Today I am happy...just plain old happy. Not jump up and down shouting happy. Not creepy Wal-Mart smiley face happy. Not even squealing and hugging yourself happy. Just boring old smiling eyes happy. (You know what that is right? When you see someone who's not exactly smiling but the smile is in their eyes just the same? Yeah, that kind of happy.)
This may not seem like a big deal to most people. After all, at any one time, all over the world there are likely billions of people who are happy for one reason or another. People who, right now, are smiling, skipping, humming to themselves, singing along to the radio at the top of their lungs...whatever. It's a common, everyday occurrence right?
Maybe for "normal" people but not for me. It has nothing to do with my depression and it's not like I've never been happy before because, clearly, I have. It's just that "plain old happy" is an unusual occurrence for this alcoholic. My life has been one of extremes brought on by external forces (parents, sister, friends) who love to embroil themselves in drama, or internal ones in which I embroil my own damn self.
Before I started down this path to recovery, I could be ecstatic one minute and, just by a look from someone or a harsh word (including the word "no") I would be plunged into the depths of despair or so angry I just wanted to punch something. It seemed that it was all or nothing for me. Over the years I learned to temper my reaction and snap myself out of it but it continued to happen...no matter how much I didn't want it to happen.
I'm pretty sure this is one of those things that is in my psyche that makes me seek alcohol in excess. When I would drink, it would not only numb me from issues I was trying to avoid, but it would level me out as well. When buzzed, I was happy ALL of the time (a little too happy most of the time). As long as there was more to drink, no despair or bad thought could touch me. I was always on cloud nine, floating above the fray. Happy, happy, happy.
Until I wasn't of course.
Sober, I was always waiting for the bad if I was feeling good. Surely goodness couldn't happen to me. This feeling of happy was only temporary...people like me don't get the good stuff for long. There's always a drama or disappointment around every corner.
And yet I remain the eternal optimist and a hopeless romantic. Why?
Because God knew that one day I would begin to get my shit together and understand that happy is not a moment to moment thing. It is not something that comes from the outside in but from the inside out. Now that I'm looking through the eyes and heart of a sober person, I see that happy (pardon the cliche) is a state of mind. I can choose to be happy (I never really understood what the hell that meant until recovery either) no matter what chaos is happening around me. I can see the light and love in any situation which serves to circumvent, temper, or annihilate the ugly. And, while I can still be disappointed or angry or unhappy, I can see that this is not my preferred or natural state of being and I can ride it out or reason it through until the happy can fight its way back again.
So today, I am happy. And I am grateful that God built me this way and led me on this path to recovery so that I could finally get it through my thick head that this is my natural state and embrace it.
Of course, check back tomorrow as this could always change.
"Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention."