In active addiction, our lives were defined by the incessant search for happiness in all things external. Many of us are familiar with thinking that we would be perfectly fine if only we had more money, a better car, or a nicer house. In the absence of drugs and alcohol, we can easily turn to other external things in an attempt to fill our spiritual void. It is not uncommon for one to achieve sobriety, only to see their addictive tendencies manifest in online shopping or constant work. Happiness is not derived from material gain. Dr. Ian Zimmerman, in a 2012 Psychology Today article entitled True Happiness Rarely Lies at the Bottom of a Shopping Bag, explains, “A lot of commercial advertising would have us believe we need newer and better material possessions to be happy. Psychological research however bears little support for that idea. On the contrary, research has shown people who make their happiness and satisfaction contingent upon consumption tend to be less happy and more dissatisfied with life.” Just like addiction, our desire to feel better as a result of external things ultimately backfires. Materialism may even make us more likely to fall victim to depression. Carolyn Gregoire, in a 2017 Huffington Post article entitled The Psychology of Materialism, and Why It’s Making You Unhappy, explains, “The Beatles wisely noted that money can’t buy love, and we’d do well to remember that money can’t buy happiness, either. Research has shown that there is no direct correlation between income and happiness. Once our basic needs are met, wealth makes very little difference to one’s overall well-being and happiness. And in fact, extremely wealthy people actually suffer from higher rates of depression.” We may feel that wealth and material gain will give a boost to our sense of wellbeing, but research indicates the opposite. Dr. Steve Taylor, in a 2012 Psychology Today article entitled The Madness of Materialism, expands upon this concept: “Researchers in positive psychology have concluded that true well-being does not come from wealth but from other factors such as good relationships, meaningful and challenging jobs or hobbies, and a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves (such as a religion, a political or social cause, or a sense of mission).” There is nothing wrong with wanting to have nice things. The danger occurs when we begin relying on those things as a means of achieving happiness and fulfillment.
Your story can become one of happiness, joyousness, and freedom in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help today and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers a contemporary residential treatment program that incorporates a variety of treatment methodologies and a well-rounded balance of individual and group therapy sessions, inside and outside 12-step meetings, nutritious meals, social events, monitored exercise, as well as sufficient time for rest, relaxation and reflection. For information about residential treatment and other treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777