Learning to Laugh

When we begin our journey in recovery, we come in feeling broken, alone, and beaten down. We have removed the drugs and alcohol from our system and have to find a way to cope with feelings we haven’t had to face in a long time. While taking your recovery seriously is important, it can be detrimental to your emotional health to take yourself too seriously[1]. In whatever fellowship we may choose, we are surrounded by like-minded people who are seeking the same peace and happiness we so desperately need. The easiest way to feel comfortable and supported while recovering from addiction is to learn how to laugh at yourself and have fun. 

Judgement is something that almost everyone fears, some more than others. Early in my recovery, I was full of fear. I couldn’t walk into a room without feeling everyone’s eyes on me; I felt as if every single person in the room was whispering about me or laughing at me. After discussing this with a few mentors, they assured me that this was something almost every addict struggled with. The fact is, the best way to overcome a fear of this nature is to laugh at yourself. I realized how hilarious and delusional I was to think that people were affected by my presence; my ego was way out of proportion. So, I started to call myself out on my own defects and laugh about them with my friends in recovery. Soon, you start to realize that most people have the same irrational fears as you, and once you laugh about them the power is taken away from those fears. 

Girl in sunglasses smiling with yellow background

When we are feeling judged just by walking into a room, its usually our own insecurities and judgments that we place on ourselves cropping up. Most of the time, the hurtful things we assume other people are thinking about us are far from the way people actually see us. Another useful tool to break the cycle of this negative thinking is to start using positive affirmations[2]. We are constantly tearing ourselves down in our minds, and holding onto guilt or shame. As long as we hold onto negative patterns of thought, it will be impossible to feel comfortable in our own skin. It is extremely important to love ourselves and be confident in the positive characteristics we possess, otherwise, it makes it really difficult for other people to connect with us. When we are feeling judged or insecure, we appear closed off or guarded. In recovery, it is vital that we learn to be open with our peers, feel secure within our fellowship, and most importantly within our own skin. 

The opinions of other people should not affect us so heavily. This is something most people struggle with daily, but how do we ignore negative opinions? Once we are comfortable in our own skin and confident with the person we have become, those opinions won’t matter so heavily. It’s also important to remember that when someone else has something negative to say about us, they are usually coming from a place of their own fear and insecurities about themselves. We all have felt insecure and fearful, so when you look at it from that perspective it affects your ego less and gives you an opportunity to help someone else who may be hurting. 

Two stuffed smiley faces on a bench. The smiley face on the left belly says "Happy.." and the one on the right says, " Keep on Smiling!"

We get sober with the hope of living a fulfilling and happy life, so why not allow yourself to laugh and have fun? We are trying to save our lives and abandon all of the darkness that is our past. Many of us are suffering from mental health as a result of our addiction[3] as well. This can be difficult, but if we can’t laugh through the pain and discomfort, we are missing the whole point of recovery. Some of the best times of my life were spent with a group of friends from recovery, telling stories of the ridiculous things we have done, and laughing with each other about them. 

After I learned to take myself less seriously, my feelings of inadequacy and most of my insecurities have become something of the past. When I walk into a room, I feel welcomed and accepted by others. I no longer think that the group of people laughing on the other side of the room is making fun of me, I see them laughing and smiling and it makes me feel relieved that others have found the same happiness we all crave. We all know what it is like to feel broken, so when we come together and gain the ability to take life less seriously and roll with the tides we make the life-long process of recovery something we look forward to and cherish. 

Cassidy Webb is an avid writer from South Florida. She advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.

1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-adaptive-mind/201811/how-stop-taking-yourself-too-seriously

2. https://positiveaffirmationscenter.com/positive-affirmations-for-negative-thoughts/

3. https://paxmemphis.com/addiction-and-the-effects-on-your-mental-health/

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