You have no doubt heard the saying: “Laughter is the best medicine.”
The saying is thought to be an update on a verse found in the Biblical book of Proverbs: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
You will note that the original version of the proverb includes a negative to go with the positive: a merry heart is good; a broken spirit is bad.
Those things may be especially true for those in recovery from a substance use disorder. Keeping your spirits up is a great way to support your sobriety; letting your spirits fall can be a danger to your recovery.
But given that many of us are busier than we would like to be and more stressed than it is healthy to be, it can be hard to remember the power of laughter—and to make sure we get a strong dose of hearty laughter every day.
So, we have some suggestions that we hope you won’t just laugh off.
Making the Most of Media Options
There are, of course, plenty of places to find funny material in our expansive media landscape. There are sitcoms, comedy specials, funny movies, and late night shows on TV and streaming services. There are funny podcasts, funny YouTube channels, and funny radio shows. You can find funny books, funny magazines, and funny comic strips in the paper.
Finding something that you consistently find funny and that fits into your schedule is a great way to add some laughter to your day.
We have one important note of caution, however. A lot of comedy delves into topics related to drugs and alcohol. Consider carefully whether that kind of comedy serves your recovery well. Happily, there is plenty of funny stuff out in the world that has absolutely nothing to do with drugs or alcohol—so you have lots of options for getting your daily supply of laughter.
Get Your Laughs Live & in Person
Getting out to see a favorite comedian when they come to your town on tour is a great way to have a fun, relaxing evening of laughter. Catching an up-and-comer in your local comedy club or some local talent at an open mic can provide plenty of laughter, too. (Heck, you might even take to the stage yourself at an open mic.)
Of course, we have a note of caution similar to the one above. Live comedy performances are often hosted in places that encourage drinking. For example, a comedy club might have a two drink minimum. You can fulfill that requirement with something non-alcoholic, to be sure. But it is important to think carefully about whether a given situation will be difficult for you.
On the flip side, clubs in your area may offer “dry” and/or “family” performances during which alcohol is not on offer. These can be great options for those in recovery.
Spend Your Time with People Who Make You Laugh
So far, we have been talking a lot about letting professionals—comedians, actors, writers, and more—make you laugh. But it is often our closest friends and family who can make us laugh the most. After all, these are people with whom you share a history, a collection of in-jokes, and plenty of great memories. These are also the people who are committed to supporting your sobriety while having a good time together and making new memories.
By now you know what comes next: a word of caution. There is a good chance that there were people in your life who made you laugh while you—and they—were using drugs or drinking. These are not the folks you want to turn to now—no matter how much fun you remember having with them.
No Joke: If You Are Struggling, We Can Help
There is nothing funny about a substance use disorder. An addiction to drugs or alcohol can have a devastating impact on your relationships, your livelihood, your physical and mental health, and more.
If you are in the grip of a substance use disorder, the time to get help is right now. At French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, PA, we offer medically supervised detoxification and a rehabilitation program built around individual and group therapy. We are committed to helping you get sober and then providing the strategies, resources, and support you need to stay sober.