Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Are You Having Fun in Recovery?

By 
Peter R. Coleman, M.D.


We recently had a visit from Gary Fisher. He is the Director of Cirque Lodge a wonderful treatment program in Utah. We have had a number of patients go there for rehab and they have all had a great experience and done well.  The gorgeous, natural surroundings combined with a caring staff and superb treatment modalities make it one of the premier In-Patient facilities in the nation!

One of the things Gary said stuck with me. He said that, at Cirque Lodge, “we try to show our patients that recovery is fun”. Their program is in the beautiful mountains of Utah, so the patients have lots of opportunities to explore and enjoy nature. Cirque Lodge makes sure they add a lot of other fun activities for all of their patients. One of their core beliefs is that if recovery is not fun people will not stick with it.

As I was thinking about this idea, I was chatting with some people from Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the guys asked whether going to meetings and working a program was still a chore or whether it had become fun. It is an interesting question that fits in with this whole idea of whether you are having more fun in recovery than you did when using drugs and alcohol.

Most people who I’ve asked this question have answered by saying that, in their experience, the early days of working a program was just that – work. It takes time and effort to work a recovery program. There is a lot to learn and a lot to absorb. There are new people to get to know and a new language to learn. You have to give up doing some things in order to spend the time to get clean and sober. It was not so much fun. Yet, it was a necessary thing to do in order to achieve a sober life, but it sure wasn’t fun. 

I tell my patients it is a lot like an insurance policy that pays long-term dividends. You have to pay into the plan in the early days but you reap fabulous benefits for the rest of your life. At some point being clean and sober stops being work and actually becomes fun. Recovery allows people to do things that they could never do if they were still using. Some people develop a new career or business. People meet new friends and partners. It allows people to travel and learn about the world, to experience new cultures and new ideas. Recovery often instills a desire to love more and to learn more. It encourages people to become more sensitive, more understanding, and more compassionate. Many people in long term recovery say that they would not go back to using drugs and alcohol even if they could do so safely – they love their new life so much.

Of course, working a program is still work – that is the paradox. But maybe it is a bit like the work that people do even when they don’t need to. Some people volunteer when they don’t need to. Some people work in businesses long after they have enough money to retire – they just like doing it. 

So, here’s the question - Is your recovery work, or have you got it to the stage where it is has become fun? Sometimes it is all in the way you look at it! 

At The Coleman Institute, you are of utmost importance to us!  We believe that living in recovery is lots of fun.  Let's us help you or someone you love start the process to wholeness.  We are here with our suite of detox treatments to help you and yours get clean and stay clean!  Please do not hesitate to call Jennifer or Amy at 1-877-773-3869.

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