If we are being honest, anyone who is sitting in the rooms of an alcoholics or drug addicts anonymous meeting has been through a lot of heavy or even traumatic experiences. Addiction and recovery from drugs and alcohol is serious. In most shares, you hear tales of homelessness, suicide, arrests, overdoses, loss of loved ones, and financial strife. If talking to a newcomer, their outlook on life is usually dark and hopeless. However there is good news! You are in a room full of people who understand who you are, what you’re going through, and can provide you with ways they overcame their depressing pasts and found the light of sobriety in the darkness of addiction.
When I was first getting sober I had nothing to laugh about and was contemplating suicide for most of my days. There were days when the sound of people laughing in the rooms would annoy me and send me further into a mental spiral. They would laugh at some of my most depressing dark tales of my past and I didn’t understand why. I didn’t understand how could they be so happy when we were wrapped up in the horrible effects of addiction? My mind was focused on the negative mindset of how we are stricken with a disease that is going to kill us and society has branded us as worthless. Looking back, I now know my outlook was dark, dreary, and full of despair.
As time progressed, I started realizing that being sober wasn’t going to kill me or make my life any worse, but only better it. I began to understand that my group members weren’t laughing at me, but they were laughing because they could relate to me! This feeling is something I had been searching for my whole life. They had been through similar experiences that I had and now they are changed people. They were laughing at themselves having been in the same situation or having the same thoughts. Sometimes I think we would laugh to keep from crying.
The AA Twelve and Twelve is a set of guidelines that outline a course of action for tackling drug and alcohol in addition. In number four, it says that the ability to laugh at yourself is the very “acme of humility.” I didn’t know the meaning of humility, but people who talked about practicing humility seemed like the kind of people I wanted to be around and eventually wanted to become. Today I try to practice humility in all aspects of my life. It is the ego that hates humility and wants to separate us from others by convincing us that we are better or worse than others. Over time I found complete joy in being able to laugh at myself and not take myself nor anything too seriously. So now I am one of those people who talks about the importance of practicing humility.
I can get very wrapped up in focusing so hard on the steps or spiritual principles in every aspect of my life that I can come off as a recovery robot. It’s important for me to trust God and have faith that as long as I’m seeking him, He will handle everything in my life and work His magic in His time not mine. There are times when the self-awareness I have developed from my program of recovery can actually get in the way of my serenity. This is only when I am taking myself too seriously and am placing an unhealthy importance on myself.
As much as I hated hearing people joke and laugh when I was a beginning my sobriety, I think that subconsciously it’s the reason I kept coming back after horrible relapses. Now I’m one of those happy-go-lucky people who laughs at everything. Thanks to the support of my group, I can laugh at my past and not have to run away from it anymore. It is my past that has become my biggest asset in helping newly recovering addicts.