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Sustainable Sobriety Encourages a Playful Mindset

What do you think of when you think of play?

Play is any action we enjoy participating in that creates joyful presence. When we play, we relax. We let go of the need for perfection and we become present. Play is like practice for all of our systems. It hones creativity and compassion and fosters empathy for ourselves and others.

Play teaches us to let go of our attachment to seriousness and reminds us of the inherent joy that comes with existence. Play creates space for us to see the endless possibilities that are always available to us because play doesn’t carry expectations for what it looks like or feels like.

Sometimes we can get stuck in the seriousness of sobriety. We can create limiting beliefs around fun, connection and creativity that leave us feeling detached, depressed and anxious. Actively adding + practicing play in our day to day lives can create a counteraction to that seriousness. It creates space for us to hold the impact of the decision we are making alongside our humor and our humility.

So how do we play as adults?

This is the cool part - anyway we want to. There are some advantages to being an adult after all.

Play can look like:

Gamifying the mundane

Play leapfrog with the dishes, turn laundry folding into a speed race with yourself or the other people in your home, practice the “cleaning tornado”, who can get the best deal at the grocery store, etc.

Tapping into personal joy

Dancing, singing, skipping, bouncing a ball, following a curiosity that keeps popping up, coloring, etc.

Adding in activities with friends

Instead of sitting around to talk - make space to go for a walk, roll a ball or play catch while sharing a conversation, color a picture or make a doodle page together, play games like frisbee, pickleball, chess, checkers, etc.

Unstructured goofing off time

Block off distraction free time to follow that voice of curiosity

When we create space for play in small, consistent ways, the easier it becomes to tap into a playful life. I like to think of play as a mindset muscle. The more we use it, the stronger the muscle gets and the more often we notice play becoming a factor in nearly everything we do. Life becomes more fun. We stress less, we are more present and we show up with a greater capacity to honor the decision to remain sober.


What do you notice about your reaction to the topic of play?

What does play look like for you?

What are two ways you can create space for play this week?

How does your ability to play create space for joy in your sobriety?

Today’s mantra: I am a playful being.

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