Joy in Recovery

April 26, 2016   Patricia Pavkovich

#JOY – a feeling of great happinessJoy blog image

  • a source or cause of great happiness
  • something or someone that gives joy to someone
  • success in doing, finding, or getting something

Joy was not the word I would have chosen to describe the beginning journey into my recovery. I could have chosen the words regret, guilt, fear, and perhaps sadness. I thought the “fun” times were over and I could not imagine what was ahead.


I spent about 3 weeks in the “poor me” zone, and with grace I made a choice to be proactive and shift into manifestation mode. I needed to stop sabotaging my success and happiness.

I desired new ways to think about myself. I strived for a life that would steer me clear of the negative things in my past. I wanted my life to be full of joy and for it to be positive, inspiring, spontaneous, and purposeful. I was not sure where to start. It took some time and concentrated effort to reach this clarity. The following is the path that works for me. These are the things that continue to reward me with sustained recovery and an abundance of joy.

SOBER SUPPORT: Meetings, 12 step work, sponsor, sober friends, daily sober support. THIS IS MY PRIORITY ABOVE ALL ELSE.

PRAYER: Daily and included are a bunch of THANK YOU’s for my life, my children, my health, etc.

GRATITUDE: I write 3 things I am grateful for in my gratitude journal each morning to start my day.

MEDITATION: 3 times per week, sometimes it is as simple as 20 minutes.

EXERCISE: 4 or 5 times each week.

SOCIAL CONNECTION: 2 or 3 times a week, I call a friend and/or I go out with a friend.

HONESTY: At all times.

READ: One book a month

PHONE REMINDERS: 4 times a day (9am, 12noon, 3pm and 9pm) my phone alarm rings to remind me to read a list of inspiring traits I strive for in my day.

BE PRESENT: Mindfulness of the present moment. If I am unhappy I am thinking too much in the past or future. I give the past to my higher self/power. If I am anxious about the future, I write down 3 things I can do. If I can’t do anything about it, I let it go.

POSITIVE SELF-TALK: Affirmations such as: always raise my bar, be passionate, make a difference, do my best every day, and be generous with my time.

DAILY GOOD DEED/SERVICE: Keeps me centered and focused on others. Opening a door for someone, praise, volunteering, hugs, reaching out to someone who needs a positive vibe/helping hand

FIND A MENTOR: I like to follow the work of people I admire and aspire to be like on social media. Some of my favorites are Anthony Robbins, Brene Brown, Brendon Burchard, and Nick Vujicic.

For me, these consistent, daily habits have replaced addiction and a self-destructive way of coping. I drank every day so I surmised that I must replace that with something else each and every day. It makes sense for me! These new habits helped me to face my dragons. They have given me the answers for what to do when life becomes tumultuous. They allow me to stay grounded and centered. They are my shield of armor against addiction. They are what I do to stay well.

How has this given me such an abundance of joy?

Because now I have FREEDOM:

  • the quality or state of being free, the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action: liberation from slavery or restraint.

When I was in addiction, I thought I knew what freedom was. I HAD NO IDEA.

Today, in my new life of recovery, I know what true freedom is and what it feels like. For me, it’s the kind of feeling that bursts in your heart and soul and overflows with grace, gratitude, peace of mind, contentment, and joy. It’s liberation.

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