Happiness Overrated? – Grapevine Article August 2006 Jim W

I sometimes find myself irritable, restless, discontented, or depressed for no apparent reason at all. Today, in my recovery, it usually doesn’t take long before I suffer from ill attitudes or behaviors directly linked to what I describe as being disconnected, or in a stagnant spiritual pool.

At this point, I usually launch a personal inventory and thorough spiritual investigation. I have a list of questions that I ask myself.

Am I praying and meditating–keeping in contact with my Higher Power?

Am I attending meetings on a routine basis? (For me, this means at least five times a week.)

Am I talking to my sponsor regularly and letting him know what’s going on?

Where there were opportunities, have I worked with another alcoholic?

Am I needlessly reliving the past or projecting the future?

Is there some defect or shortcoming that I refuse to surrender, for fear of still less control?

It’s been my experience, in my short period of sobriety, that happiness may be a little overrated. A constant search for it may be a waste of time. I have learned that I must do the next right thing, regardless of how bad or good I feel about it, or anything else, for that matter. To grasp both the bad and good and then come out on the other side with neither regret nor arrogance is to truly live. It also helps to remember the words of my crazy sponsor who instructed me with a version of Rule #62: Do not take my life or myself too damn seriously. It also helps to believe that with pain comes growth. You might just be on the verge of a beautiful new understanding.

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