Recovering Addicts Talk About Finding Happiness

Addiction leaves a lot of people feeling hopeless, and many don’t think they’ll ever be able to find happiness again. So it’s heartbreaking, but not surprising, why addiction and suicide are so frequently tied together. 

The reality is, however, that happiness is still attainable for those struggling with addiction, and recovering addicts have proven this time and time again. 

Ryan, who found help from A Forever Recovery in Michigan, said, “I wake up every day just happy to be alive and happy to go on with the day, and I can handle anything that comes at me. Graduating from A Forever Recovery was bittersweet. When you're in here, you're kind of in a bubble getting to learn the tools you need to address your life. I'm happy that I get to go home to my family. I'm happy that I'm clean and sober.”

Tara, another recovering addict, affirmed, “I've realized that there is another way, that I am capable of living a sober life, and that I can be happy without drugs. I’m happy all the time, just smiling and being positive about life.”

“My counselor, Stephanie, was great,” she recalled. “She never let me shut down. She kept me going. My peers were amazing. I never would have made it through the program if it weren't for my peers. I have never had friends like the ones I made during treatment.”

I’ve spoken to plenty of recovering addicts in various interviews, and this peer support is a common theme. Many find people who are going through what they are (or have in the past) to offer them a kind of support that even professional counselors can’t. Luckily, there are support groups at facilities throughout the country facilitating such inspiration. 

Corey said of his program, “I would say if you're ready to come, if you're ready to change, [a rehab center] is definitely the place. It's not focused so much on the drugs, it's more about your state of mind and the issues you had. It's a good program — the best one. I have only been to this one, but I'm so happy that this was my first one, because I have faith that it will be my last.”

Megan remembered the negative emotions she faced while abusing drugs.

“When I look back to my most recent past I see a time that went by way too fast,” she recalled. “The drinking and drugging and wasting our time. Our lives are so chaotic without reason or rhyme. We were all searching both far and wide, for the one thing we thought made us feel happy inside. The days ran together until we had no clue. We thought we could keep going but our bodies were through. Slowly but surely, we lost all the possessions we had. Running out of drugs and coming down made us mad. The anger we built up would turn into rage. We were so far out of control that we should’ve been locked in a cage.” 

With recovery, she no longer has to deal with such anger and has a chance at a much happier life. 

“I won’t lie to you; it gets hard here sometimes,” said Alan. “But we’re here to start dealing with life sober and dealing with it on life’s terms. So if you stick it out, I promise you’ll be happy and proud of yourself at the end.“


Cecelia Johnson believes strongly in the power of good deeds and recognizing great work. That’s why she created RecognitionWorks.org The site is dedicated to connecting those who’ve been awarded for exemplary work in their communities to companies and organizations that can help them continue their admirable efforts through donations, sponsorships, and gifts. By making these connections, she hopes to build stronger, more altruistic communities and citizens.