In my commitment to helping 1 million people I will discuss how to increase your quality of life through laughter. This segment will focus on incorporating laughter for people who may be suffering from drugs and alcohol addictions, it is my goal to instruct and pass on to them the knowledge I have gained.
If you have been keeping up with the news you will see many lives that have been changed directly or indirectly through drugs or alcohol addiction. In my last segment I mentioned how humor and laughter when applied can be helpful in all areas of one’s life and the physical, mental and social benefits that can be achieved.
Today I am going to focus specifically on mood or mind altering substances such as alcohol, prescription medications and illegal drugs which can cause one’s life to become unmanageable and how using humor can help you to gain another perspective.
Through personal experiences, my work as a drug counselor, a humor therapist, a standup comic and an entrepreneur running a comedy business that caters to various fundraising needs on Long Island and other surrounding states, a prevailing need to help improve the quality of the lives of the people I encountered, propelled me to incorporate a very special “recover comedy division” recoverycomic.com which utilizes humor to help others in their recovery process. Through this recovery division, I have worked with other comics to entertain people in numerous crisis centers, 28 day programs, therapeutic communities, collages, correction faculties, Veteran Hospitals, 12 step fellowship conventions and fundraisers such as AA, NA, CA, ALANON. I have received commendable feedback from both staff members and those in addiction programs and facilities of the positive effect that humor and laughter have made in their lives once they have experienced it. In my opinion, one of the reasons laughter is so important to a person in recovery is that it allows them to discard feelings of guilt, shame or remorse and it frees them to be able to feel worthy enough to be happy. Laughter then can be the empowerment that a person needs to help them move into their healing and recovery process. Again, in my experience, when you can start to laugh, you can start to heal. Laughing does not minimize the seriousness of the addiction and the pain it has caused the individual, family, friends and others that were affected but it opens up for that individual a ray of hope that life can get better at least for that moment. We can now fan that flame and get off the pity pot and engage those positive emotions which may have been repressed and which can then lead to positive actions. I’ve heard comments such as” it’s been a long time since I’ve have been able to laugh”; “This is just what I needed, I haven’t felt this good in a long time”;” I’d forgotten what it was like to just laugh and enjoy myself without a drink or drug” and of course my personal favorite quote is, “God let me learn how to laugh but don’t let me forget what made me cry.”
As I mentioned in my experiences earlier, a great part of those experiences came through my own process of healing and battling addiction. Initially I submitted myself to a treatment program and showed progress in my recovery but once out of the program I was unable to maintain it. After being disconnected from the program and without structured guidance, I felt that I was not able to enjoy myself being clean (drug and alcohol free), so I again I went back to what I knew best which was using drugs and alcohol. But this time around my behavior and my addiction caused me more consequences, I lost an arm which had with it a lengthy hospital stay due to being in a coma, elaborate surgeries and their complications and a lengthy recovery process. But that wasn’t enough and again I went back and this time I was stabbed 1’ below the heart and nearly died these were a few of the physical consequences and I was also spiritually bankrupt. I was blessed enough to get back into recovery 8 years later and that was April 20th 2004 (I take this time to say that I am grateful because a lot of people do not make it back from a relapse). This time through I’ve learned how to laugh, how to enjoy myself and I now find great satisfaction in bringing the message of how important laughter is while recovering from addiction because I was able to live it and I keep living it today.
For an addict once the alcohol/drugs are removed, there is a huge void that is left to be filled. I found that it is important to fill that void with positive things such as humor, joy and laughter which will help to make the recovery process more enjoyable while also increasing the quality of your life. Many addicts are uncomfortable feeling their raw emotions because they’ve spent their lives masking or numbing them with their use of drugs, alcohol, and other coping mechanisms to experience so called enjoyment. However, once an addict has been physically detoxed through a medical facility (if needed) it is important to face those emotions and begin the healing process and that process can begin and continue with laughter. With any addiction, the addict’s first priority must be their devoted commitment to their recovery process and to remember that “Rome was not built in a day “and each day will take care of itself. So live to enjoy each day and maximize what you can do within that day that you have been given. Remember you cannot help anyone, if you don’t take care of yourself. So take some time to laugh, tell a joke, watch a funny movie enjoy some live comedy because it is so true what they say that humor is the best medicine. It will help you to cope with some of the turbulences that we will all have to endure during the natural course of our lives. I suggest that you learn how to laugh and let the healing process begin and continue throughout your recovery process.
Keith Godwin, CASACT, Humor Therapist, Comedian, Comedy Promoter.