Having Fun Sober
My fellow addicts, we are an interesting and somewhat predictable bunch. I know what you are thinking: Don’t ever call me predictable. Thing is, we kind of are. We are predictable in the sense that we all have similar reservations when it comes to recovery.
The biggest reservation I had when going into rehabilitation was ‘I won’t ever be able to have fun again.’ Do you relate? This was the contributing factor to most of my relapses back in the day. Immediately after ‘cleaning up’ I would want to get back on the partying scene, hang out with my addict friends and experience some sort of chaotic ‘fun.’
I recall one of my most horrifying relapses quite vividly – surprisingly. I was determined to party with friends and ventured out to the usual dingy club I loved so much. I thought I was ready to party sober with my Monster energy drinks in hand (of course). As I walked through the doors and into the crowd I was overwhelmed with anxiety. I had only been clean for 60 days. Why would I put myself in this situation? But still, I persevered. I thought it quite appropriate to have shots of energy drinks to celebrate my 60 days of recovery (not triggering at all!).
Then I ventured off to the ladies room. As I walked into the bathroom stall I was struck with euphoric recall – remembering the ‘good ol’ days’ of cutting lines on the plastic toilet seat. My mind completely blocked out just how terrifying my life had become in active addiction. I decided immediately that the only way for me to socialise and have fun was to use again. I convinced myself it was for the greater good. I could only speak to people while high. If I wanted a life I would have to pick up my drug of choice. In my mind it was as simple as that.
The Fun: Then and Now
I have been clean for a few years now and I am able to have fun again. It took a long time for me to get used to socialising sober. During active addiction we regress and lose the fundamental life tools we once knew. We lose ourselves, our inhibitions and our ability to communicate on a ‘real’ level. So obviously going into recovery is terrifying. Our identity is that of the addict and once that is stripped away who are we?
Who am I?
So we start from scratch. We have to learn how to cope in social situations all over again. This takes work and we have to sit with uncomfortable feelings for a long time. Anxiety is a part of recovery but learning to overcome this anxiety and let go of our fear is what strengthens us and promises us a better life.
Regaining Self-Confidence: 3 Simple Tips
So how do people become comfortable with themselves in recovery? There are a few steps one can take to get to that point. But remember, there is no quick fix. Instant gratification no more!
• Support Groups
As mentioned before, addicts in recovery are starting over. If we are serious about recovery we have to let go of our former life and destructive friendships. Making new friends is terrifying – especially in early recovery. This is why support groups such as NA and AA are important. This is where you are sure to find likeminded people who completely understand and empathise with your anxiety. These are the people who accept you, take you in and help you build a new life. Yes, it is tough to walk into a meeting completely alone – but everyone there had to do it too. Go for coffee after the meeting with a few of your fellows and get to know them. It is worth it. Building friendships in NA and AA is truly magnificent.
The Specialised Houghton House support groups.
These support groups offer stability and encouragement for those in recovery. This is the ideal way to integrate back into society and gain self-awareness needed to do so.
• Group Therapy Sessions
• Individual Therapy Sessions
• Assistance with Reintegration
• Educational Groups
• Weekly Relapse Prevention Groups
• Body Image Groups
The 12 steps work and they work because they are designed to help you through every stage of your recovery. It is by working the steps that you slowly gain insight into yourself, you relearn who you are and accept who you once were. With a 12 step program you are able to overcome your resentments, acknowledge your mistakes and embrace your innate goodness. Through this process your self-confidence is sure to rise and anxiety in social situations eventually lifts.
Try New Things!
Gather a group of your recovering addict friends and go on an adventure. Go rock climbing, hiking, join an art class or have a simple picnic in a local park. Discover new ways to socialise. Through this you will learn what you actually love – and what you definitely don’t like. (Let’s just say that hiking is not for me.) These activities and hobbies distract you from your past by placing your firmly in the present.
It takes time. It takes dedication. But having fun while sober is possible. I can honestly say I have never had more fun in my life then I have now. It is a different kind of fun – an innate fun!
Work through the anxiety, it is so worth it.
If you a loved one wants to Have Fun Sober
Call Houghton House now 011 787 9142