What’s So Funny ‘Bout Sobriety?

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“You use humor to hide your pain”

– a person with no sense of humor

I should take things more seriously. Things like bills and responsibilities. And….? Um. And relationships? To some degree, I supposeย but if I don’t have a sense of humor when dealing with people, I’ll end up in a sanitarium. I’d say world events and news but please see the previous note about the funny farm. I certainly take my sobriety seriously yet there’s quite a bit of laughing going on in the rooms of recovery, especially for a group of people who were all slowly trying to murder themselves.ย 

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I’ve always been a smartass and fast with a one liner so when I first heard people share in meetings about serious shit but with a sense of humor, I exhaled. This I could do. Sure, there was some crying going on in meetings but there was a lot of laughing too. This was fantastic because I desperately need a laugh back then. A few paramount meetings in the early days filled with funny, raunchy tales and uproarious laughter let me know it was okay to talk however I wanted to as long as it was the truth. After all, pain and laughter have long gone hand in hand in my own life.

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The clown, weirdo, diversion creator of the family was a role I was born into and one I played well into my thirties. Being funny was a way, as the person with no sense of humor said, to mask my pain. But in recovery it was different. There was a little of that going on for sure but in order to stay sober it couldn’t just be one-liners. I also had to share about the truth. Well, once my sense of humor met my new friend honesty, it was on. I verbally vomited whenever I could, sometimes met with laughter, sometimes met with tears. ย What was happening is I was getting better and not letting things live inside my head. Soon what people thought of what I said didn’t fucking matter. It was my truth and that by itself was a revelation. The truth that I was an alcoholic, that being honest was the only way I could stay sober and that I could still have a sense of humor smacked me upside the head.

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Now, for the most part, humor and truth go hand in hand. But if there’s pain in there too than so be it. After all, using humor to talk about pain and humor to mask pain are two different things. I found being funny sometimes opens doors for me to talk about more serious shit. If I can’t laugh at really messed up parts of my life, than I am beyond screwed. Turns out, other people sometimes like laughing at it too. I’ve even been asked to speak at meetings specifically because I’m “funny”. I guess this should irk me that I’m not being asked based on my wisdom or brilliant insights but I’m an attention whore so it doesn’t bother me. Plus if I can in any way return the favor of laughter so freely given to me in my early days, I’ll gladly do so.827937719-1

And finally getting around to the title question, what’s so funny about sobriety? Nothing and everything. Life in and of itself is absurd and ridiculous. This includes getting sober. I can laugh at it and be in on the joke or I can feel like its out to get me and be miserable. I’ll take door number one, Monty. This is all on my mind today I guess because I’m celebrating 7 years (in a row!!) of sobriety. None of these years have been a walk in the park but I can guarantee you they would have been worse had I not been able to laugh. So thank you for making me laugh, for listening, for making me lighten the hell up and for being there.

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Letting it All Hang Out

When I was in my 20’s, I was attracted to people who said and did whatever the hell they wanted and damn whatever anybody else thought. This was incredibly appealing to me and something I tried to imitate as I had always been the person worried about what people thought of me. With the right combination of chemicals, I could really trick others (and myself) into thinking I was that “I don’t give a shit” kind of guy. The kind of person who would dance on the table and then drink you under it.

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Creating this persona and living up to it was a full-time job. Liquor helped me be a bigger, bolder crazier version of myself and it worked for a while. I said whatever I wanted and didn’t care if I hurt anyone and it was fun but not for long.Funny how friends evaporate after you’ve bitched them out a billion times while intoxicated. ย Getting drunk and telling people off, an act which seemed cool at 22, was downright pathetic at 35. When I got sober, I had to take a long look at the way I talked to and treated people. It wasn’t pretty but if I wanted to stay sober I had to be willing to uncover all of the demons. The surprising thing I did learn when I got sober is that its still okay to speak my mind and to have opinions. And in fact, compassionately speaking the truth with humor and honesty can be a real art form.

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To prove that I still have that zing but without any of the alcoholic sting, here’s my thoughts on some current stuff.

Arrested Development: The cult phenomenon of this show passed me by the first time so the hubby and I get all caught up on Netflix including the new season. My opinion? Totally overrated but at times hilarious. I ‘m happy I watched it but would be hard pressed to say it bowled me over. The first 6 of the new episodes are true stinkers and should be avoided. Love Jason Bateman, though.

Taylor Swift: I’m a hardcore fan of female singer songwriters but I don’t get her and in fact her music makes me violent.

Gay Pride: As I’ve moaned about before in these pages, the whole drunken mess part of gay pride ticks me off. Since the season is once again upon us, I find myself feeling annoyed. The stumbling in the streets has nothing to do with feeling proud of one’s sexuality. So why don’t we just rename it Meth and Vodka Pride and get honest about the whole thing?

The News: If I start posting about watching CNN and MSNBC for 18 hours at a time, please send help. Nothing is a bigger serenity killer than the news for me. I’m happier not knowing what’s going on and so are the people around me.

Community: Another find on DVD and I have to say it’s quickly become my happy place sitcom. I have two more seasons to watch and I can’t wait.

That’s enough out of me. Let’s continue the spirited conversation and you tell me things your currently loving or loathing in the comments section below. Feel free to disagree. I can take it. And besides, I no longer yell at people, remember?