Everybody likes to have fun, especially when the sun is shining and summer is in full effect! There’s always plenty to do all summer long — from simple hang-outs to big adventures, summertime is definitely party season. What does that mean for those of us in recovery from alcoholism and addiction? Aren’t we supposed to avoid parties like the plague? Doesn’t the fun end forever when we enter recovery?
Absolutely not! In fact, it says right in the literature of recovery that we absolutely insist on enjoying life. A life in recovery wouldn’t be worth much if it was no fun at all, would it? Most of us in recovery find that engaging with a 12-Step program and the 12-Step lifestyle spells the beginning of true joy and fun, not the end. Of course, there is a lot to keep in mind concerning the safeguarding of our recovery. Just because we have to keep a few things in mind doesn’t mean the party is over. Most of us in recovery find that the party has just started; it’s just a different, better party than we’re used to.
The Party Isn’t Over
No sir, the party isn’t over in recovery, it’s just begun. However, this party has no alcohol or substances. It still has great music, great friends, and lots of laughter and fun. The point is that parties don’t end in recovery, we just need to ever so slightly change our definition of “party.” There are tons of occasions to party in recovery, including birthday or anniversary parties, which are often the most exciting. Every time someone takes another year clean and sober in recovery is a heck of a great reason to have ourselves a party and celebrate the miracle of recovery. There’s plenty to celebrate, and the longer we stay in recovery, the longer the list grows.
Of course, the way we “party” changes, just as our definition of the word and activity changes. However, we promise the new style of partying is way better than the old one. There are no embarrassing or shameful actions we can’t remember. There’s no regret and remorse the next morning. Instead, we are free and happy to enjoy the occasion, being ourselves all the while — and the morning after, there are nothing but fond memories. It’s much different from the way we used to party, and a lot more fun. Suffice it to say, in recovery, we learn how to party responsibly. With great responsibility comes great freedom, and with great freedom comes true enjoyment of our lives. After all, one of the chiefest benefits of a 12-Step program is recovery and freedom from our fatal disease. That sounds worthy of a responsible celebration to us!
Enjoy Yourself Safely
There are, of course, some real-world issues to consider around summer party season or any party whatsoever. The book Alcoholics Anonymous tells us that we can safely go wherever normal men may go, so long as we remain actively engaged in a 12-Step program of recovery. It goes on to say that once we have worked all Twelve Steps and begun to maintain constant conscious contact with our higher power, we will be placed in a position of neutrality from the drink and substance. These are nothing short of miracles for people like us who suffer from alcoholism and addiction. These miracles may become reality in our lives when we actively work and remain engaged with the Twelve Steps.
There is still more to consider, though. No matter how long we have been in recovery, it is likely best to avoid any parties or places where there may be illicit substances present. We live our lives on the straight and narrow now, and such things are best avoided. Alcohol, however, is much harder to avoid. From innocent family gatherings to huge parties, it is more likely to be commonly encountered. If we have done the work and been placed in the position of neutrality, there is little to fear from this, but we may want to keep some other things in mind.
We should always have a good reason for attending a party, even if our reason is just to see some friends and have some fun. Having a clear goal and a clear purpose helps keep us in the right frame of mind. If we are attending a party with the intention of adding fun and being helpful, we can align such goals with our daily purpose in recovery, and therefore bolster our own recovery in doing so. It is recommended that we have clear-cut reasons for attending any party that is not a recovery-centered function. The good news is, there are always tons of fun, recovery-centered things going on. Life in recovery provides plenty of reasons to boogie down and have a blast.
Another thing we may want to keep in mind when considering the possibility of attending a party where there may be alcohol is to use the buddy system. If we are unsure about the safety of the event, or on shaky ground with our recovery, it is best to travel in pairs. We can bring a recovery buddy with us to help keep us safe and centered. Should there ever be doubt about whether or not to attend a party at all, we will want to consult our sponsor and our higher power.
Anyone in recovery can attest to the fact that the fun is only just beginning. Our lives in recovery are more fun, full, and exciting than they ever were in the disease of alcoholism and addiction — hands down. At Jaywalker Lodge, we believe wholeheartedly that the miracle of recovery itself is reason enough to celebrate! How could it be anything less? A life in recovery is all about purpose, joy, fulfillment, abundance, meaning, happiness, and love. Now that sounds like a real party! If you are struggling with achieving or maintaining recovery, Jaywalker Lodge can help make a difference in your journey. We have a special focus on helping men who have been unable to find lasting recovery in the past. We are here for you, and we can help change the story of your recovery journey. If you are ready and willing to do the necessary work, Jaywalker Lodge is here to help you get started on the right foot. Call us today at (866) 529-9255.