In order to feel positive and upbeat in addiction recovery you need to put in the effort to make it happen.
If you get clean and sober and just sit on your couch and expect for this amazing life to fall into your lap then you are going about it the wrong way. You have to put in some work if you want the rewards.
That said, you can definitely do some things in order to make yourself feel positive and upbeat.
In my own experience, it took me about 3 or 4 years in recovery before I discovered the major levers that I could move in order to get myself feeling good on a daily basis.
The first thing is, of course, sobriety itself. If you relapse then any progress that you have made towards this state of “feeling good” is going to be seriously compromised. You will have to start over from scratch if you relapse with your drug of choice.
So therefore, sobriety has to come first. It must be your main priority. So if you are very early in the process, of if you haven’t started yet at all, then I would recommend inpatient treatment of the 28 day variety. Go to rehab and start following directions. Do what they tell you to do, as they are the experts at this recovery thing. Start with rehab. That is suggestion number one.
Second of all, I would recommend that you get a therapist or a sponsor in recovery, or both. You need to be seeking new solutions in life, and you need to be taking suggestions from other people in order to do so. Your peers in recovery could be hit or miss, but a licensed therapist is not likely to steer you wrong. Get a therapist and start taking suggestions from that person.
You need to identify all of the pain points in your life, all of the things that hold you back and keep you from experiencing peace and serenity. Having a therapist can go a long way in helping you to identify these problem areas that need to be fixed. Even after you stop drinking and taking drugs you are probably going to have plenty of things in your life that need to be changed: Resentments to be processed, anger to be dealt with, fears to be overcome, anxiety to be managed, and so on.
No one just gets clean and sober and is suddenly perfect. Everyone needs to do work on themselves in early recovery.
When I got clean and sober I had at least 3 major problems that I was not even aware of at first: I was out of shape physically, I was addicted to cigarettes, and I was constantly engaging in self pity.
So in order to feel positive and upbeat in my life, I first had to figure out that I had these 3 problems, and then I had to figure out what the solutions were for these problems, and then I had to put those solutions into action and actually make changes.
That is a whole lot of work. I did not do it all at once. I did not discover all 3 of the problems all at once.
The first one was self pity. I noticed that I was, in my mind, still justifying the using of drugs and alcohol, even though I had quit. But my brain was still busy making excuses, focusing on drama, and trying to make myself look like a victim so that I would have a reason to relapse.
But I did not want to relapse. I wanted to remain clean and sober.
So I had to realize that the self pity was no longer serving me, and then make a decision to get rid of it.
Then I had to ask people in AA, to include my sponsor and eventually my therapist, as to how exactly I could overcome this mental tendency towards self pity.
I got a lot of suggestions from everyone, and it seemed that gratitude was a huge part of it. So was awareness.
So I had to raise my level of consciousness, such that I would notice when my brain started to feel sorry for itself. Then I could correct it. But without first noticing the thought pattern kicking in, there would be no way to intercede and stop it.
Then I started learning and practicing various gratitude techniques in order to overcome the negative feelings. So the major way to do this is to force yourself to identify reasons that you are grateful, and keep doing that, until it becomes natural to you.
So I learned some solutions and then I practiced those solutions until I was able to overcome that character defect. I was no longer feeling sorry for myself and dragging myself down.
But it was a process to get there. I had to figure out there was a problem, then ask for advice to figure out solutions, then start practicing those solutions.
Later on I realized that I really did not want to keep killing myself with cigarettes. I valued my life more and I valued my life in recovery and I did not want to cut that short just because I was still abusing cigarettes.
So I started doing research as to how I could overcome cigarette addiction. And one of the things that I learned, or one of the patterns that I observed, was that people who got into great shape had a much easier time of putting down the nicotine sticks. So I backed up for a moment, reset my goal, and I decided to start exercising and get into shape before I even tackled the goal of quitting smoking.
This actually worked, believe it or not. I became a distance jogger first, while still addicted to cigarettes, and then I was finally able to put down the nicotine for good. This was a learning process though, I had to investigate the goal, figure out a plan, and then set intermediate goals so that I could “get there.”
And it was successful. I did the work that was necessary to meet the goal, which actually involved several steps for me. But in the end, I was free from nicotine addiction and I was also in the habit of vigorous exercise on a daily basis.
You can imagine what this transformation was like. I started out as someone new in recovery but who was out of shape, addicted to smoking, and stuck in a mental state of self pity.
After doing the work and identifying these problems, I eventually fixed them all and I was then working out every day, off the cigarettes completely, and practicing gratitude daily.
These were the 3 biggest impact changes that had to be made in my own early recovery journey. It took me several years to do all three of them, and the results were well worth the effort.
Your big impact changes are likely to be different than my 3. But you still need to identify them and get to work on them if you want to succeed in long term recovery.
My suggestion is that you get a sponsor and a therapist and start getting honest with those people. They can help you to identify the changes that need to be made, because it is likely that you cannot see all of them yourself, at least not right away. In recovery, we are each other’s eyes and ears. We can see the problems in other people that they are too close to in order to realize it is a problem. So we can help each other to figure out what needs to be fixed. Then we can ask for advice and insight and find people in recovery who have already conquered our particular problem, and they can advise us as to how they did so.
This is the shortcut to wisdom. Figure out what is holding you back, then learn how other people solved that problem. Then implement the solution for yourself and watch as your recovery is transformed.
Good luck with your sobriety!