Many of the activities Sober College clients participate in are designed to open their eyes to a new way of living.
When lost in active addiction, it is very hard for most people to enjoy the things they once loved to do. Instead, drugs and alcohol become their sole priority in life, and any and all passions they once held dear are often lost. Fortunately, as we get further into our recovery and our brains finally have the ability to experience emotions and feelings once again, we have the power to rediscover our passions and recommit to the things we loved to do … those things that brought us happiness in its simplest form.
As part of Sober College’s experiential therapy, residents were taken on a deep sea fishing trip, providing them an opportunity to bond with their peers while seeing, first-hand, that there are a variety of ways to have fun without being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. All of the houses, as well as the apartment and sober living programs, were brought along for the fishing trip, which helped bring all of the clients together for one primary purpose: To catch fish!
One client mentioned that the trip was a “nice escape from the normal routine” that clients are expected to participate in during their first three months of sobriety. “It was cool getting to hang out with everyone in the different phases [at Sober College]. It was nice to be able to talk with people further along in the program and to see everyone enjoying themselves.”
Another participant, a Sober College mentor and past client, spoke about the nostalgia that came along with going on the trip as a mentor. “Seeing clients bond and having a good time brought back so many great memories from my time as a client. It was awesome seeing everyone having a good time being sober! Everyone in Sober College gets along so well, it’s as if they’ve become family.” He also spoke about how he “loved seeing everyone smiling and cheering each other on whenever anyone caught a fish…even though I only caught one. Everyone was better than me for some reason,” he joked.
One important aspect of recovery is that everyone in the community has something to offer one another. Many Sober College mentors have mentioned how they get just as much from the clients as they feel the clients get from them.
Fishing allows clients to work on their patience. It provides a simple reward for their work, teaches them awareness and helps them to appreciate the simple joys in life. However, just as in recovery, persistence and patience are important steps to successful fishing. Sometimes, depending on the day or the environment, fish just won’t bite on certain baits. We can practice all the patience in the world and still get few results, if any. That is where persistence comes into play. Instead of just being patient and using the same tactics that probably won’t get us very far, it is important to understand that maybe by switching our baits we can provide ourselves with a greater opportunity to achieve a desired goal.
Recovery is no different; sometimes we need to be proactive. We need to change our tactics and our perceptions about life in order to come to terms with life on life’s terms, and to open our worlds to an entirely new realm of possibilities. We need to be persistent by trying new things until eventually we find what actually works.
Behind the closed doors of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, we often hear, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Similar to fishing, we might get lucky one time in a hundred, but why take a slim chance when we have the option to change our tactics and open our our lives to infinite potential ?
If we can increase our chances of success, even to one in ten, why wouldn’t we take those odds over the alternative?