The 12 Steps of Taking Ourselves a Little Less Seriously

Humor Recovery

Life can be difficult and it can wear us down. Recovering a sense of humor may be just the change we need.


Aches and pains greet me in the morning. Obsessive thoughts follow me throughout the day. My bathroom scale goes up and my bank account goes down. Life is serious and it can be hard to find the energy to laugh.

Humor asks so little and gives so much in return

Humor costs us nothing but has a bunch of benefits:

  • Humor can promote recovery from cancer, mental illness and divorce.
  • Humor promotes attention, focus, doughnut eating and the consumption of coffee.
  • Humor is used as a defense mechanism, but it is cheaper and more healthy than alcohol.
  • Humor puts us in the moment better than meditation, or medication.
  • Humor is not just putting on a happy face. We are humble, we admit our weaknesses and then we laugh anyway. Humor is hopeful, badass and willing to kick life in the teeth.
  • Humor releases all of the happy chemicals that no one can pronounce. It just feels good. No one can produce a pill that does the same things that humor can do.
  • Humor is grace. Kind humor is self-care and self-nurturing. Smiling and laughter is one of the first things we learn to do when we are developing. When you laugh, you give yourself a hug.
  • Humor connects us with other people. A funny movie is about 55% better with another person because you laugh at the movie, look your friend in the eye and laugh at them, then go back to laugh even more at the movie.

To learn more about the research see my post, A Serious Guide to Humor at Work.

I have a great deal of respect for Alcoholic’s Anonymous and the fine work that they do. Recovery can be difficult and humor can make the work a little easier. I share my 12 steps to support your recovery of a good day, recovery of your mental health, or just taking a moment to laugh together.

The 12 Steps of Humor Recovery

  1. We recognize how our lives have become too serious. We admit our powerlessness over the bad news, bad moods and bad songs in our lives. We apologize for the times that we have listened to Nickleback and Celine Dion.
  2. We believe that humor can restore us to sanity.
  3. We turn our will and our lives over to the care of humor as we understand it.
  4. We make a searching and fearless humor inventory of ourselves. And then we agree to relax. This stuff is a lot of work, seriously.
  5. We admit the exact nature of our humor, how we take things too seriously, too personally and how we can be too hard on ourselves.
  6. We are now entirely ready to no longer take ourselves too seriously.
  7. We humbly laugh at our moods and shortcomings. We agree to practice the holy laugh.
  8. We make a list of all persons we have harmed or taken too seriously, and we are willing to make humor with them all.
  9. We break smiles with those we have harmed, and agree to no longer take ourselves too seriously. Smiles, handshakes and hugs will be exchanged.
  10. We continue to take a humor inventory and when we are wrong, we promptly enjoy it. We no longer beat ourselves up because we are in recovery! And then we go back to step #6.
  11. We sought through humor to improve our conscious contact with God, each other and most importantly, ourselves. As babies, we smile before we learn to walk. Just remember that the next time you fall on your face.
  12. Having had a humor awakening as the result of these steps, we carry this message to each other and to practice humor in all our affairs. Humor is not intended to lead to an affair, that is not the message that we pass along, that is just inappropriate.

Welcome to the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

Click this link to receive a humor discount for the Good Men Project. GMP supports humor recovery and is guaranteed to support men everywhere to be more manly, to wear jeans more often and to have more facial hair. This is where you will find the conversation that no one else is having.

Keep it Real

Photo courtesy of Brian.

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