Thursday, April 12, 2007

Of Tantamount Importance!! (you'll never guess) Pt 1

You might not guess what one of the most important things is, when considering 'cleaning up' and maintaining clean recovery...

Nope - it's not the sponsor. A sponsor is important...but what do you do when your sponsor is temporarily unavailable...?

Nope - it's not meetings. Meetings are important...but what do you do when you're in trouble during REAL LIFE SITUATIONS and you can't dash out from a 'business engagement,' school, a family situat, road trip, etc., and run off to a meeting...?

Nope - it's not "Do the work" or "Write it out like 'The Book' says or most OTHER 12-Step-driven suggestions. All of those are important, too...but what do you do if, while you're 'working through,' or 'writing it out,' you encounter SERIOUS emotional reactions (very likely to occur, but this will help you understand YOUR ADDICTION in order to combat it)...and you're taking into consideration what you learned at your last 12-step meeting, all your sponsor's suggestions, etc., and YOU STILL FEEL like you're in trouble...?


Go ahead and go the scientific route!

And that will lead to HUMOUR!!


Seriously!! Humour is really, really really important in recovery.

But first - we need to understand about how substance abuse actually impairs 'humour' in recovering addicts.

A respected Journal simply called, 'Addiction' recently aired a the results of a recent German study that indicated that problem drinkers can't really take a joke as well as some people.

The research subjects were 29 patients in Bochum Germany known to be in recovery because they were - well....... they were in a west-German treatment facility. The control group by which the 'recovery group' was compared were 29 people considered healthy by the researchers' standards. The 29 addicts/alcoholics and the 29 healthy people were all given the same tests.

Part of the testing involved a section where all participants read JOKES! The addicts didn't get some of the jokes, even though some of the punchlines could be realized through logic if one so choose to be 'dead serious' rather than use their propensity for humour! Still - through tools of LOGIC PLUS HUMOUR, the addict group didn't see the humour where they should, as compared with the 29 healthy people. (So - SMARTS plus Humour were lower in addicts than they were in healthy people).

There was more involved in the research other than just measuring responses to jokes. The other things measured helped to uncover WHY addicts might not 'get the jokes.'

Mood was measured
Intellectual ability was measured
Memory abilities were measured
Psychomotor skills were measured
Mentalizing ability (perception and 'other-people-awareness') was measured - aptitude for predicting and understanding other peoples' behaviors.

And, of course, 'capacity to appreciate jokes' was measured.

I read a sample joke from the Addiction Journal article - which was used in the research. I had to read the joke TWICE...and my opinion forever is that it is a really BAD JOKE! I will offer it near the end, after I give you all of the information about the study - PLUS - it's such a total groaner that I don't want to lose readers...I definitely had to USE LOGIC instead of real 'haha-ability' in order to get the right answer, believe it or not.

My 'opinion,' believe it or not - actually SUPPORTS the findings of this study. I'm kinda P-O-ed about this, because I consider myself to have a really broad and open sense of humour! After reading the full article about the study, however, I feel kind of fortunate to have been able to get the right answer...because now I know, from a certain scientific standpoint - that there is a definite 'block' to my funny-bone, so-to-speak, and that I should work harder on seeing things differently. I know now that I may have to use logic along with open-ness to 'humour' - for the rest of my life - in order to understand jokes (humour, intricate uses of language, subtle variations of word-play, and determination of OTHER PEOPLES' behavior etc...) that come easily to healthier people.
(End of interjection...)

Back to the study...

92 percent of the 'healthier' people but LESS THAN 68 percent of the addict group were able to select the correct punchline. As I said before - the joke will follow closer to the end - if I type it in now, you'll GROAN SO BAD - if you're a recovering addict - that you may not even finish reading. Apparently, if you're a 'healthy' person, you'll appreciate and 'get' the joke but I'm worried that you will laugh so hysterically, enjoying the joke - that you'll fall over and not finish reading about the study.

*LOL* ??

The recovery/addict group also fared worse in the mood, intellect, memory, psychomotor skill and 'mentalizing' parts of the testing.

The fact that recovering addicts didn't do so well, especially in the 'mentalizing' parts of the testing, is a pretty clear reinforcement of what is known about an addict's lessened ability to 'socialize' well like more healthy people do.

Jokes occur primarily in social settings. Naturally, there are other ways to put jokes forth, such as through comics, books, forwarded emails, etc., which leave the 'reader' alone with the joke - to interpret the joke in whatever way necessary - however this research concentrated largely on the form of jokes that would occur in a social situation (where the 'receiver' of the joke might gain information from SOMEONE ELSE about how to properly receive the joke).

Because addicts did poorly in other areas tested, we can make a general assumption that addicts really DO HAVE A PROBLEM in the 'HUMOUR' area!

Okay - this post is too long already...and contains some information that recovering addicts might not like at all (I Don't Like It! I can 'appreciate it' but I am still pretty ticked off to find out that I AM ONE WHO DOES NOT INTERPRET JOKES WELL, when before, I thought I ROCKED in the 'getting jokes' area). Actually, I am going for a walk to cool off before I post the BAD JOKE - I am having a 'Drama Queen attack of Can't-Stand-It-itis' over all this! I'll include the *cough*(hiding the 'j' word) , final comments about the German study, and how this all relates to why HUMOUR IS OF TANTAMOUNT IMPORTANCE TO RECOVERING ADDICTS in the next post!

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