As we go through this journey to build our self-worth and improve the way we experience our day to day life, we are, of course, aiming to find happiness in living alcohol-free. But perhaps the greater goal is finding contentment instead; an emotion that takes in the good with the bad and comes out still satisfied on the other side. Contentment goes one step further than happiness: it is more sustainable, realistic, and balanced.
When we have found contentment, or are contented, we are:
feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation
Have you ever heard the phrase “toxic positivity”? It speaks to how unhelpful “just be happy” can be when we’re facing true hardship; when we’re having trouble finding the silver lining we can end up feeling worse about ourselves. “Happiness” is incredibly subjective, and doesn’t often take reality into consideration. Forced positivity can be just as unhelpful as negativity in the long run.
Sometimes, we just feel… fine?... about our new AF life. *shrug* We’re not struggling any longer, but we’re also not over-the-moon happy about it. We’re somewhere in between, and If you’ve found that you’re not quite screaming from the rooftops about your alcohol-free life, but you’re feeling settled and happy still, that’s alright! This is contentment. This is a healthy and powerful state to be in; you have control, agency, and a realistic expectation of what everyday life is like. (Because, spoiler alert: it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows.)
When we’re content, we can have a bad day and it doesn’t impact our overall sense of self or sense of our life as a whole. We can make mistakes, we can falter, and it doesn’t send our happiness crashing to the ground. It’s less fragile than happiness; there’s a resilience to contentment that has more lasting power.