You Deserve Freedom

Laughter and Sobriety Go Together Like Abbott and Costello

Laughter in Addiction Recovery, Laughter and Sobriety

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

That’s a quote from the legendary comic actor, filmmaker, and composer Charlie Chaplin—a man who made millions of people laugh during the silent film era and beyond. In fact, Chaplin’s films are still delighting viewers today. It seems safe to say that if ever there was an expert on laughter, it was Chaplin.

This particular Chaplin quote is relevant to everyone—but we would argue that it is particularly relevant to folks in recovery from a substance use disorder. That is because enjoying a good laugh is a great way to support your sobriety, so you don’t want to waste a day by letting it pass without laughter.

You can quote us on that. We’re also going to quote some other folks who have a thing or two to say about the power of laughter. Our goal? To convince you that laughter and sobriety go together like a wonderful comedy duo like Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, or Fey and Poehler.

Laughter as Courage

“I think laughter may be a form of courage. As humans we sometimes stand tall and look into the sun and laugh, and I think we are never more brave than when we do that.” – Linda Ellerbee, journalist

There is no denying that a substance use disorder is serious business—and so are your ongoing efforts to maintain your sobriety once you have reclaimed it. But it is all too easy too easy to let the seriousness of recovery become a kind of drudgery. And that, it turns out, can actually undermine your efforts to stay sober.

It is better, then, to allow yourself to laugh when the opportunity arises—especially when you have the opportunity to take yourself and your challenging circumstances a little less seriously. If you are in recovery, you have been—and are—brave. It is okay (more than okay!) to laugh as a marker of that courage.

Laughter as Solace

“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” – Bob Hope, comedian

Even in our darkest moments, laughter can shine a light. It is not a cure-all, of course, but laughter can help us put a challenge in perspective, reframe a mistake as a learning opportunity, help us manage grief as we reflect on good memories, and more.

Finding even small moments of laughter when we are struggling helps us make our way toward a better frame of mind. That can be so important to a person in recovery, because ongoing sadness or anger can make it tempting to return to drugs or alcohol as a way to find relief from those feelings. A moment of levity can be a difference maker.

Laughter as Spirituality

“Laughter is carbonated holiness.” – Anne Lamott, novelist and essayist

Given that Anne Lamott is a writer, it is probably not too surprising she has a way with words. But we particularly love this idea of laughter as a form of bubbling spirituality. 

What’s so spiritual about laughter? Well, we might argue that laughter is often a reaction to the surprising, the delightful, or the wondrous. Celebrating the wonders and delights of the world—and even of everyday life—through laughter is thus a spiritual act. And spirituality (which does not necessarily mean religion) can provide ongoing support to your sobriety

You Can Start with a Smile

We opened this blog entry with a quote from Charlie Chaplin. In addition to all his other accomplishments, Chaplin composed the music to a song called “Smile.” The song encourages the listener to find a reason to smile in even the most difficult circumstances. 

We think that is good advice—though we are decidedly not suggesting you don’t take the challenges you encounter seriously. Instead, we propose that a smile or a laugh can reset your thinking and can give you the perspective you need to carry on in the face of difficulties. That moment of cheerfulness truly can protect your sobriety. 

That is certainly something to smile about.

Let’s Get to the Serious Business of Getting You Sober

At Bel Aire Recovery Center in Kansas, we take our work very seriously. We can help you reclaim—and maintain—your sobriety through our medically supervised detoxification, our rehabilitation program that also addresses co-occurring mental health disorders, and our continuum of care that provides ongoing support and encouragement as your recovery journey gets underway. 

If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, you likely have not had much to smile or laugh about lately. We can help you turn that frown upside down as you recapture the joys of sobriety—and that is no joke.

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