The Fun And Adventure Of Spontaneity In Sobriety
To be spontaneous or not to be spontaneous? That is often a perplexing question for men in the early stages of sobriety because spontaneity can be a bit of an enigma. On the one hand, we are learning how to have fun again, fun which doesn’t include the self-destructive abuse of drugs and alcohol. For most men in recovery, the end of their addiction and/or alcoholism wasn’t fun anymore. Physically sick, mentally sick, and spiritually sick, their chemical dependency on mind-altering substances had wiped all the fun from our lives. Yet, our addicted minds tell us another story. Still hopeful for another stimulating dose of dopamine, the brain chemical messenger, called a neurotransmitter, which sends out all messages of pleasure, the addicted mind would have us believe that drugs and alcohol could still be fun. Moreover, our addicted mind would have us convinced that not only could drugs and alcohol be fun again, that drugs and alcohol are still the only kind of fun we’re capable of having. Thankfully, sobriety teaches us that just isn’t true. Thus, on the other hand, spontaneity is a necessary tool for recovery for unlearning addiction and relearning healthy fun.
Learning how to have fun again in a healthy way means having to have fun again in a healthy way. To anyone on the outside, having fun doesn’t sound like a forced activity. With a brain which has depleted its ability to produce fun-having chemicals, fun takes a little work. Overcoming the programming caused by addiction and reprogramming the brain is both a job and a journey. When healthy, holistic, spontaneous fun is involved, the job becomes much easier and the journey more enjoyable.
Spontaneity can be seen as a threat to sobriety because of its very nature in the definition. Words and phrases like “sudden inner impulse”, “inclination”, “without premeditation” fill various definitions of spontaneity. Impulsivity and inclinations without premeditation are symptoms of addiction and driving problems which perpetuate the cycle of addiction. Addiction quite literally shuts down the parts of the brain responsible for regulating impulsivity, calculating consequences, and weighing options. Confused on what is right or wrong, the addicted brain almost always chooses the wrong kind of impulsivity in favor of feeding addiction rather than the right kind of impulsivity which might rob an opportunity for intoxication. For precisely this reason, rewiring impulsivity is a critical necessity for a thriving life in recovery.
Spontaneity In Park City, The Last House Staff Adventures
Spontaneity is part of the natural flow of life and allows us to flourish in the possibilities of living in the present moment, free from the bondage of the past. Osho, the Indian mystic and philosophical leader said of spontaneity, “To be spontaneous means not to act out of the past, because out of the past is all cunningness, cleverness, calculation, arithmetic.” Living in fear of spontaneity in sobriety means giving all control to fear of an addicted past and all of the ways addiction was cunning, baffled us and rendered us powerless. In sobriety, as Osho describes, to be spontaneous is to live in a way which directly opposes these forces of the past. Matt Fidlow, The Last House Alumni and currently serving as the Admissions and Outreach Coordinator, couldn’t agree more. “Don’t let the past determine who you are,” Matt has developed as part of his sobriety philosophy, “Let the past determine who you become.”
While on a recent trip to the Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Park City Utah, Matt and The Last House Director of Admissions Chris Kirby found themselves in the middle of a rather spontaneous Saturday as the symposium slowed down. Bubbling fun ideas over with industry peers, our staff settled on fun activities at the Park City Mountain Resort including an Alpine Coaster and the Alpine Sled, two gravity-fed adventures.
Surrounded by the lush green beauty that is the ski-slope carved mountains of Park City in the summer, our team had a blast experiencing child-like wonder at the hands of sheer physics. On the Alpine Coaster, they were taken up a steep incline surrounded by Alpine Forest and peeking mountain views. Once at the top, the track curved, swerved, and cut downwards through throttling turns, stomach-lurching dips, and endless encompassing by greenery. Though Chris’s injury couldn’t allow him on the Alpine Sled, Matt took advantage of the opportunity. A chairlift up the mountainside offered stunning panoramic views of Park City Mountain Resort and the entirety of Park City, Deer Valley, and beyond. After dragging a “bobsled” down a beautiful winding forest path, Matt settled on the “Dynamite Express” track and went bolting down the twists and turns of the track. Along with their industry peers, Chris and Matt shared good laughs, took in the splendors of nature, listened to some killer live rock music, and engaged in good old spontaneous fun.
“Spending time in nature and having fun with people in the community of recovery is good for the soul,” Chris Kirby reflected. “So much of sobriety is about connection and there’s no better way to get connected than to have fun in the outdoors.”
Having fun within a community of like-minded, like-recovering, peers is part of what recovery is all about. Recovery should never be a punishment for addiction. Sobriety should never be lived like a sentencing because addiction is not a guilty conviction. In recovery, we have a second chance at life, an opportunity to discover what living is really all about, and a nothing less than miraculous gift of being able to live well and thrive well.
Offering men’s sober living in the Los Angeles area, The Last House strives to provide a safe, fun, program-oriented setting. Men in our program find their purpose and passion by progressing through their recovery in one of the world’s largest recovery communities supported by their peers and an experienced staff. For information on availability and our program, call us today: 1-866-677-0090.