Is IT (Life) Worth It? ... 100 Days Into Recovery but Have No Joy or Happiness
I started drinking at the age of 12 and progressed to the point where now at 38, I realized I had to stop or die be it from alcohol related health problems or an accident that would surely occur while drunk.
Drinking and drugging was initially a way for me to self-medicate my insecurity issues and feeling like I didn't belong anywhere (alcohol was my drug of choice). My teenage years were a constant battle, always in trouble for something.
I new I had a problem but somehow pulled it together long enough to get through college and professional school. I never made a conscious decision to stop, I just did what I had to do in order to achieve my goals. As my training was nearing the end, alcohol use picked up again and had progressed as if I had never stopped.
I seeked help from therapists to get to the underlying issues but was never 100% honest with them or myself about what I thought was bothering me. My second to last binge resulted in hospital detox. The last one required detox followed by a treatment center.
I knew I needed help and gave everything I had to the program finally being completely honest with them and myself. I realize now that drinking is not the answer and will only make things worse. I have about 100 days of sobriety behind me now, I attend 6 AA meetings a week and 1 group meeting for recovering professionals.
Despite taking all these actions, I find myself constantly thinking, is it worth it (meaning life)? I have no happiness nor can I find any joy in life. I feel I am doing what recovery experts suggest and do not crave any substance to bury my feelings.
A sober mind has brought me to the conclusion that I really do not enjoy living but I am too afraid of spending eternity in hell for taking my own life. I feel that I have just about exhausted every option I know of or that has been suggested to me. Where do I go from here?
Thanks for your question because it reminds me a lot of my own story - doing what I had to do to achieve certain goals, seeing various therapists without being able to be really honest about my stuff, until I eventually hit an emotional bottom and also went to a treatment center.
In my experience, the way to find real joy or happiness is through finding things to do that give your life meaning, both from a spiritual perspective and from activities that you simply enjoy doing.
Initially I struggled to make sense of the spirituality side of it and how to apply it to my life because organised religion didn't quite sit right with me. So through reading a lot (here's a sample of books that inspired me
) - I began to develop a more spiritual way of thinking and life that I feel comfortable with, which now encompasses practices like meditation, trying to life more healthily etc.
But what worked for me might not work for you in the same way so you need to question, explore, and experiment with philosophies, practices etc. until you find something that resonates with you. Don't let conditioned belief systems and ways of thinking hold you back from finding your path, even if it is simply to re-affirm your current spiritual or religious outlook is the right one for you.
And then you need to find things to do that give you pleasure - whatever that may be for you. For me it's getting into nature whenever possible whether it be hiking or taking a run in the forest, reading a good book, watching a movie, playing the sports I like and spending time with my good friends.
But most of all, be patient with yourself. Change and transformation doesn't just happen. You've abused yourself for 20 plus years spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically - so it's going to take time to feel comfortable and good about yourself. Keep doing the (inner) work through working the steps and incorporating some of the suggestions I've made and your life will change - but it doesn't happen overnight.
I look back 8-9 years to when I started in recovery and think, 'Wow, I have come a long way.' But initially too, I can assure you it was also damn hard for me, I often didn't see the point, and there have been loads of bumps along the way.
So give yourself a break and trust the process and journey because this feeling will pass. But the more you fight it, the worse you make it for yourself. Having said that, if you really feel you're not coping, go and see someone to help you with this. Also talk to your sponsor about it - because the more you're open and honest about it, the more support you'll get and the easier it will be.
You've done well. It sounds like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself. I know it can be hard, especially when it seems like everyone in meetings is going on about how magically different their life suddenly is, and if that's the case don't pay too much attention. Just keep being real. You'll get through this!
Take Care and God Bless.