Absolutely Insist

It seems that AA members get an endless chuckle out of the phrase” we aren’t a glum lot” from page 132 of the Big Book.  It is followed by the statement, “we absolutely insist on enjoying life.”  As with other interesting choices of words in the literature, we might be curious about the emphasis on “insisting” (we WILL have fun, damn it).  The not-glum-must-have-fun passage adds that Newcomers would hardly find us appealing if we were all work and no play.  To many normal people, the term “sobriety” connotes a kind of sanitized refrigeration, and the term “sober fun” evokes visions of a junior high school dance.  In my experience, there are at least two reasons why we “insist” on enjoying life.  First, if the goal is attraction and not promotion, we must at least avoid revulsion.  Who would want what we have if it looked like a nonstop bingo game?  We owe it to Newcomers to freely express our joy of sobriety, not in a false cheerleader fashion, but from our genuine happiness and gratitude.  Second, getting sober is a lot of hard work, a lot of digging deep, a lot of on-going service.  Once it has saved our lives, we might be so determined not to relapse that we bury ourselves in recovery to the exclusion of all outside pleasures.  Our disease is cunning, baffling and powerful.  It can trick us into believing that sobriety is not fun at all, and is therefore unsustainable.  We must insist on having fun because our illness will tell us we cannot have fun (hoping we will therefore give up on staying sober).  For me, the enjoyment of life in AA has taken many forms.  Some of us need a little bit of physical risk to have fun – speed, heights, unpredictable and tricky sports.  This is Extreme Sobriety.  Others are happy just going to a comedy show and not being thrown out for heckling and drunkenness.  Others still find a new inspiration to get on stage in performing arts and do what they never before had the courage or discipline to do.  For me, the Fellowship is very fun.  I know I will walk into my home group and be warmly welcomed, then teased to no end about one thing or another.  The laughter is contagious and chronic.  Sometimes the enjoyment of life in sobriety just comes down to be able to walk without weaving down the hall, talk without slurring my words, breathe without polluting the air, and party without humiliating myself.   So I will keep having fun, especially if you insist.

Photo Courtesy of MK

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18 thoughts on “Absolutely Insist

  1. Boy, I remember having play hour in rehab. The first few times I thought it was so stupid! How can you play Pictionary without cocktails?! As my head cleared, I began to enjoy it and understand that this would be one of my biggest challenges. Now, I love playing games and discovered that I can be very competitive at times. I developed a love for speed while skiing and skillfully mastered playing a mean game of cribbage!
    Insist that I have fun, I’ll be more than happy to join you!

    • Hi Dan, while you are out having fun, we have registered this24 with two different sober blog listings. Hopefully this will add some new voices to our group of happy boys and girls 🙂

  2. Whoa! I enjoyed the video Sister Mary! I almost miss my crazy big 80’s hair and wearing pumps with ankle socks. LOL. Thanks for the smiles this AM. I need it.
    Gonna go have breakfast with my BFF who can’t understand why I can quit drinking and not smoking. She’s been my drinking buddy for 10 years and the video kinda reminds me how fun we can be without alcohol. The last time we hung out everything went cool so I am looking forward to today. Okay. I am bit apprehensive too but I keep giving it up to God. I’ll keep ya posted. Have a great Thursday all. 🙂

  3. Last one in is a rotten egg!
    I used to think That enjoyment of life meant excitement and dramatic challenges and experiences. Oddly enough I have found these this tend to bore me quickly. Real enjoyment of life for this alcoholic comes valuing life as it happens not as I invent it and appreciating what is there rather than striving for what isn’t.. And for this old drunk that pretty much sums up gratitude.

    • Thanks, Paul. Prior to becoming sober almost a year and a half ago, I always was searching for something better in/with my life. I wasn’t content with being just me…with my life. Today is a different story, thank goodness. I loved what you said about valuing life as it happens, not as you invent it. That rings so true for this alcoholic.

  4. JULY 26
    THE “WORTH” OF SOBRIETY
    Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting,
    declining outside contributions.
    TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 160

    How much value do we put on something?
    How much is it worth?
    What is my frame of reference?
    How do I make this decision?
    I certainly didn’t know the intrinsic worth of being well taught.
    I did not seek knowledge and understanding as the bedrock of wisdom for I had no sense of these deep things.
    When I was incompletely informed I made critical judgments without the basis of thorough understanding. I sought money, property and prestige, especially prestige. Without knowing exactly why or what I was doing I was goal oriented towards being a “big shot”.
    Things that I didn’t know at the time are clearly seen with the 20-20 vision through the retrospectoscope.
    It doesn’t have to always be a long look backward – sometimes it can be an immediate glance and in our program of recovery is covered in the 10 step; “continued to take moral inventory”.

    My understanding today in judging the worth of something encompasses the broad guideline question; is this for the most good of everyone? 🙂

  5. Some quotes and wannabees..
    “I need a Caution:Slippery when Wet sign, because I spilled my ego all over the floor.”
    “As I was driving down the street I saw a “self storage” and I thought, “I wonder if my ego could possibly fit into just one unit.”
    “Part of me thinks I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almightly.” (John Lennon)
    Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” (ya thunk he has a problemo-Karl Lagerfeld)
    …here’s a really good one…
    “Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because it’s existance is defined in terms of control: (Terrence McKenna)
    “You never really learn much from hearing yourself speak” (George Clooney) Don’t you love the song “Did ANyone Call?” -his Mom sanfg that so well….
    ANNE RICE BABY!! “And I realized that I’d tolerated him this long because of self-doubt: (Interview with a Vampire)
    ____________________________________
    Chogyam Trungpa
    “Enlightenment is the egos’ ultimate disappointment”
    ____________________________________

    In my meeting the othe day…
    “I was such a hopeless drunk I had 2 neurons left and all they did was fight!”

    I was so far gone my good ego said to my bad ego who the fuck are you?!

    My mind was so far gone in depressiion and melancholy I had to go outside to change it!

    My prison cell was so small I had to go outside to change!

    Maggers or somebody Paaaaleeese stop me!!!!!!

    • I was enjoying those….you don’t have to stop silly!! Finishing my 4th tomorrow!!
      I miss your foodie posts…..will you friend me again?

      • Maggers-you sure you want that???? Lol- he’s a crazy boo!!! But-that’s what makes the world go round!! Look up Bonster Tyrrel on fb-I’m not anon-lol, but will respect yours! Hugs

  6. I have found a new freedom and a new happiness 🙂 My drinking led to isolation; drinking in the dark at 3 in the morning, turning down social invitations so I could drink the way I wanted to, just wanting to be left alone. That was not fun! Today I have found laughter in the silliest things, especially my 5 yr. old grandson. What a joy to be sober especially when he asks “Is this another goofy day. Nana?” Being sober is certainly not glum!!

  7. When I realized I had to stop drinking I thought “Well this is it. The end of fun.”
    I was a partier. I just wanted to have fun when I drank. I drank beer and tequila and Paaaar-teeeed.
    Well Thank GOD that wasn’t true.
    I am a person who loves to laugh and have fun, I will always be a person who loves to laugh and have fun.
    I have MORE fun today because I have LESS problems and my laughter is whole-hearted and my joy is deep and true.
    I was always chasing the party and had to do something. I was ancy on Friday nights “What are we gonna do?” and as I got older there were less people to party with because they were growing up and I wasn’t.
    Now I can enjoy any moment, laughing and happy anywhere anytime. Thank GOD.

  8. Julie and Nina, terrific shares! Every post today has made me happy. What a novel way to begin the day! The weekend’s upon us…….let’s see what fun mischief we can get into!!

  9. In my bachelor partying days I thought I was Charlie Sheen. I wasn’t. It was hard to let go of partying because it had become who I was, my personality. I had no limits. Surprisingly I got married had kids, and gave up drinking 6 months ago. I am still the same person, but I want what you have not what Charlie Sheen has (no offense Charlie). I find myself laughing at things that are funny rather than making fun of people. I find myself being in the moment rather than thinking about the next one or the past. I don’t have tiger blood, I’m just me; which is a heck of a lot better that being about who I am and people who know and love me can count on who will be showing up. I tend to not be as much of a jackass and I like that about myself. Peace

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