we can get stuck in those negative cycles quite often if we’re not careful. when you get sober you have to learn to feel things again, and let me tell you, FEELINGS CAN FUCKING SUCK DONKEY BALLS SOMETIMES. even the happy ones can suck at times. after being separated for over a year i still ride an emotional roller coaster. some days i feel like a strong independent woman who don’t need no man and some days i feel like i want to grab the first person i see and say “LOVE MEEEEE FOREVEEEEER!”
when i stopped drinking, i thought i would be much happier. i thought my marriage would get better. i mean, i knew it wasn’t the best, but i also didn’t know just how bad it was. you don’t see the real shit when you’re drunk all the time. and when your spouse is as well. and when one of you stops and the other doesn’t, well, lets just say that obviously just ain’t gonna work. if it did for you, then yay, but you’re a rare breed.
i use my situation as an example because its the worst thing i’ve ever been through. i thought i would never be happy again. and it wasn’t about having someone love me. i had been through break ups before and knew i could go on without him, even though sometimes i physically felt like i was dying. it was a situation that no matter what i did, i couldn’t find happiness anywhere.
somedays i still don’t see happiness anywhere. for the last year, i have lived out of one room. i currently reside in a side room at the house me and my ex shared. my bank account has a negative balance right now, and ive already taken an advance at my part time job so i’m working that off. my phone service was disconnected a week ago because i couldn’t afford the bill. sounds like a lot to be unhappy about, right? some days, it is and its all i can do to make it until bedtime and hope that the next day will be better. some days, like today, i look around at what i have. it may not be much, but it’s mine. i have my girls, my dogs, my cats, and my guitars. i have paint, brushes, and blank canvas. i have a home with wifi so i’m not completely disconnected from the world. i have stranger things. i have a warm, soft, cozy bed that is all mine. ok, so maybe i do have a lot of shit. but anyway, that’s not the point. the point is, today i am happy. i am sober. almost two fucking years sober.
So how can you be happy when you’re not happy? here’s a few tips.
1. accept it’s probably not going to get better anytime soon and make the best of it. and fuck all those people saying “it gets better.” i think that’s just what people say when they don’t know what else to say. accepting that you’re life just sucks right now and you can’t do anything about it can actually help you feel happier. at least for me. but, i’m also a damn weirdo. i have a sick, twisted sense of humor, so sometimes laughing at myself helps. if that doesn’t help, look up funny memes. that always helps. or damnyouautocorrect. that shit gets me in tears and out of a bad mood in about two minutes.
2. dance. tell everyone to the the fuck out, put on some music you love, turn that shit as loud as it will go and dance your ass off. don’t put on some sappy sad shit that matches your mood, pick something opposite. unless you’re feeling angry, then put on some rob zombie and do some yoga. sounds totally counterproductive, right, but i’m telling you, it will rock your fucking world. not feeling pretty? put on something you have felt super hot in before and put on some hozier and awaken your inner sex goddess (or god, whatever). you’ll totally want to put a dancer pole in your room.
3. do something challenging. i’m not talking some crazy daredevil shit. something little. something you’ve always wanted to do but have never done. or something you use to do but stopped because you were having a pity party about life sucking. like me and my guitar. i’d never played guitar until three months ago. when i bought it, i had literally only learned two chords the day before on my daughters guitar. but it was something i had always wanted to do, so i said fuck it and fuck my tiny hands i’m gonna do it anyway. and i’m fucking doing it! i mean, i’m no jimmy page, but i can play a few songs pretty decently now. but the great thing is, there will always be a new challenge to learn. i’ll never run out of songs to learn. and if i somehow did, then i’m unlimited with what i can create. now if i could just unlock that damn creativity…
4. random acts of kindness. helping someone else is the best way to feel happier. because you’ve made an impact in someone’s life. as broke as i am, i always make it a point to get at least a $1 toy for the toys for tots box every time i go to the dollar store. sure, right now a dollar is a lot of money to me right now, but making some bratty kid happy on christmas just warms my cold, black heart. buy someone’s coffee if you can. also, it doesn’t always have to be material shit. give compliments to everyone. smile at everyone. who knows, you may be completely turning their day around with your smile. doesn’t the thought of that make you feel at least a little happy?
so, when everything seems like it’s going to hell in a handbasket, you can still be happy. is it a choice? yes..ish… i think it is, but it’s something you have to work at. you don’t just say “oh i’m going to be happy today” and just be a fucking ray of sunshine. no. you have to actually do things to make yourself happy. like sobriety. you can say “oh today is the day, i’m gonna stop” all day long, but when drinking time comes around and you think “i’ll stop tomorrow.” you have to make tomorrow today. you can choose recovery and sobriety, but it’s something you have to work on. it’s something you have to make changes to make work. just like happiness. you can say you choose it all you want, but unless you actually work at it, it ain’t happening.
so if you’re feeling like a pile of shit, at least feel like a pile of unicorn shit. all rainbowy and glittery. the misery is where we find our light. we need to learn to work with that darkness instead of working against it. yes, it’s much easier said than done. i’m not saying that you’re life is going to change and you’re gonna feel like skipping through meadows of dandelions on a summer day (cue tampon commercial), but when you surrender to the fact that you’re currently not happy, you can start asking yourself what can i do to find happiness again, and then go do that shit.