I'm coming to believe that I gotta be serene before I can hope to be happy. Serenity is my passport to my Higher Power. Unless I've got interior calmness -- peace of mind -- what might feel like happiness is in reality only a flash of pleasure, not real happiness at all. And as it is with all pleasure there is pain waiting. Just like the hangover the morning after.
If my mind is jumping around like an ant in a hot pot, if I am fearful, if I am angry and resentful, serenity is out of reach. I am locked up in the prison of my own mind. Every character defect is one more deadbolt on the door to freedom.
Fortunately the 12 Steps provides a way for me to get "cleaner" inside. To "uncover, discover and discard" those things that are blocking me from a full and complete experience of my Higher Power. Serenity happens naturally as I move toward the light. If I am serene, Happiness is right around the corner.