Happiness is difficult to define, but researchers have pinpointed two different types of happiness: eudaimonic happiness and hedonic happiness. Most happiness comes from striking a balance between the two forms, but, in individuals suffering from addiction, happiness is almost completely dependent upon hedonic forms of happiness. Hedonic happiness relies, in part, on external stimulation and pleasure. It is the form of happiness that is derived from increasing pleasure and decreasing pain and suffering. Dr. Itai Ivtzan, in a 2016 Psychology Today article entitled Why is Happiness Fleeting?, explains, “The first dimension of happiness is hedonistic. This is where a certain event triggers a fabulous feeling – you are eating a slice of pizza which is fresh, hot and delicious, being told by your boss that you’re getting a raise, or receiving praise in school or at work for an assignment. It feels great, and you are glowing inside – it’s a fabulous feeling of joy and pleasure. This aspect of happiness is easy to understand as it is based upon a very simple rule: a maximum of positive emotions and a minimum of negative emotions. In other words, to experience it you need to feel as much joy as possible but sadness or frustration cannot be part of the equation.” It is easy to see how the unending drive to feel pleasure can lead to the use of drugs and alcohol. Overtime, hedonic happiness can become our sole form of happiness. Eudaimonic happiness, on the other hand, is the form of happiness promoted by recovery programs and derives from “a life well lived” and sense of fulfillment. The Brain Flux explains, “revolves around a person’s satisfaction with their life. It is more reflective of their life experiences and actions. Irrespective of their current state of emotions. Purpose and meaning in life, flourishing, growth, and self-actualization are all concepts that are related to, or a part of, eudaimonic happiness. Another easy way to think about the two is like this. One is concerned with the short term, transient feelings or emotions. It can be influenced by moods or daily experiences. The other is a reflection of how a person sees their life and longer-term outcomes. Their pursuits, actions, values, and the direction in life.” In recovery, we begin incorporating eudaimonic happiness into our lives. Rather than being entirely dependent on hedonic pursuits, we begin to focus on fulfillment, overcoming challenges, and personal and spiritual development.
Your story can become one of happiness and health in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future on the journey of recovery. Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, offers an innovative and fluid approach to treatment that addresses each client’s individual needs to help them develop all the tools needed to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777