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Fun is dressing up, down, in fancy dress or just being weird.

Fun – The Essential Life Ingredient

We at the Redbourne love life, it is our base ethos, and in order to love life we believe the singular most important living life ingredient is Fun. It must be continuously present. Fun is laughter’s spark, the tears’ tissue, courage’s excelsior. It is the foundation of growth, future’s hope, the present’s embrace and the past’s favourite memory.

We at the Redbourne want you to have a full, long life of FUN

Living was all that was needed for life to be fun.

It was the sunshine, the rain, a cold day with a fire or a just a rainbow. It was learning to ride a bike or riding on our parents’ shoulders. It was the trepidation of the first team sport, appearing as the cauliflower in the school play, jumping in a puddle, watching a snail move. It was the surprise of a birthday, the first merit certificate, the pat on the back, the embrace of a friend. It was dancing in a shop aisle, singing along with the radio, mimicking mom, teasing Dad, listening to Grandpa’s stories, baking with Granny. It was the cousins visiting and the fear of big school. The tooth fairy visited and the monsters of our imagination were real, the Easter bunny was defended, Valentine’s Day was about waiting in the hope of a love message, Father Christmas came and miracles were always possible. 

Growing up changed choice along with redefining FUN.

We discovered being cool, fitting in with the crowd, peer pressure, stress, exam pressure and result expectation and hard realisations of limitations. The body changed and suddenly it mattered, embarrassment is a real emotion, insecurities replaced dreams and nightmares, Dad became Father Christmas, Mom the tooth fairy. We discovered that not all adults are trustworthy, emotional and physical perversions are real, people are twisted, giving does not mean receiving in return, to disappoint, to compromise, to discover the impact of prejudice, to discover personal orientation can also mean isolation, to be different is not easy and that to take a substance is very easy.  

Living with substance transformed fun

Then we taught ourselves new ways to take the edge off, to desire, to want and to need. To try anything new without fear of the cost, from beer to vodka, from wine to shooters, the cigarette, the joint, the first pill, the second mixture, the wonder of being high, the thrill of something stronger. We learnt you could have shameless inhibition, the pleasure of pharmaceutical assisted sex, the hysteria, the all night bender, a pill to fix and a pill to stay awake, a pill to calm down and a pill to speed up, another smoke, so many joints, freedom is great and my substance friends pull me through.

Fun, what fun? Fun fucked off.

And then we experienced the low of the morning, the absence of friends, strangers to wake up with, the hair of the dog, the desert throat, the bass voice, grumbling legs and the forgetful mind. No money for food, debt for substance, doing things I don’t want to do, shame and guilt. Work is not cool, study is for others, money can be stolen, parents abused, grandparents pillaged. Promises of change, weeks of hell, the first re-taste, the wonderful relief, the broken promise that will be made again, the forgiveness entitlement, the brilliance of getting one’s own way. Despair and disgust, more promises, meetings with the strange and impaired, affirmations of not being me, repeated denial, critics abound, friends lecture, partners don’t understand, no-one understands, the world is against me, it’s not my fault.

Many of us had to re-learn what fun is. At The Redbourne we nurture fun.

Fun is knowing how to play.
Fun is having the confidence to tell a joke.
Fun is dressing up, down, in fancy dress or just being weird.
Fun is writing and finding your voice.
Fun is not being scared to dance, wherever you are.
Fun is sharing personal experiences.
Fun is singing and being the Rockstar.
Fun is being part of your community
Fun is showing affection to your family, loved ones and friends.
Fun is being intimate and vulnerable with your partner
The best Fun is JUST BEING ME.

How Do we Find FUN Again?

It begins with understanding why fun left, where did it go and the realisation that fun did not leave, we did. Our substance became the link to fun and became the strongest link, with our willpower becoming the weakest link.

Charting Fun. The complexities of modern life include both behavioural and substance addictions and understanding not just the difference between the two but that the outcomes are equally as severe. The workaholic will lose as much as the alcoholic, the only difference is that whist sharing a life with either is a lonely existence the workaholic gets a great deal more sympathy. We have chartered substance abuse, simply because this is the slap in the face addiction, it does not hide its extremities, drunkenness and being high become obvious as people get to share the immediate behavioural experiences of those under influence, whilst some behavioural addictions such as eating disorders may be clandestine afflictions until ill health takes hold. 

The Fun Matrix

The Matrix allows us to place ourselves in our current quadrant. We all know where we want to be and yet some of us lie about which one which is true, lying to ourselves a truth that everyone else already knows. Take a minute and decide where you are and then where you want to be.

The Cheers Theme Song from Season 2

Making your way in the world today,

Takes everything you’ve got  

Taking a break from all your worries,

Sure would help a lot

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

All those nights when you’ve got no lights

A cheque is in the mail

And your little angel hung the cat up by its tail

And your third fiancée didn’t show

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name

And they’re always glad you came

You want to be where you can see

Our troubles are all the same

You want to be where everybody knows your name

Roll out of bed, Mr Coffee’s dead;

The morning’s looking bright

And your shrink ran off to Europe

And didn’t even write

And your husband wants to be a girl

Be glad there’s one place in the world

Where everybody knows your name

And they’re always glad you came

You want to go where people know

People are all the same

You want to go where everybody knows your name

(Lyrics by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo: Copyright @ Original Writer and Publisher) (Cheers, Theme Son from Season 2) With thanks.

The irony of the song is that it outlines the needs of both sides of the substance coin. All people are looking for and needing companionship, to be recognised as being relevant and to be welcomed.

The Fun Objectives

Our objective at The Redbourne is to provide five Fun Guidance Missiles that enable necessary change to become a reality.

Missile 1: Peace of Mind

The first is finding peace of mind of becoming sober.

It may not seem strange believing peace of mind is fun but when the alternative is constant despair, just being at peace with oneself is a fun place to be. It is almost impossible to do anything when the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Let’s take away the weight, plan how to become sober and begin the journey.

Missile 2: Self-Confidence and Serenity

We believe that self-confidence is built by “putting oneself out there”. The more we share ourselves with the world in meaningful ways, the more we realise that people are far less judgemental than we think. The experience of fun will always outweigh the fear of judgement from other people.

Fun is one of the easiest ways for us to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to go against that part of ourselves that focusses on what we perceive as our negative traits. Having fun often allows us to outmanoeuvre our inhibitions, even if we are not conscious of it, and we grow in confidence each time. Slowly, we build a better belief system about ourselves: “No one will think I’m stupid if I play board games. Losing does not equal stupidity.” From a physical perspective, “No one actually cares about my body if I swim”, is a simple truth.

We have missed out on much due to the doubts we have about ourselves. The more we practice the better we become at living our lives in the ways that make us the happiest, despite our doubts.

While being proud of ourselves may be incredibly difficult, at the very least we just want to feel less ashamed. When we realise that we are conducting ourselves in a manner that drastically reduces feeling ashamed, we begin to feel moments of peace.

Life can have moments of serenity. 

Missile 3: Relationships 

The third is establishing a meaningful relationship.

Fun Fact: Sustainability requires relationships. Think of Fun the same way as you think of sex. It is possible to have either on your own but the reality is that when it is a shared loving moment it is soooo much better. Fun sustainability requires non-toxic relationships.

The first relationship to deal with is the one with the toxic substance or behaviour that selfishly excludes all others including you as the person you want to be or become. It has to go.

The second relationship that matters is the one that you have with you. If you do not like your own company why should anybody else. Loving me, respecting me, trusting me, looking after me, caring about me, having fun with me are key foundation blocks to having meaningful and lifelong relationships with other people.

In order to strive towards the happiness that is available once sober, adjusting to the challenging notion of meeting life’s struggles head-on, we must make a commitment to ourselves to embody the person that we want to be, while ensuring that we have time to stoke the fires of our interests, passions, imaginations – to have FUN.

The third relationship are the important and loving relationships that we all aspire too. 

Missile 4: Responsibilities

Having fun in our lives is only sustained by the commitment to our responsibilities.

Internally we are judge and jury. We are the only person who decides whether we deserve to enjoy a moment or not. When living became an ongoing struggle with feelings of shame and guilt, substance offered sanctuary. As we now know, the obsession with avoiding our true reality only compounded these feelings as fewer and fewer responsibilities were met. If we do nothing about the root cause of excessive stress and apprehension, those feelings can become unbearable and dramatically reduce our ability to meet commitments. Without substance we could never allow ourselves to truly relax, never mind have fun.

When substance is no longer an option, we learn that being committed to our responsibilities provides enough evidence for us to stop questioning our deservedness to have fun. We learn that there is a balance between doing what we have to do and doing what makes us happy that everyone strives to obtain. Meeting our obligations and beyond secures diligence integrity and allows us guilt-free respite. Having fun makes hard work worthwhile.

Missile Five: The Truly Fun Missile: Booting Inhibition Out of the Park

The fifth missile is breaking down the wall of inhibition, not so that we become exhibitionists, many of us already wear that hat, but when we open ourselves to vulnerability we take the risk of participating in a fun moment.  When the music of life moves us to hum, to sing, to gently move with the rhythm we do so without fear or favour.  We grab the opportunity to be involved at that moment. We do it purely because it makes us happy.

When was the last time you just sang because the soul needed to hear your happiness, or held your tummy to stop the stitch that arrived through excessive laughter, or danced, just danced in the moonlight because you can. When was the last time you shared a personal experience and a stranger shed the tear of understanding, beamed with pride as you carried a child on your shoulders, got hugged for no other reason other than being there. When was last time you skipped down a shopping aisle or did a blowfish mouth in a window?

These are the moments

Welcome to the Redbourne. Here we want you to be you. We want you to reignite joy, laughter, love, strength, and sobriety and to venture back into the world ready to live the greatest experience of all, your life.