We didn’t get sober to be miserable, somber, or bored. Folks in recovery are fun, spontaneous, and expressive. In any given gathering or meeting there will be at least a handful of folks who are laughing and seem almost unrealistically happy. Seek these folks out. Not only have they got what we want in their program; they’ve also learned not to take themselves too seriously.
Fun is life affirming. It provides release and reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. It gives us things to look forward to in the midst of hard work and change. It socializes us and helps fulfill a vital need for friendship.
I worked with a client years ago who shared their view that laughter is the most spiritual of all experiences because it serves no purpose other than to make us lighten up and feel better. I couldn’t agree more. Further, as my favorite novelist Spider Robinson wrote, "Any shrinks office from which laughter is not heard as often as tears should be shut down immediately."
Even still, it can be hard to consider – what’s fun to do sober? Well, I hate reinventing the wheel, so my best advice is to consider – who do you know who knows how to have a good time sober? Whose company do you feel better in?
I worked with a rehab years ago that was brilliant in their approach to fun. After a full day of groups and counseling, the clients were ordered to go do things like mini golfing, bowling, swimming, bike riding, skate boarding and roller blading. It was funny to me – they’d leave for the activity complaining about how these were childish pursuits and they’d return laughing and having had the time of their lives.
The best people I know can have a good time at the DMV. It’s really about attitude, enjoying the company of kindred spirits, and choosing to take a break from your troubles. Double your misery back if not satisfied!