Fun in Sobriety?
The first time I tried to get sober I was 19. This was December, 2006. I’d dropped out of college after the first semester of my sophomore year. I thought I was like every other nineteen year old girl. Turns out, most nineteen year olds can go to class sober. Turns out most nineteen year olds don’t black out every night.
My parents realized long before I did how unmanageable my life was. They sent me to rehab and that’s where I perfected the art of telling people what they wanted to hear, of sliding under the radar. I wanted to have the willingness to get sober, but the truth is, I just didn’t. See, getting sober wasn’t worth it to me. I thought you couldn’t have fun in sobriety. I wouldn’t get sober for another five and a half years.
During this time, I didn’t much fun at all. I laughed sometimes, but always at the expense of someone else. I laughed because making fun of someone else made me feel better about myself. I gossiped because it made me feel better about myself.
Fake Fun in Fake Sobriety
I had periods of abstinence during those five plus years, but never actually worked a program. I couldn’t imagine a life without drugs or alcohol, let alone being able to have fun sober.
The truth is, during those periods of abstinence, I still had all my old behaviors. I lied, cheated, stole, and manipulated. I just didn’t use substances. I felt even worse during this time, if that makes sense. I didn’t have drugs to cover my feelings. I was a raw nerve and living a miserable existence. I remember doing activities that should have been fun. I even thought I was having fun sometimes. Really, I was just trying to fake it ’till I made it.
I thought if I didn’t change my attitude, or behaviors, but laughed when other people did, it might rub off on me. That didn’t happen. After awhile, I didn’t think sober people could have fun at all. I thought everyone else was doing what I was, faking a happy life. So, I went on one hell of a run. I used for a year and a half. During this time, some very close to me passed away. It was only then that I began to realize my crippling addiction. It was only then I began to realize I didn’t want to live this way anymore.
Real Fun in Real Sobriety
My sobriety date is January 17, 2011. I got sober on my 24th birthday. I’d love to say that I did the right thing from the start, that I finally had willingness, but I didn’t. I had to experience more pain, this time while in treatment, to become willing.
I was in an intensive inpatient treatment center for seven months. After about six months, I found what would become, and still is, my home group. I remember going to this meeting and seeing so many young people smiling, so many young people having fun. The crazy part was they were sober! You mean I can have fun in sobriety? This was a new idea for me. I saw clients returning from pass with sober-supports. They were happy and looked like they were having fun. This boggled my mind. I asked myself hundreds of times “are they really having fun in sobriety?”
I realized these people were only happy because they’d worked through the twelve-steps and found a new way of life. I decided I wanted what they had. I got a sponsor who began to take me through the steps. Eventually, I did a fifth step and learned my life had been driven by self-centered fear. I started going out with people after meetings. I slowly began to have fun in sobriety.
Still, I wasn’t 100% sure what people actually did for fun in sobriety. I soon learned, you do the same thing normal people do! You go out to dinner, to movies, to concerts, to friends’ houses. To this day, some of the best moments I’ve had have been sitting at a friend’s apartment, just talking and laughing.
I remember being in a friend’s car one day. We were joking around, laughing, and generally having a good time. He looked at me and said “If I knew sobriety was this fun, I’d have gotten sober a long time ago!” I couldn’t agree more. I thank God everyday for finding me a home in Alcoholics Anonymous. I think God everyday for the simple fact that I can be happy. I thank God everyday for being able to have fun in sobriety.