When I was asked to write a blog on the topic of fun in sobriety, of course the first thing I did was Google “fun in sobriety.” I was curious to know how most people in recovery answered the question of having fun in sobriety. The first page of Google results mostly consisted of lists of fun activities to discover/rediscover in early sobriety. I think it goes without saying that many of us have lost our passion for life by the time we got sober and that one way of regaining it is through fellowship activities and learning how to enjoy life without the influence of drugs and alcohol. However, rather than write about the specifics of sober fun activities, I wanted to share a broader perspective of what fun looks like in sobriety based upon my current experience.
Prior to June 2013, I would have considered a life without alcohol as a mundane life that was half-lived, with half-smiles. Turned out that an existence that required alcohol to feel “alive” and have what I thought was “fun” was the half-lived life – a futile existence. What I have discovered in sobriety is that my life without alcohol is where my actual living began. In order for me to really start living and experience true joy, amusement, lightheartedness, human connection, or all else that is considered fun, I had to discover why I was making a heavy going of life even after alcohol was no longer a factor. John Dupuy says “The disease of addiction has become the adventure of creating our highest and best selves,” and for me, this is 100% true. My path has not been to simply abstain from alcohol – it has, and continues to be, a journey through the false layers life had caused me to build to finally discovering who I really am. My definition of fun in sobriety has been: The adventure of recovering Nadia.
Normal things. Yes, normal things are fun! This one shocked me too. I had forgotten the simple pleasure of reading a book, going to the movies, hiking a trail, or baking cupcakes with my son. Towards the end of my drinking life, these things seemed out of range and torturous – things I avoided, or things I tried to incorporate alcohol into to make more interesting.
This will sound weird…For fun, I try being myself. I spent 35 years avoiding looking at myself, thinking that if I looked too close what I would find would destroy me. I was a liar, a cheat, a falsity, inherently messed up, and it was only a matter of time before the jig would be up, before I would be found out for the unworthy thing I believed myself to be. Living a double life is NOT fun.
Today I can honestly say that I am grateful I’m an alcoholic. I came to treatment to stop drinking, that was my only goal. However, what I’ve been given is so much more than that. I’m learning about myself, I’m learning how to love myself, have respect for myself and be useful to others. I believe many people go through their whole lives anxiously searching for happiness, self-love, healthy relationships, true connectivity, a purpose in life, etc. and never find those things. I’m grateful for the gift of joyful becoming!
BRC Recovery Alumna