Joy and Happiness

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    Tom G

    I have a question for all of those in recovery…
    I’ve been reading that there is scientific evidence that alcoholism can reduce the body’s ability to produce dopamine (a chemical that appears to produce a feeling of joy or euphoria).
    Early in recovery, my obsession and physical addiction to alcohol disappeared. After going through a range of emotions, I reached a point where I thought I should feel or be ‘normal’. After the wave of emotions settled, I find one part of life missing. Joy and the ability to be happy.
    I wonder if this missing part is because of the damage I caused in the brain or have I not fully embraced the spiritual aspect of recovery that leads to joy and happiness. If it is a physical problem, I’d like to know if it will ‘self-correct’ over time or is this what life will be like?
    I find that I feel completely normal when I’m doing twelfth-step work, at an AA meeting, or having an affectionate moment with the wife. Otherwise, I would say my emotion is numb.
    Anyone have thoughts or insight into this?
    Tom G.

    Jodi L

    Hi Tom. I’m an alcoholic who has been sober for just over 2 years now. First things first, thank you for doing service work…..Helping those who still suffer is important.

    I honestly don’t know what “Normal” is anymore. What’s normal to one person, isn’t to another. I find I need to look at my life as a whole on a regular basis and really assess what I am doing, what makes me happy, what makes me sad, and what puts me out of my comfort zone. In the last year, even as stressfull as things are in my life, I have found myself not realizing how happy I have become when I’m doing certain things and when i am around certain people. It just happens….I also like to plan things that I know I enjoy doing and then I have something to look forward to…..Also, I am able to determine what causes stress and makes me unhappy and avoid those things as much as possible.

    Try and look deeper into your life’s happenings and try to do those things that make you feel good more often.
    Medically, there’s all kinds of problems that alcoholism can cause, but you should consult doctors on that one…..
    Wish you all the best and “don’t worry, be happy”

    Heidi Quist

    Jodi – Loved reading your post, so honest, love! Loved both posts…I truly felt the first year I was emotionally off…I know not everyone is like me but I really stopped looking at all the “scientific” things that happens to the body and started to look inside of myself and find what really made me happy. If I kept trying to find excuses for myself to be unhappy I kept on that path…one of the reasons was “well they say I will act like this for a while, post-tramatic stress disorder”…well, I had to stop looking at that and start looking for things to be happy about otherwise I would rationalize my moods. I started looking for the good and talked about the bad I was feeling with those around me and it started to work. Hope the best to both of you! Heidi

    Tom G

    “Don’t worry, be happy”? Great, now I’ll have that song in my mind for the next day or two.
    This is what I really like about the fellowship of AA and especially about a site like this. I can be having a rough time or questions about recovery and all I have to do is ask and a way of looking at things is shown.
    I’m finding that recovery means listening to others more than listening to myself. I learn from my own experiences, but find it so helpful to hear from others and learn from their experiences.
    Thank you both for your insight into joy and happiness. I sometimes forget that joy and happiness are always there…I just need to grab on to them.
    Tom G.

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