Because addiction is such a devastating and debilitating illness, we tend to think of recovery as a very serious undertaking. While it is a very significant endeavor in our lives, incorporating enjoyment into the process is just as important as any of the serious elements involved. In addition to the therapy and deep emotional work, it’s also critical that we allow ourselves to have fun. When we’ve been struggling with addiction, we often have forgotten what it’s like to have fun, let loose and just be ourselves. We have a very hard time relaxing. We haven’t yet learned how to have fun while sober. We don’t know how to enjoy life naturally. We associate fun and enjoyment with drugs and alcohol. We can’t imagine being happy without also being high or drunk. Learning how to enjoy ourselves gives us a huge advantage in the success of our recovery.
When we don’t allow ourselves to have fun, we’re missing out on some of the beautiful aspects of life. We’re depriving ourselves of opportunities for joy and peace. Recreational activities are a healthy way to have fun while also learning important life skills. Being able to have fun and relax is not a frivolous waste of time, it is a skill we can develop. Relaxation is a super important means of reducing stress. Having fun lets us give ourselves some mental space and detachment from our difficult emotions. When we’re overly attached to our pain, we’re not giving it a chance to heal. Enjoyment and fun help us to detach naturally from our stress and pain, giving them the room we need to help us resolve them naturally. Stress reduction is an important part of giving our mental health the foundation it needs to stay strong in our recovery.
While living with addiction, our idea of fun was actually just escapism. We were shutting off our emotions, avoiding them and numbing ourselves with drugs and alcohol. Our addictions were our distraction. Fun gives us a healthy way to distract ourselves from our pain, which is important because being overly focused on our pain at all times only contributes to our stress and depression. Enjoying ourselves also strengthens our inner resilience and coping skills to actually handle our pain in healthy ways. When we are happier, we are more likely to stay the course of our recovery and commit to our goals. When we are less stressed, less depressed and more at peace within ourselves, we’re much less likely to succumb to relapse.
Fun and enjoyment are important parts of the recovery process that we shouldn’t overlook or trivialize. We should incorporate them into our regular routine along with all of the more serious elements.
The treatment programs at Riverside Recovery include therapeutic recreational activities to help you bring fun and enjoyment back into your life and to help you with your healing process. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.