The other day when I was doing my morning meditation, I had a gotcha moment. One of the readings was about taking pleasure in life – enjoying yourself. It said that though life was often hard, it wasn’t ALWAYS hard. My reaction was surprising.
Hey, life isn’t easy. I’ve got all kinds of responsibilities, bills to pay, things to worry about. This fun stuff is for kids.
This whole idea that life is not a battle to be won seems foreign to me sometimes, and I think to many other alcoholics. We are not known for balance – we’re known for “more.” We have no expertise in moderation and when we finally sober up, we are shocked to discover the state of our lives. Whoa! What a mess.
So we focus in on fixing ourselves. It’s a serious business. No more grandiose, childish crap for us….we are responsible.
On page 61, in the Big Book it says this: “Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well.”
Wait a minute. Aren’t we supposed to take our responsibilities seriously? Our lives were unmanageable, we’re just trying to do the right thing. Be grown ups?
Yes, we are. But surely life as a grown up is not all stress and worry and trying to achieve. That sounds suspiciously familiar. Especially when we add in the pressure to get “more.”
In the 112&12 on page 71: Instead of regarding the satisfaction of our material desires as the means by which we could live and function as human beings, we had taken these satisfactions to be the final end and aim of life.
NEWSFLASH: It’s okay to have some fun. Cuckoo-crazy, I know. And it’s okay to have fun that is non-AA related. Shocking!
When I first got here, my idea of fun was an eight-ball, a bar and someone else’s credit card. I had so much fun I woke up in motel rooms with no clue where I was or the name of the person sleeping next to me.
Not the kinda of fun I’m talking about here.
When we first come in, most of us really don’t know what we like to do. Fun is foreign. Especially when money is tight and the past is a wreck and lots of the people we love still aren’t speaking to us.
But even once our lives become more ordered and calm, balance can still be an issue. We do have responsibilities – a lot of us have jobs, families, church. We sponsor people, attend meetings and do service in AA.
But if we don’t recharge our batteries – if we don’t have some fun – sobriety can start to feel pretty dreary.
Honestly, there’s plenty of stuff to do, with someone or by yourself. Fun can be free too. You don’t have to rolling in dough – but if you are, there’s so much available here in Raleigh.
Here are some of the things I’ve done. And if I didn’t enjoy myself, I just tried something else.
- Get a library card. You have access to books, DVDs and video games. FREE.
- Walk around Shelly Lake. FREE.
- Go to the Farmer’s Market (there are tons of them.) FREE.
- Wander around the Flea Market at the State Fair Grounds. FREE
- Go to Pullen Park and ride the Carousel. Or watch the kids ride.
- Shop the Thrift Stores for new clothes. AFFORDABLE
- Go to Falls Lake. Swim, camp or cookout. AFFORDABLE
- Hit a second-run movie theater. AFFORDABLE
- Download Spotify and dance in your room. FREE
- Take a Zumba or Yoga class at a local church. FREE
- Watch your favorite funny movie and laugh out loud! FREE or AFFORDABLE
- Learn to sew or knit or crochet. AFFORDABLE.
- Check local websites for calendars of festivals or events.
- Go downtown to ArtSpace. FREE.
- Go to local museums. FREE or AFFORDABLE
A few hours a week, it’s okay to remember that we’re not a glum lot. That a life well-lived includes downtime. Pleasure in allowed, fun is a good thing.