Today were looking at, “finding joy and the role of joy and pleasure in addiction recovery”.
Addiction can often leave individuals feeling numb or disconnected from the world around them. In recovery, it’s essential to find ways to reconnect with positive emotions and experiences that bring joy and pleasure back into life. The role of joy and pleasure in addiction recovery is often overlooked, but it can be an important component of building a strong, sustainable recovery.
People also often think about addiction recovery in terms of giving something up. A joyless existence without the thing we supposedly either love or at least can’t imagine doing without. It can be a surprise to realise life goes on and can in fact be full of things that bring joy, without the complicating dynamic addiction brings.
I remember the first I had a really good laugh in recovery. It was Christmas, I was in rehab, and glad to be there, as drug use at Christmas is often dire, not many drugs around, no money, everywhere is shut so there’s little opportunity to hustle and its usually cold too.
Anyway, we were playing some party games with visitors and staff families, and I suddenly realised I was having a really good time. I was laughing and it felt innocent. Usually, in addiction, laughing or ‘having a laugh’, was at someone else’s expense, but this time I realised that no one had been hurt and we hadn’t done anything we could be arrested for – it was just good, innocent fun. It was the first time in a very long time I could say that I was experiencing JOY.
One way to find joy in recovery is to explore new hobbies or interests. This can help to reignite a sense of passion and excitement for life. Whether it’s art, music, sports, or anything else, engaging in activities that bring you joy can be a powerful way to promote positive emotions and a sense of fulfilment.
Another approach is to prioritize self-care and make time for activities that promote relaxation and pleasure. I have a friend who spends most Saturdays in a sauna, all day! He gets a lunch, has a massage, meets other people of all ages and to hear him talk about it you can see the joy it brings in how animated he gets when relaying his time there.
You don’t have to have to spend all day in sauna, that’s just his thing. It could be as simple as taking a warm bath, reading a good book, or simply spending time in nature. When we take the time to care for ourselves and prioritize our own needs, we are better equipped to handle the challenges that come with recovery.
Social connections are also crucial to finding joy in recovery. Spending time with friends and family who support your recovery can help to promote positive emotions and a sense of belonging. For a few years I played badminton with a group of friends and family every Saturday evening and we all sometimes all went on holiday together, nothing big, usually just a weekend but it was good to connect to friends in different circumstances and settings.
You may also find joy a sense of community and support by joining a recovery group or finding a mentor who has experience with addiction recovery, these things can bring a sense of well-being and yes, of joy too.
Lastly, it’s important to celebrate the small wins and accomplishments that come with recovery. This can include milestones like staying sober for a certain amount of time, completing a step in a recovery programme, or achieving a personal goal. Recognizing these accomplishments can help to build self-esteem and promote a sense of pride and joy in the recovery journey.
Overall, finding joy and pleasure in addiction recovery is an important component of building a sustainable recovery. By exploring new hobbies, prioritizing self-care, building social connections, and celebrating accomplishments, it’s possible to build a fulfilling, joyful life in recovery.