Redefining "Fun" and "Relaxing"

Old 08-25-2013, 09:50 AM
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Redefining "Fun" and "Relaxing"

Just a quick thought that's been circling in my head lately.

When I first quit alcohol, I knew it had to be done. I accepted it. Regardless of everything, I'd die if I didn't stop. There was no getting around it. So I quit, with a chip on my shoulder. You see, I had to accept that I was done having "fun". The fun was over. And I was going to have to live with it. It was depressing, I mourned the loss. No more fun for me. Boo hoo. After all, who doesn't like having fun? Fun things and fun people and fun moments, those are the best part of life! But, I was an alcoholic. I could not drink. So for me, I was done having fun. Poor me. Sigh.

Similarly, I needed to stop smoking weed, that was clear. I have an addictive personality, so I couldn't use. I could not be around drug dealers and pot heads. I accepted it. There was no getting around it. Alas, I had to accept that there would be no more "relaxing" moments for me. I could never again chill out. And it was depressing, and once again I mourned the loss. Who doesn't like to sit back and say "aaaah"? Relaxing times, relaxing breaks from reality, we all love to relax. But I'm an addict, and I could not smoke anymore. Rats. No more relaxing moments for this guy. Relaxing was a thing of the past for this filthy addict. Poor me.

In short, I had accepted sobriety. Which meant, unfortunately, there would be no more fun, and no more relaxing moments. Ever. And that really ticked me off.

Sounds crazy huh? But that's how I viewed life - and it took me a year to get my head straight! The problem in this first year has been my inability to realize that just because I quit drugs and booze, that does not mean life won't be enjoyable from here on out. When we get sober we are taught this is a "job". And that's probably the best way to start this journey. But that doesn't mean we always need to view the sober life as continuous back-breaking work toiling in the mines. It's not, in fact when you can free yourself of all the worries caused by drugs and alcohol, you will feel more happy and relaxed than you'd ever imagine! Glad I could share and hopefully this will sprout some growth with others.
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:54 AM
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The party isn't over; it just changes location. And we can actually remember the good times, the ones that truly are good times.
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:35 AM
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Sometimes I feel like I'm not having fun anymore but then I remind myself that there was nothing fun about my last days of drinking. Looking forward to the when I view it the way you do. I'm coming up on 4 months so I'm still kind of stuck in that point you talked of in your first year
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:48 AM
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Thanks for the thread...

I was home alone yesterday and suddenly realized I'm not sure how to deliberately have fun, how to create enjoyment. That was part of my alcoholism - when alcohol was working, it gave me that fun, warm, connected feeling without having to actually do anything, go anywhere. Sober, I didn't, and still don't, know how to get that warm/connected/fun feeling.

Now I'm sober/clean and realize I don't know how to do this, what that looks like. That was an eye-opener.

Thanks again for the thread.
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for those responses. Yeah, I'm still figuring out details as well. I used to think it was fun to "just add booze" and sit there, poisoning my body and passing out. Now when I sit on the couch and drink seltzer water it doesn't have the same pizzazz. That said, I have actually had REAL fun while sober. The trick is to bottle those sober memories and use them as fuel, keep going back to them when the times get tough. I don't play golf, but I imagine this is what it's like when a pro golfer completely changes his swing. It's all mechanics, I just need to keep training and practicing....I think.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:09 PM
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Hi Dylan.

Yeah, the having fun thing seems to be a problem for many of us in early sobriety.

When I first got sober, I was never able to just sit still. Though I love to read, it was difficult for me to pick up reading again. So I took up reading short stories. This helped introduce me to several authors who were new to me: Jack Finney, Anne Beattie, Raymond Carver... Carver was a drunk who ultimately succumbed to an alcoholic death. I think all are very good writers, and their styles are very different.

Besides that, I made myself active in many other ways, and this ultimately allowed me to achieve sobriety. Instead of sitting at home arguing with myself and criticizing myself, feeling sorry for how my life had become so schitty, I got up and went, with the expectation that I was going to have a lousy time. If nothing else, I'd be out of my head for a given period of time. To this day, I remain surprised that I'm able to enjoy activities, alone or with others, that I didn't anticipate would give me pleasure, and/or relief.

I had changed from a "guy who does things" to actually enjoying things I'd never done while I was drinking. Too often we talk ourselves out of doing things that can in some way enrich us, caught up as we are in the thinking of early sobriety that tells us, "Why should I out go out and do things, since I won't enjoy it, and it's not going to make a difference?" So we become habitual hermits, left wondering why our lives are so dead.

A year from now, I'll still be a year older than I am today, whether I make an effort to enjoy myself or not.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:17 PM
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WOW End Game.
You are describing me to a "T" ! Iam the "Hermit" alright. I am still drinking Iam ashamed to say...and the very thought or idea of having fun doing ANYTHING is a pipe fact I have no desire to do or not! I have a ton of work I need to get done...which is certainly NOT fun...but no desire to do it. I know it NEEDS to be done...but no. I dont feel like it.
It just keeps pileing up and pileing up...and eventually it will bury me !

Things I used to LOVE doing...places I used to LOVE going to and really enjoyed...things that I really looked forward to like a 8 yo kid on Christmas morning, that were not even drinking related...I just have lost interest in.

Severe Depression?...most likely...caused by drinking?...Definantely. As they say and tis' true...

"Alcohol robs us of the things we love most" ! be it people places or things.

Thanks for waking me up End Game...

Great Thread "Grande (Big) Sombrero"...

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Old 08-25-2013, 02:53 PM
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Excellent posts!

Sobriety Translator:

I'm not having fun: I'm not drinking
Everything is boring: I'm not drinking
There's nothing to do: I'm not drinking
I'm going to have a lousy time: I can't drink
Nothing interests me anymore: I'm not drinking

You all get the message. All of those statements come down to one thing, it's the mind's inability to conceive doing anything that doesn't involve drinking. It takes time to get away from that.

If you allow yourself some time to get past the beginning, hair raising, nail biting portion you will slowly find that your concept of having fun really had nothing to do with actually having fun. It was all about the drinking.

This is followed by actually having fun, as it's meant to be had. REAL fun, not just something you're doing simply because it involves alcohol.

I'm just being snarky here but go and sit at a bar by yourself sober for an hour and listen to conversations. They're plastic and full of insincerity, if not just plain gripes about life and the world. Is that really fun?
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:22 PM
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Hi BigSombrero. I felt the same way once. The fun times were over - without booze I'd be just another ordinary, dull person doing what boring people do. I can't believe how long I clung to that thought & kept drinking. It hadn't been 'fun' in so many years. I had to be brought to my knees to finally stop. Why couldn't I have stopped all those years ago when alcohol ceased bringing me happiness? I just refused to admit it.

Loved the post & your helpful, valuable thoughts - thanks!
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:54 PM
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When I think back to my drinking days, I don't remember much fun.
I was really good at blacking out.

When I have actually analysed my drinking, it has always, or at least 90% of the time ruined whatever I was doing when I drank.

I also use to drink a lot during the day on weekends.
I started earlier and earlier in the day.

That always led to a massive hangover or having to have another drink to get over how bad I felt.

Thats when I became a hermit too.
I sometimes shut my door on a friday and did not leave my house until monday morning for work.

I was without a doubt a hermit.

I really did find it boring to have a hangover, or if I had had so much to drink the following night, I laid around waiting to sober up.

It really is no way to live life.

I do think I have more 'interesting times' now.
Before going shopping was a chore. I just wanted to find a pub to have a drink.
Family get togethers were hard work. I just wanted to get home and pour my own measures of vodka.

When I first stopped drinking, I had to constantly find things to do, to keep occupied. That need is nowhere as strong now.

I do find myself thinking, when I have done something during the day or the weekend, wow I would never have done that in my old life because I would have just sat at home drinking.

Just a few thoughts! xx
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:58 PM
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family gathers are still a tough one for me and i dread them. I dont like all the commotion and I dont really care to keep company with some of them but i'm forced into it. It makes me very angry. In my drinking days I was able to just remain drunk and I didnt care what was going on least not as much.

I'm not sure if i'll ever get past the family gathers stink thing maybe its normal.

I have more fun now but relaxation is still a big problem 2 years into sobreity. I dont have an off button. I dont like sitting around doing nothing and I find it really hard to relax if not impossible. I try I go through the motions but unless i'm exhausted and about to go to sleep and even thats no often I cant seem to relax.

I wish i could mindlessly zone out in front of the tv etc.. But I'm unable too. I'll read etc.. but i'm still very engaged and far from relaxed.

Hate to bring a negative light but relaxation is still a big challenge for me.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:05 PM
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Nothing wrong with bringing the negative into it - I'm still struggling with it too. For me, relaxation in sobriety only USED to come after I did something fairly "extreme", like hike up on a mountain or something. Or swim in the ocean. Now, I can find relaxation, but it still has to be after I've completed a task, and spent time away from home. But I still can't just take the day off and sit around and enjoy "doing nothing". For example, today it was a lazy Sunday, and after a week of activity you'd think I could relax. Alas, I was antsy in front of the television, I had a ball game on and that usually would be heaven. It wasn't. Just like you I had trouble feeling relaxed at all, if anything I've been more agitated.

However, I know that's the alcoholic/addictive voice scrambling around. Telling me that I can't enjoy an afternoon on the couch at home unless I am stoned or drunk. There's a mountain we have to climb, and at the top finally comes acceptance. The ride down the other side is easy breezy, we just have to give ourselves time to get to that apex.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:11 PM
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During some of the heights of my drinking career, I was stuck to the couch, for many consecutive months, with both a raging inferiority complex and agoraphobia. Fun fun fun.

Since I got sober, I have "done" more in three weeks than I swear I did in 9months boozing.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:24 PM
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I can relate to the extreme thing. I would run and burn myself out that would help me to at least sit down tho I wasnt relaxed per say i'd still be pretty engaged. Now I run but it doesnt burn me out anymore so I'm still go go go.

a few weeks ago I got into a tv show with the kids and finally I was able to unwind on the couch it was nice but then we watched all the episodes and well I'm back to unrelaxed again *sigh*.

in my drinking days it was different 5pm beer got cracked open and the relaxation began. That doesnt happen anymore. Granted a lot of other really great stuff happens and gets accomplished. Its just the relaxation part thats hard.I dont think I ever had an off switch I think booze or pot pretty much just knocked me down on my butt day in and day out. I never really had to figure out how to "unwind" on my own.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:27 PM
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Doing something fun and physically strenuous followed by a really good meal is my favorite way to relax. In the past, when I did that, I would have just one glass of wine with dinner.
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Hevyn View Post
Why couldn't I have stopped all those years ago when alcohol ceased bringing me happiness?
I must admit "alcohol ceased bringing me happiness" to. I had hoped recovery would bring me new happiness but it didn't. Instead it brought me new joy instead. So what's the difference?

Where happiness is singular - Joy is plural.
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