What would you do to be happy?

Here it is, January 6, 2015. A new year, a chance for change, a new you. If you are like me, many of you will have made resolutions to be healthier, fitter and happier.
Sometimes I would specify drink less, but I usually tried to cover it up with healthier and happier.

When I was drinking I truly believe I wanted to be happier. I read self help books. I got thinner, fitter, had abs, could do pull ups, colored my hair, bought fashionable clothes. I drove a nice car. I kept a nice house. My kids were presentable, involved in activities, smart. But inside I never felt good enough. I knew something was wrong with me, that I was weak and broken.

If you had told me I could find happiness by running a marathon I probably would have. If I had to climb Mount Everest, if that was the true secret to happiness, I would have found a way. I was just desperate to not feel the way I did. To stop the compulsive behaviour that led me to drink and that I couldn’t understand.

But there was no happiness guide. There was just a final understanding that I had to try to eliminate the wine even if it meant life would be boring and blank. I just couldn’t handle the overwhelming feelings of guilt and remorse any longer. And I was beginning to worry that I was impacting my health and my family.

Imagine my surprise when I quit drinking and found the happiness was there all along! The life that looked beautiful on the outside was beautiful on the inside too. I was not broken or weak. In fact, I was a strong, important person.

It still amazes me that something as benign seeming as wine could have been impacting me this much. That is REALLY WAS the source of my discontent. That happiness was available to me all along. That life without booze was fabulous. It is not always easy, but it is precious.

Someone sent me a link to a new years post on facebook titled “How to have an amazing life”. I deleted it. I HAVE AN AMAZING LIFE.

And you do too.

Stillness and peace.


31 thoughts on “What would you do to be happy?

  1. I did everything you did and was still full of self loathing. I tried fixing my diet, did more triathlons/hot yoga and still woke up hating myself and worrying that everyone knew I was drinking too much. You’re right, by eliminating the drinking I feel so much better about myself.

  2. I agree with it all, but intuitively we all knew what was making us unhappy. We just didn’t want to admit it. If we admitted it, we would have to give it up, then we would be even more unhappy, or so we rationalized. Our unhappiness crutch would be kicked out from under our unhappy asses.
    Then we decided, after trying everything else, and being tired of still being unhappy to give up and give in. And there it was all along, not at the bottom of that glass or bottle after all.
    Miracles do come true. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Anne, thank you for sharing such a great post. It’s so true that many of us will search for happiness in EVERYTHING else before we decide to give up the booze. I love that you deleted the FB post because, yes you do have an amazing life!! Congrats. Xo

  4. Exactly. Exactly. Life was always there, being a great life with lots of happiness; I just drowned it in the wine (what would you do to be UNhappy? well, you know, pour wine all over it). Great post! Thank you.



  5. Thank you for a wonderful post Anne. You give me hope. Knowing that happiness is there if I want it if I just give up the wine gives me hope. Today I am on day 4 and it feels good to be here. Now I just have to find a way to keep myself here and not give in to the wine again. A x

  6. Wonderful post. Day 24 here. I am amazed at how happy I am!! I have stopped drinking and all of a sudden I am just happy doing nothing. I can sit here in my pajamas watch the snow fall and I am HAPPY.

  7. It took a long time alcohol free, for me to get happy, but there was a lot going on there. Now that I’ve found the happiness, I know the quickest way to ruin it: add alcohol. It was right there with the roots of my lifetime of misery. I shudder to think of being drunk, and relying on alcohol to get through the days. xox

  8. Yes, yes, yes EXACTLY!! It is amazing how much energy we have all spent doing all the other things to make things right (be skinny, be happy, be fun, be cool, be healthy … ) and keep drinking. When it was the drinking causing the unhappiness all along.

    The trick (for me) now is I get further down this sobriety road is to remember all the pain and suffering that pretty glass of wine caused.

    1. Yes. And enjoy every hangover free morning.
      That is one of my things. When I wake up I spend a minute or two noticing how good I feel. No remorse. No confusion. No dry mouth.

      I cherish that.

  9. Anne, I love this post. It’s so crazy and amazing that the happiness was always there. I, too, seemed to always be so cranky and unhappy, looking for it in places that I shouldn’t have been looking. Who would have known, that sobriety could bring us the peace and happiness we wanted. I sure am less cranky and a lot more patient now….and the whole family is feeling that….finally
    jen day 10!!

  10. Anne, I love this post. It’s so crazy and amazing that the happiness was always there. I, too, seemed to always be so cranky and unhappy, looking for it in places that I shouldn’t have been looking. Who would have known, that sobriety could bring us the peace and happiness we wanted. I sure am less cranky and a lot more patient now….and the whole family is feeling that….finally

  11. I am so glad that you have woken up to the wonderful life that was always surrounding you, but was blinded and blurred by the booze. I think gratitude and an attitude adjustment does wonders for us. perspective can lead me down the trail of tears or on a path of acceptance and serenity. I sometimes take the low road, and do my best for the high road. My ego loves the self-pity, so it likes to drag me there now and then, but in the end, booze was a symptom of something deeper, but now that I can see the beauty around me, booze is no longer on the menu.

    Thank you for this, Anne – loved it.


    1. One of the “smartest” things I have done was to be honest about my old self pitying with my husband. When I start down that road now he gently helps pull me back.

      Being willing to discuss hard topics like this (especially as I used to put the blame on him) has been so helpful.

      Sometimes have an alcoholic couple get sober together can really work well. At least we have a common understanding.

      Thanks Paul!


  12. Alcohol only has the power we give it. If we believe we need it to make us happy, then we’ll feel like we can’t be happy without it, and see not-drinking as nothing but a dreary slog. Realizing that happiness is within us, and has been within us the whole time, renders alcohol powerless, because we no longer ‘need’ it to do for us what we can do for ourselves.

    I read a comment somewhere from someone who said (and I’m remembering to the best of my ability here), “We see alcohol as a means to an end. A shortcut, like taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain instead of climbing it step by step, whether that mountain is happiness, sexiness, stress relief, sociability, or whatever. But alcohol doesn’t take us to the top of that mountain. Alcohol drops us off on a totally different mountain entirely.”

  13. We, humans, always search for happiness. Most of the time we search for it outside, not realizing that we need to look inside.
    Great post!

    1. You know, I never thought to look inside. When I was drinking I thought inside I was so screwed up that happiness was something writer made up.

      I am so glad I woke up.

  14. Our drinking was merely a symptom a much larger problem….. and boy oh boy, did I use the excuse “well, if you had, my life you would drink too”. The drink made me a happy better person…… or that is the sick story I told my self. When in actuality was miserable, self loathing sad girl…… being sober has opened my eyes and my heart, to the true meaning of happiness and has helped me examine why I was so sad and miserable and come to terms with several issues. does that mean that lice is always rainbows & sunshine….. absolutely not,! What it means is that we allow our selves to feel hard feelings & deal with difficult situations, but we now know how to do it in a healthy, honest manner.
    Well done:) awesomepost!!!!

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