The misconception that getting sober is not a fun experience is a prevalent one. I know that I absolutely subscribed to that idea before I got sober, and even felt at the beginning of my sobriety that I was still entirely correct that fun without drugs and alcohol was not possible.
Fun Without Drugs and Alcohol is Possible
People around me would tell me that having fun in sobriety was possible. In fact, I even witnessed people with the same amount of time having fun. Sure, I would laugh at times. But the majority of the time I was still depressed; upset that my life had become so unmanageable and that I was ‘forced’ to get sober. Despite the proof right in front of me I was still unsure. I knew I had a great deal of fun drinking and using and that there was nothing in the world that was going to make me feel that way again.
In some respects, this is true. Drugs and alcohol all provided me a sense of relief that I believed nothing else could make me feel. But what I didn’t realize then was that I just hadn’t found anything to replace it with…yet. My mind was closed to the idea that there could be a different lifestyle for me, one that not only provided a sense of relief but that was also a great deal of fun.
Get a Group of Friends
In order to get to this point, especially in early sobriety, I needed a support group of friends around me. People with the same amount of time that I could relate to, and people with more time than myself that provided constant proof that this thing was indeed possible and that I could have fun. I was lucky enough to be in an environment that gave this to me each and every day, and for that I am entirely grateful.
Sharing fun is what proved to be a key factor in me ‘figuring it out.’ I had always isolated and often used drugs and alcohol alone, believing myself to be doing just fine and in fact, having “fun.” I realized it is nearly impossible to have fun if you are not sharing it.
Staying active and keeping a calendar of events to come proved to be key, especially in the second year of my sobriety. Having something to look forward to and making plans that I was excited about gave me a sense of purpose for all of the day-to-day responsibilities I had. Going to work, looking after my pets, cleaning my apartment and maintaining a respectable lifestyle helped remind me that I do all of this in order to be able to have fun. It made me realize that there was always an underlying feeling of guilt whenever I had gone out and used drugs for fun, because I knew there were 20 other things I should be doing that I wasn’t. Real fun doesn’t work like that.
Fun is Genuine and Sincere
When I really grasped that I was having fun in my sobriety it caught me off-guard! At first, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was doing the same things I used to do when I was a kid but there was an underlying feeling of gratitude I had for the good times I was experiencing.
What I came to realize is that when we get sober and begin to have fun, that fun is sincere and genuine. There was no monster lurking in the back of my mind, wondering when the next time I would fix would be or whether or not someone I was hanging out with would discover what my real intentions were. Fun in sobriety is unmistakably real; when you share it with true friends you’re able to achieve a greater sense of freedom and serenity that was not possible before. What do you do to have fun in sobriety?