“You can be as happy as you make up your mind to be!” Abraham Lincoln
“BULLSHIT!” Mike Mather
When I was in the grips of addiction to alcohol I had little if any chance of happiness – the happiness that I know now. My mind was not my own. So I could not make up my mind to be happy.
When I was drinking I had two problems.
2. Everything else
It was only when I put down that last drink and began a new life of sobriety, recovery, and renewal that I began to see that happiness is a peaceful mind. It was only when I began turning my life over to the care of a power greater than myself did I find peace and happiness.
“It has been said that it takes two to make a happy marriage, but that’s a lie. It only takes one, and I’m it. If she wants to be unhappy that’s her business.” Charlie Tremendous Jones.
I heard this quote from Charlie Jones when I was early in my drunken journey. It was in a training course for cookware salespeople that I was attending, in the very start of my working life. My young wife and child were counting on me to be a big success so I was ‘acting’ the part of the suave 1980’s ‘greed is good’ entrepreneur.
What I learned in those business trips along the Queensland coastal towns introducing young women to the glorious products of Classicware, was how to hold Jack Daniels on your tongue long enough for the beer chaser to wash it all down together.
When my beautiful car had to be sold to repay a company for the ‘business expenses’ we had incurred on one such selling and drinking spree, I was surprised that my lovely wife didn’t up and leave. It wasn’t until I drove our lovely next car into a telephone box whilst trying to quickly exit a drive-through bottle shop that our fate was sealed.
You see where this is going?
My life had quickly turned to shit because I was so engulfed in my own self-cherishing that I was unable to care for my loved ones or my lovely things that I thought would make me happy. No one was happy, I assure you.
Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada…
The last relationship in this alcoholic epic began promisingly in a bar one early afternoon and ended ingloriously in AA. (Add your own wreckage in here to make yourself feel at home).
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
What I’m learning now is the gentle art of happiness. My Buddhist teacher T. describes beautifully that inner peace is the only place we will find happiness. “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” (Buddha) What I’m learning in meetings is that sharing my gifts is the source of long-term sobriety and happiness.
Sobriety is not an end in itself but a beginning. The steps we take to attain and maintain sobriety are merely stones along the path to a greater good, I believe. When happiness is the goal and inner peace is the means, giving and compassion are the method.
All traditions seem to point to this same secret. Pass it on.