Comedy And Recovery
They say laughter is the best medicine and, believe it or not, in our field that rings true. We all know what a serious subject addiction is, but sometimes a good laugh or a humorous escape offers a nice break during the recovery process. At our facility, we regularly partake in comedy movie nights or use jokes during group sessions to lighten the mood. Everyone is human and there is always a bright side to a bad situation. We definitely believe in accentuating the positive, so for this blog we thought we’d discuss the importance of LOL’s in recovery.
Though not quite a Spotlight, we did catch a very informative article on The Addicts; a successful improv group that is currently touring the country. Members Mark Lundholm and Kurt Matthews explained to Westword Magazine (very appropriately, if you ask us) why laughter is so important when dealing with pain. Both of them battled drug and alcohol issues and now, use that experience to humorously impact others.
“There’s a saying around recovery circles that you either have to evolve or dissolve,” Mark told the magazine. “I don’t want to do the second one, so I have to do the first one. If you’re looking toward evolution, why can’t you have new language at every meeting? You need new language to describe an old process. That’s why comedians get paid. That’s why I don’t need to be funny in a meeting. We make fun of insanity or outcomes without making fun of individuals.”
Both guys shared the positive responses they’ve received for their sober shows. The Addicts have toured big clubs, rehabilitation facilities and even done their routines for incarcerated drug offenders. Their goal has always been to educate and entertain. And, as Kurt explained, there are certainly humorous components within the treatment process.
“We’re not doing a meeting, we’re doing a comedy show,” he added. “Personally, I will tell you I’m in recovery, but I’m not going to tell you I’m going to programs, because those are anonymous. It’s a standup show, but the predominant topic is ourselves, which means a lot of self-deprecating humor as well as our recovery. We make fun of some of the stuff that’s rote. I think it’s funny that no one can pronounce “anonymity,” ever.”
Beyond the addicts, there is an incredibly long list of recovering comedians who continue to inspire others. Marc Maron (who we’ve profiled before) regularly interjects sobriety stories into his hugely successful podcast. Former Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson built an entire comedy special around his conquering alcoholism. And Richard Pryor, one of the greatest comedians of all time, famously turned his near-overdose into a moving standup routine.
There are also dozens of funny books, websites and movies that eloquently tackle the topic of addiction. Now keep in mind, we are in no way endorsing the mockery of this disease and believe us, there is plenty of insensitive material out there (The Hangover, anyone?). But, Google “Sober Comedy” and we promise you’ll be able to enjoy a good laugh as you work through the process.