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Living with addictions and mental health issues presents us with some very difficult challenges, and an important part of recovery is discovering ways to find enjoyment in our lives again. We often neglect our happiness and stop doing the things we love. We think we don’t deserve to be happy because of our shame and lack of self-forgiveness. We think prioritizing ourselves is selfish, and we think of self-care as a chore. Let’s explore why having fun is not a waste of our time but in fact a very helpful element in our recovery.

The goal of recovery is not just to abstain from our addictive substances and behaviors, but also to reconnect with ourselves and be at peace within ourselves. As children, many of us laughed, smiled and played naturally. They were natural instincts for us. As adults, we seem to have forgotten that it’s okay to enjoy ourselves and have fun. Happiness is an important part of recovery. If we live a life of abstinence but aren’t happy, our recovery is not as profound as it could be. What do you love to do? Make a list of things that you used to enjoy doing, and give yourself permission to make time for them.

Connect with other people and socialize. We isolate so much when we’re depressed and caught in our cycles of addiction. Not only can we learn from other people and benefit from their wisdom in our recovery, we can also allow them to cheer us up when we’re down and vice versa. We can give ourselves the gifts of laughter and smiling. We can play again, as adults. Games, movies, sports, reading, anything you find fun and entertaining. It’s ok, let yourself play! Our minds and hearts work on overdrive, and when we are unhappy, they are inundated with strenuous thoughts and emotions, sometimes constantly. Give them some much needed rest by giving yourself healthy forms of fun.

When we were embroiled in our addictions, we thought of fun as using, getting high, getting our fix. As we grow in self-love, we stop wanting to self-destruct, and the things we once found fun no longer are. Recovering in a holistic way means finding the things that make us feel whole and happy. Recovery means finding our joy and living it. Reward yourself for staying strong, show yourself some love, and have some fun!

We’re here to help you find your enjoyment in life again. Recovery is possible. Call (800) 871-5440.