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Fun for the Recovering Addict

Posted on :  June 27th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When you are recovering from a heroin addiction (or any other addiction), the definition of “fun” changes dramatically. Whether you started using drugs in your teen years, or you started in adulthood, fun often meant taking risks that a sober person would not take. The idea of pushing the limits when under the influence is extremely exciting and therefore, quite fun. However, when you are no longer abusing drugs, you need a new way to have fun and enjoy life.

Fun Changes as We Age

People who abuse drugs into the 20s and 30s will see their peers enjoying the fun of starting professional and family lives. Those who are frequently high will still find themselves fighting hangovers, looking for drugs, and avoiding arrests. Sober peers will move on, enjoying their weddings, children, and careers. This type of fun might not appeal to addicts; but after moving into recovery, the appeal will increase.

Addiction Alters Brain Development

When it comes to addiction, it is far easier to develop the problem as a teen, rather than as an adult. The teenage brain lacks the self-regulatory ability that the adult brain has, which is why teens are more likely to engage in “fun” behavior that is actually rather dangerous. The prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for assessing activities and for reasoning, does not fully develop until somewhere between the ages of 18 and 25. As the prefrontal cortex develops, the idea of fun changes, which is why it is less likely for adult to undertake risky behavior.

The development of the prefrontal cortex might can be stunted by addiction to drugs and alcohol. This explains why so many people who began using drugs at a young age have so much difficulty recovering from their addiction. It also explains why so many recovering addicts have challenges discovering what fun is without drugs or alcohol. The developmental problems that come with addiction last make recovery difficult and it explains why adult addicts continue to make so many poor decisions.

Functioning Adults with Poor Decision-making Skills

Despite the challenges with the prefrontal cortex, it can be amazing to realize that there are many addicts who are able to work, pay bills, and function in society. While the functional behaviors might not be the same as those of non-addicts, many adult addicts are able to hide their addiction – for a while. The difficulties that adult addicts face tend to involve building and maintaining relationships, which is why they have challenges understanding the idea of adult “fun.”

Hope for Recovery

Even though the brain does have challenges when it comes to fighting addiction, there is hope for recovery. Researchers have found that men and women who stepped onto the path of recovery and sobriety have had positive changes in their brain functions. Brain cells were able to communicate better with each other and the functions of thought improved, too. In many cases, the improvement was visible to researchers after two months of sobriety.

Fun without the Risk

Fortunately, the idea of fun, which involves weighing risk versus reward, becomes better understood as brain function improves. Adults who are sober are able to understand the risks and make better choices by better understanding the potential outcomes of risky behavior.

Enjoy the Small Things

Once you are dedicated to a life of sobriety and recovery, you will be able to enjoy the small joys in life that adults consider to be fun. You will no longer feel like you need to be driving your car at top speeds while under the influence of dangerous narcotics. You will have more fun watching your family grow than you ever would have had with drugs and alcohol.

If you have any questions about addiction recovery, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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