Does ‘sober fun’ sound like an oxymoron?
If you’re in the process of addiction recovery, you might feel like your fun times are over. But in fact, one thing most recovering people have in common is the ability to enjoy themselves. “We absolutely insist on enjoying life,” is a sign found on the walls of many an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting room.
Often, newcomers to AA meetings come in feeling bad about their life, only to hear the group burst into laughter at the gory details of someone’s addiction story (and the person telling their story is laughing, too). How can these people laugh about this stuff? They laugh because they now have a solution. They laugh because they feel the great freedom of having left those behaviors behind. The meeting quickly becomes fun for the newcomer, too, because there is a sense of relief knowing you are in a room with people who know who you are and where you came from and are able to have a sense of humor about it.
Most people are lonely when they first begin addiction treatment, AA, or any other 12-step program. Addiction breaks down relationships as well as self-esteem. The experience of recovery provides an opportunity to, as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, watch a fellowship grow up around you. It allows people to form new friendships that genuinely support their journey and gives them activities and social events to attend where they won’t be tempted to use. Having a sober community makes sober fun inevitable.
Knowing that you have a social outlet that will not expose you to drugs or alcohol is invaluable. You can feel safe and supported when you have fun with your sober friends. There are, of course, an almost endless number of activities that can be enjoyed depending on your age, interests, fitness, talents, etc. But one activity anyone can enjoy is being of service to others. Working with your sober community to help someone in need or to volunteer at local organizations can be of enormous benefit, rebuilding self-esteem and giving you a sense of purpose.
Humans are social animals, and fellowship in recovery is especially crucial as a way to help prevent relapse. Don’t let yourself get isolated in your recovery. Find friends who support your journey, reach out to them when you need help, and make time for fun.