Comedy as Therapy for Addiction
People cope with difficulties and afflictions in different ways. When addiction strikes, some people will toughen up and fight back, others will try to give up, and still others will ignore it and hope it goes away. We all are individuals and react differently to situations, which is why personalized addiction treatment is so important. That’s also why much research has been done to determine new ways to help people overcome addiction. There are certain groups now that are promoting a new way to reach people and help them deal with substance abuse: comedy.
Jamie Fox’s one-person play “MazelTov Cocktail” is gaining ground as a funny, yet helpful way to look at addiction. The LA-based actress wrote the story and also performs it, giving audiences a glimpse into the family of a drug addict. “MazelTov Cocktail”, formerly known as “inDEPENDENCE”, follows a Jewish woman who is struggling with her job, with her cocaine-addicted brother, and with her parents who try to cover up for the addiction. The humor comes in exploring the roles of these different family members, and the accuracy of how many families act when faced with an addiction. In the play, the woman is forced to confront her drug abusing brother and her parents who try to maintain complete normalcy. Many people can relate to the family described in the play, which makes it appealing to families coping with substance abuse.
Using Comedy to Create Awareness about Addiction
There are many different forms of comedy, and not all of them are helpful when dealing with substance abuse. There are the destructive comedies that only magnify the pain and difficulty caused by substance abuse. But “inDEPENDENCE” is said to be powerful in its message, and opens doors for people to talk about addiction. “The humor comes out of the truth of the moment,” Fox said. “This person — what they’re doing — is so clearly ridiculous. There’s a lot of power in comedy. If you can make people laugh, they hear you a little bit easier. They don’t realize what’s kind of hitting them. You’re not laughing at yourself. You’re laughing at these characters. Then secretly relating to it.”
The play made its east coast debut on September 10th in Deal Park, New Jersey. It was presented in conjunction with “Prevention First” an agency that provides education in schools on substance abuse. Perhaps the most important part of this show was the discussion panel after the show, where the audience was given the chance to share stories and relate to each other in some way.
The response for the play has been very positive overall. It is all about helping people take a closer look at their lives, and helping to heal some of the hurt and pain that addiction causes. The play might not be for everyone, but for those that are able to step back and see that others are making it through the same things while still keeping their sense of humor, it can be of great value.