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Struggling to Have Fun in Recovery?

Getting sober young is not easy.  Many young people phase out of early recovery because they simply cannot accept a new way of life.  A critical obstacle in getting sober young is the delusion that one cannot have any fun without drinking and using drugs.  With the internet and social media, young alcoholics/addicts are consistently teased with the notion that if they are not out partying… they might as well just sit at home with Mom and Dad.  On the contrary, it is very possible and exciting to have fun in recovery.  Don’t believe us?  Check out an opinion piece written by Surfside’s Media Producer, Brian L, and how he learned to have fun in recovery!

Brian L: “If It Didn’t Involve Partying… I Didn’t Want Anything To Do With It.”

Each rehab would tell me that I just needed to find a hobby, or something that I was interested in.  I would sit and think to myself, “If I have to go to one more bowling alley, I don’t know what I’ll do”.  Don’t get me wrong… I enjoy the occasional outing to the alley.  I had this preconceived idea based on absolutely nothing that in order to have fun in sobriety, I had to go bowling or do something else I considered to be dumb or boring.  I couldn’t have been further from the truth.  

Just like most addicts or alcoholics who are newly sober, I suffered from two sorts of negative thinking.  First, I always felt the need to be terminally hip and fatally cool.  If it didn’t involve partying or causing a ruckus, I didn’t want anything to do with it.  Second, I honestly had no clue what I was interested in.  Before getting sober, my life consisted of finding money to use drugs… then use the drugs.  This cycle perpetuated for almost 9 years.  It’s no wonder why I didn’t know what I liked to do.  

Before spiraling down into the depths of addiction, I actually had quite a few hobbies.  Most notably, I had a passion for filmmaking and video editing.  It began when my parents gifted me a video camera for my 12th birthday.  That summer, I recorded everything from wiffle ball games to family events.  In high school, I enrolled in film classes, directed the morning announcements, and even entered film festivals. However, once in college, addiction took hold and my passion fizzled out.  

After going through Surfside and gaining full time employment, I still did not have very many hobbies.  I enjoyed sitting on the beach, tried and failed at surfing a few times, and didn’t really mind hiking.  Then one day during a discussion with Ian, our Executive Director, he had mentioned he wanted to make a Surfside video.  My ears perked up, and I told him about my past video experience.  Ian told me to “send it”, and “send it” I did!  Over the course of the next 3 months, I took hours of footage and recorded countless interviews.  I methodically went over each clip and sound bite.  During each step of the process, I showed Ian my drafts.  He told me what he liked or didn’t like, which was hard for me to listen to. The 12 Steps gave me the humility to accept constructive criticism and not take everything so personally.  At the end of the video, we had a product we were both proud of.  

I now have taken on the role of Digital Media Producer. It’s truly a blessing for me.  I get to do the things I love to do on a daily basis, for a good cause and for a paycheck!  I have also started a video production business with another former graduate. 

Try New Things… Or Re-discover Old Passions!

Whether it is video editing, surfing, reading, or Crossfit, sobriety is an opportunity to do things you have always wanted to do or rekindle an old love for something you lost during active addiction.  Sobriety is not a death sentence. But in the end, it is up to you.  You can sit on the couch with Mom and Dad and be miserable… or join the thousands of young people just like you who are having fun in recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling, please do not hesitate to reach out.  We are always happy to help point you in the right direction.