The Freedom of Having Fun and Living Again

Friends are having fun by playing bowling

My co-workers and I have turned bowling into a weekly event, complete with friendly trash talk and some pretty entertaining gamesmanship. I was on the wrong end of the scorecard this past week after guaranteeing a victory. What I didn’t know was that my friend and co-worker was compiling clips of all my animated reactions every time I failed to pick up a spare or continuously got 9 instead of a strike. I’m competitive you see, I like to win, and my facial expressions were, admittedly, priceless when compiled together. I got to work the next day to learn these clips had been turned into a nicely packaged Tik-Tok video, complete with background music to compliment all my failures as I marched towards being the loser of the night.

If there has been a time where I have laughed that hard at my own expense, I don’t remember. It’s all in good fun, you see, and I will get my revenge in the same kind of fun-spirited way, I have no doubt. This got me thinking though because if there is one thing addiction taught me, it’s not to take things for granted anymore. While my co-workers were able to poke fun at my competitive nature, I saw that video and saw through what appeared to be the frustration of losing and saw a man who had found genuine happiness. I know what was going on inside that head with every disappointed look when the bowling ball inched passed the pin without contact. I was having a great time, even in defeat. My friends were having a great time, especially the one who ended up victorious.

That’s exactly the type of thing I don’t take for granted any longer. I remember what it was like for addiction to consuming my life. I remember what it was like to feel sad throughout the day, even when I was high. I remember what it was like to feel devoid of human connection, and I remember what it was like to avoid these activities at all costs. I tried to remember a time where I felt genuinely happy and had actual fun while doing an activity such as bowling while in active addiction. I couldn’t. I remember either passing out in movies or making frequent runs to the bathroom to get high. I remembered bowling a couple of times and counting down the minutes until it ended so I could crawl back into my hole and go back to being alone with my drugs. I remember always wondering what people thought of me, second-guessing everything I said or did. But one thing I don’t remember? That feeling you only get when you are genuinely having fun with good people and friends.

One thing I don’t do anymore is reflect on my past with any kind of shame or regret because I’ve left that life behind and it has been replaced by a life that I feel good about. I also don’t take that for granted. When it comes time to write one of these blogs or work with someone on our program who is attempting to make their changes, it gives me the perspective of what it was like then, what it’s like now, and why doing everything necessary to get the help I needed and making positive changes to my life was the best thing that I could have ever done for myself. When something as seemingly simple as a night out with friends at the bowling alley is such a stark reminder of how much better my life has become, I can’t help but smile. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.