Picture me, around 6 months sober, on a Friday night, with a group of sober people in Costa Mesa. Our meeting would have just ended, and people would congregate in the parking lot. Dreadfully I would approach my group of friends. I say “dreadfully“ because, quite frankly, I already knew where the conversation was headed. Undoubtedly I would find myself in one of three places: the pool hall, the hookah lounge, or the bowling alley. Over the past 6 months I had been to each of these places more times than I could count. The pool hall smelled like feet. It appeared to me that if I was going to stay sober, I may as well buy myself a pair of bowling shoes and join a league, because apparently this is what all good sober people do.
Fast forward to today. At just about 2 years sober, I have found that life is for the living, and you’re only living if you’re laughing. In my second year of sobriety, I expanded my horizons on the “having fun” front. The fact that I finally had a well-paying job and a car helped a lot. My weekends rapidly became very full, and I filled the wall above my bed with candid pictures from all of my adventures.
This past weekend I had the absolute pleasure of participating in a Scavenger Hunt all around Costa Mesa with a group of young sober people who lovingly call themselves “Newport Young Guns”. Pause for dramatic effect everyone. I had the TIME OF MY LIFE! I haven’t laughed that hard …. ever! My good friend, Chris Carson, created the group with the idea that we are not a glum lot, and anyone new to sobriety needed to see the joy in our existence. Every week Chris plans free events in Costa Mesa for sober young people. Here are some highlights from this weekend’s scavenger hunt:
After my team took first place (!!!!!), I took an opportunity to sit down with Founder and Group Administrator, Chris Carson, to find out a little more about this fantastic group.
Nerdy Sober Hipsters- So what is Newport Young Guns all about?
Chris Carson – Newport Young guns IS ALL ABOUT HAVING SOBER HEALTHY FUN! We want to encourage people in recovery to overcome social anxiety, to make new friends, and most of all to create new and healthy memories that will make a person feel whole again. We want to help treat people’s spirits, by providing events that will bring laughter and smiles to those even in the darkest of times. Young Guns is a family.
What was your inspiration for starting this group?
The idea for starting Young Guns came to me when I was in a slight depression. I was bored at home, sitting on my couch thinking to myself, “I am tired of doing the same things in recovery”. The idea of doing drugs again became more and more appealing to me. Fear motivated me to get off the couch and do something. I reached out to some of my fellows and tried to organize a fun activity that we could do. Around 15 people got back to me and wanted to join me for dinner and games at Dave and Busters. Within the first 20 mins that I was there, all the using and drinking thoughts started to disappear, because I was surrounded by amazing people that all wanted to inspire each other, and to have fun, sober times. My depression was gone just like that. I was able to be present, not stressing on my future nor pondering on my past. Upon leaving that night I received a bunch of feedback. My friends thanked me and commented that we all should do something like this more often. So, I ran with the idea and decided to make a group on Facebook, named “Newport Young Guns”. After having only 2 events, we went from around 15 people to over 200 followers that I am proud to say are a part of the Young Guns family.
You’ve had two events thus far! Tell us about some highlights from each of the events.
Our first event was breakfast followed by a volleyball tournament on the beach. I was able to meet new people and get some physical activity in! The second event was a scavenger hunt that put us in awkward and hilarious situations. We kept running into other teams and I was able to see the excitement and enjoyment on their faces. The entire event was a highlight of my life. Two of our members even made trophies and donated Starbucks gift cards and candy as prizes. It was great to see everyone come together.
I definitely agree, it was a great time. So, tell me a little more about what this whole experience means to you on a personal level.
Personally, this venture means the world to me. It gives me the opportunity to grow as an individual, and holds me accountable to my sobriety. It raises my self-esteem by showing me that I can potentially help others stay sober and have a fulfilling life. Young Guns, so far, has allowed me to get together with the people I care about the most, and live a life I wouldn’t have imagined living while on drugs and alcohol.
That’s truly inspiring! What can we expect to see from the Newport Young Guns in the future?
As Newport Young Guns grows, we plan on having more exciting, free, and big events. Every week we give out 3 ideas of events we can do, and the members get to vote and decided on what they think would be the most fun. We don’t want to facilitate events our members wouldn’t want to do. We want what they want. I just know, whatever we do, we will have the time of our lives, because we get to spend these memories with one another. I am excited to see what Young Guns has to offer. In my wildest dreams I’d like to think Young Guns can grow from an Orange county Group to a National Young Guns family. I love my life and everyone in it! Young Guns reminds me of that on a daily basis! I am forever grateful for the people that have supported this and helped make Young Guns happen!
If you’re interested in joining the fun, check out Newport Young Guns on Facebook!