Finding Joy and Meaning In Life After Addiction

Posted on May 15, 2023

joyful man climbing steps

The Challenge Of Starting Over

After completing rehab, one of the hardest things to do is pick up the pieces of your former life. You’ll need all the strength, courage, and resilience you can find, and a big portion of humility, as you deal with the demons of your own making. The realization that you probably have wrecked a good portion of your life is enough to drive many people straight into relapse.

In order to succeed and stay sober, you need to fill your life with something positive and meaningful. Everyone deserves the chance to have a more joyful life, and rehab gives them a fresh opportunity to do so.

Develop A Positive Mindset

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Your own mind can be your worst enemy. Now that your thoughts are clear, you may suffer from low self-esteem because you understand your addiction, or have trouble believing you can rebuild your old life. You might also feel alone, isolated, and untrusted, and are often still trying to solve the painful issues that caused your addiction in the first place. Getting stuck in a mental death spiral of negative thoughts and feelings is too easy.

Staying in therapy and practicing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) with mindfulness can help you replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Take time to rediscover who you are and don’t be afraid to embrace a new way of thinking. Dwelling on the past doesn’t help you move forward, so it’s important to focus on the present and embrace the changes that happened during recovery.

Find Hobbies That Bring You Joy

When the space once occupied by drugs stands empty, people need to fill it with something that satisfies them emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It may be a rekindled interest or hobby; volunteering in your community; or committing to a greater cause, such as fighting for education, human rights, or a cleaner environment. Many studies have shown that having a purpose in life, whether a goal for yourself or a connection to a larger cause, helps to prevent relapse.

Learn To Live Intentionally & Purposefully

Practice mindfulness to connect yourself to the present moment and to accept life as it is. Live fully in the “now” by completely engaging all of your senses. Pay attention to your own thoughts. Learn to appreciate the moment, whatever it is. You can look back and see how far you’ve come and take some joy in it, even though you know there is still a long road ahead. When you see how well you’ve done, you’ll begin to trust that you have the strength to move forward.

Take Time To Rediscover Who You Are

Learn to find joy in solitude. Spending time alone can help you rediscover who you are. Doing things alone can help you find the guts to try something new, and present the opportunity to meet new people.


  • Volunteering/charitable activities
  • Coaching or joining a sports team
  • Getting involved in local politics
  • Rekindling interest in an old hobby
  • Going back to college (to complete a degree, earn a second, or simply learn something new)
  • Traveling

Embrace A New Way Of Thinking

Positive thinking can help ease the physical and mental impact of stress. Find the things that bring on negative thoughts and try to approach them positively, or remove them from your life if possible.

  • Dwelling on the past doesn’t help you move forward. Embrace the changes that happened during recovery. This is your chance to start over.
  • Don’t strive to be perfect — just try to be better.
  • Do something that makes you smile or laugh every day.
  • Practice gratitude — celebrate the small things that you are thankful for.

Make Time For Self-Care

Take care of yourself. Exercise improves both physical and mental health, and meeting fitness goals will boost positive feelings. Eat a wholesome and healthy diet. Get enough quality sleep.

Surround Yourself With Supportive People

Spend time around positive people. Recovery is your chance to rebuild relationships and grow your support network. Having family and friends nearby will help you succeed in your recovery.

The things that bring joy to people are as unique as the people themselves, so there is no firm path to happiness. Explore yourself and you’ll find the answer. Happiness, like recovery, is a process — and it comes from within.

Why Choose Rising Phoenix?

At Rising Phoenix Wellness Services, we understand that seeking help for mental health and/or substance use concerns can be a daunting task. That’s why we strive to create a safe and welcoming environment for each individual who walks through our doors. Our state-licensed Intensive Outpatient Program, located in North Scottsdale, is dedicated to providing sophisticated services that blend mind, body, and spirit to inspire optimal well-being. We believe that every person deserves to feel empowered and supported on their journey toward recovery, and we are committed to being a guiding light for our clients as they work towards a happier, healthier life.

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