He who binds himself to joy,
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses joy as it flies,
Lives in Eternities Sunrise
-William Blake

For those with addiction problems, it can be very easy to forget that life is not meant to be an unending experience of happiness and joy. Furthermore, the concept of happiness can be easily misunderstood if it is seen only as the absence of negative feelings or as synonymous to fun. Happiness can easily become another addictive state if it is not pursued correctly. A life well lived is one of balance. Within that balance should necessarily be time for fun and feelings of happiness. But there must also be times for work, study, waiting, and many other activities that aren’t necessarily associated with instantaneous feelings of happiness. Often, in fact, it is the more immediately mundane phases of life that are ultimately responsible for creating the truly deep experiences of personal fulfillment and contentment, that keep our lives functioning smoothly. If feelings of happiness become the goal in life, it is very easy to want to avoid the kind of focus and hard work necessary to create the life we truly want to live. It is realistic to want and to expect happiness in life. But it is important to remember that feelings of happiness and joy are ephemeral, meant to be experienced as evidence that we are taking care of ourselves correctly. Their acute experiences are ultimately moods, part of the landscape of a full and fruitful life. It is very important not to make these feelings end goals in themselves.

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