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Finding Humor in Recovery

We should never forget that addiction and alcoholism are progressive and fatal diseases. Choosing sobriety is choosing life, and to continue using drugs and alcohol will certain mean disaster or even death. However, we are human and we will inevitably find moments of humor on our journey toward long-term sobriety.

Dark humor tends to be a trademark of men and women in recovery. The main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, referred to as the “Big Book”, explains, “Outsiders are sometimes shocked when we burst into merriment over a seemingly tragic experience out of the pat. But why shouldn’t we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others.” Recovery is about learning to enjoy life again. There would be little attraction to living a spiritual sober life if we felt that we would not be able to laugh again.

Jokes simply help people cope with difficult times, and there are few times more difficult than the crucial beginnings of sobriety. Arnie Cann of the University of North Carolina explained that humor is a way of making a threatening situation less threatening and can be an effective way to cope: “From a very psychological level, just being able to use humor to change the way you interpret a situation — so it doesn’t seem quite as threatening — seems very important.”

In a 2013 Association for Psychological Science article entitled Awfully Funny, Eric Jaffe described a study examining the role of humor in alleviating and inhibiting personal anxiety. The researchers stressed out subjects by telling them they would be taking a difficult math test. Half of the participants read comics, while the rest read poems or nothing at all. The researchers found that the participants exposed to the humorous comics felt less anxiety about the test and scored significantly higher. Lead researcher Thomas Ford of Western Carolina University said, “So I think, to extrapolate from that study, that we cope with tragedy– stress on a much larger scale– through humor just as a way to reduce the negative anxiety-related emotions associated with it.”

There is nothing wrong with laughter, even in situations as serious as our recovery. We should certainly never forget the seriousness of what we are doing and the potential dangers of returning to drugs and alcohol. However, there are moments, when appropriate, to look back on our lives and laugh.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future in sobriety. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a high quality and stress-free residential treatment program that includes medically-supported detoxification, maintenance care, individual therapies, counseling (including family therapy), and plans to help clients build life skills that will help them after discharge. For more information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431