Nearly 2,000 years ago Epictetus noted that “What upsets people is not the things themselves but their judgments about the things.”

Lincoln suggested that “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Both research and experience suggest they were both right.

Naturally we do not see a lot of happy people coming through our doors – after all, happy people don’t have alcohol problems.

We dp, consequently, give you permission to be happy, and then set about helping you discover how to manage that in your own unique, personal, and empowering ways.

Of course, as usual, the suggestion – be happy – is easily stated and hard to achieve. Not impossible, just difficult, and unlike alcohol, does require that you pay attention and make an effort.

That said, we’d like to mention a few of the things that help:

First, it’s a choice. Aristotle noted that “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” Hmmm, sounds like Lincoln knew his history?

Second, pick where you live – especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I find it easier to be happy in January here in S. CA. than I did in the Arctic, on the Yukon, or Kodiak Island. Most of us are affected to some degree by environmental circumstances – pay attention to yours!

Third, live long enough to get old. It may be counterintuitive, but as people get older they also get happier. It’s a matter of having fewer big decisions to make, being less concerned about what others think, and being willing to enjoy the moment.

Fourth, avoid isolation and be involved – in activities, interests, and others. Engagement matters.

Fifth, pay attention to your health and maintain whatever you can while enduring what you can’t with good grace and humor.

Sixth, pets help so rescue that dog or cat. There’re reasons why my license plate frame reads “I Was Saved By A Rescue Dog!”

Still reading? In that case, move along to Section 2 and find a few more suggestions.

Happy?  (continued)…

Seventh, happiness depends more on “doing stuff” than it does on “having stuff.” Possessions have a short shelf life in the production of happiness, but we get to cherish experiences for a lifetime – especially the shared ones.

Eighth, learn to divert your mind’s “negative bias” into other channels. We naturally tend to dredge up whatever in our past supports negative moods, but we can learn to override this tendency by polishing up positive memories. That skill, and some CBT, can make a world of difference on a day-to-day basis.

Ninth, move to Denmark, the world’s happiest country!

Well, okay, we can’t all move to Europe, but we can pay attention to our surroundings and the environment we create. We can listen to jazz and classical music instead of the news.

We can pick our TV and movie viewing and what we read. We can choose who we associate with and the influences we allow to affect us.

We can give up alcohol’s non-life and, as one client so succinctly put it, “Get a grip and get a life!”

Perhaps, when all is said and done, that sums it up pretty well. So, if you’re ready to give up the “security of alcohol’s familiar miseries,”  we’re here to give you permission and tools to make the transition.