Power of Laughter in Addiction Recovery

“What the hell do I have to laugh about in the midst of all of this chaos, personal wreckage, and self-pity?”

Being in the throes of active addiction is not a laughing matter.  It’s an alienating disease that destroys health, relationships, careers and more.  Sounds overwhelming.  Yikes. You might say to yourself, “Here I am languishing in hell.  Not in the mood for funny.”


I can tell you from personal experience that while I’ve never been to hell, I have been physically attacked by Baptists in the middle of my stand-up comedy show. I didn’t know that Baptists are prohibited from talking about hell and or the devil.  While doing my funny comedy routine about the movie “The Exorcist” at South West Baptist College in Bolivar, MO over homecoming weekend.  Things got uncomfortably quiet. Then all of a sudden, dozens of Baptist students and parents rushed to the stage looking to physically hurt me. It was a very embarrassing experience for me.


We sometimes take life too seriously and we need to lighten up.  No matter how bad things seem, real or imagined, take a moment and find the humor.  As we move further into our sobriety, not taking ourselves too seriously becomes easier and easier.

Laughter is the Best Medicine for Addiction Recovery

The saying is recorded in this form from the late 20th century, but earlier related expressions are “laugh and be fat” and “laugh and be well.” The same idea is found in Proverbs 17:22: ‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.’

To all you good folks trying to put your life back together, do you hear that?  “A broken spirit drieth the bones.”  You don’t want dry bones, right?  If you are in recovery, having a sense of humor can be immensely helpful.

Physical Benefits of  the Power of Laughter:

  1. Improves the circulation of oxygen throughout your body
  2. Lowers your stress response
  3. Allows you to feel at ease with yourself.
  4. Reduces muscle tension.
  5. Strengthens the immune system.
  6. Improves mood.

5 Ways to Find Laughter in Addiction Recovery:

1. YouTube:  Fortunately, we no longer live in a time when we have to wait for the wagon train to come to town with circus performers.  Netflix or Cable TV not required.  There’s so much brilliant comedy on Youtube that you are sure to find something that makes you crack up.

2. Movies:  One of my favorite funny movies of all time was “Bad Santa” with Billy Bob Thornton.  If this movie doesn’t make you laugh hysterically then check your pulse.

3. Stand-up comedy shows: Discover and target talent you like to watch and who make you laugh.

4.  Attend Yukaholics or the like:  I have had the privilege to perform in an annual event called “Yukaholics.” It’s a live stand-up comedy event put on by professional comedians to raise money for local rehab facilities in the Los Angeles area.  It draws about 5,000 – enormously successful every year.  I am proud to be part of it. We remind our audience that although we are addicts in recovery, we are not a glum lot. We can learn to laugh and have fun in sobriety, and we do.

5. Read books and articles by writers who make you laugh.


In summary, find a way to bring humor into your life every day. Experience what a difference it can make in your recovery.  Get Real Recovery will help you find laughter and serenity in recovery.  Contact our addiction counselors and staff today for more information.


– Barry Diamond, Auther/Comedian/Actor

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