Ski trips, first dates, dinners out, workouts on a muddy trail and not in the gym, trips to visit friends, vacations, days off from work, pedicures, new classes, dancing, and photography, what do all these things have in common? They just might be fun!
We all want fun in our lives. We all enjoy laughter, feeling connected, and being happy. But for the person in recovery, fun can involve some scary prerequisites. First, fun involves risk. When you set out to have fun, you may miss the target. What you have planned, especially if it is something you have never done before, may not actually be fun to you. You may not enjoy snow boarding, or a salsa class after all. Second, fun involves letting go of control. You usually have to leave your routine or your familiar surroundings. You may be with new people, have to stay out late, or eat strange food. Fun involves often going with the flow and being OK with the unplanned. People who have a lot of fun experiences, I have noticed, are also patient folk. Sometimes fun involves waiting for unknown periods of time. Waiting in lines, waiting for other people, waiting in traffic, the list goes on. Lastly, let’s not forget the issue of deserving fun, because there are so many things a person has to do in life to be valuable, and fun isn’t always on the list, right?
Enjoyment of life is the ultimate victory of all the hard work of recovery. Fun isn’t a luxury, it is an imperative. But getting there may involve trials, and it may mean that what you thought would be enjoyable was a learning experience. But, we don’t always have to set out on a long journey to experience lightheartedness, as long as we have made the decision to embrace it….fun might come and find you.
I often hear clients talk about that mysterious and illusive “other shoe” when they start to really enjoy themselves. They are so conditioned not to let go and seek pleasure, that they fear something bad will happen (the other shoe will drop- and this shoe is really big I hear). Sometimes they scurry back to the more familiar territory of struggle. They head to the old destructive patterns to ground themselves and beat that other shoe to the punch. These thoughts, ideas and patterns are common, and again recognizing them and knowing they may come are wonderful ways to ward them off. Instead of waiting for a shoe to drop, put both shoes on your feet and keep on heading towards the good stuff - you deserve it. And the more goodness and laughter you allow in your life, the more used to it you will become. Yes, I am talking about practicing having fun. And practice sharing your fun with others. It is also important to let others on this journey witness our progress. Joy and happiness are part of the landscape of our destination, and we need to share joy with one another, just as we need help each other through the darkness.
So reign victorious over fear, uncertainty, rigid routines and whatever stands between you and that experience you really want. Go out there and have some victorious fun!