What Are You Laughing At?


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Governor Andrew Cuomo visited THRIVE  – Long Island’s first and only recovery center – last week to announce new funding to battle New York’s opioid and heroin epidemic. About $23 million in new dollars will come to Long Island and that’s good given the scope of the crisis and the mounting deaths in Nassau/Suffolk.

The room was packed with advocates, treatment professionals, elected officials and the media, all focused on a very serious subject. There’s a reverence about such ceremonies, but as serious as this one was, there were a few lighthearted moments as you can see from the picture above.

When I first saw the picture, I was taken aback and tried to remember when such a light moment occurred. I think it was actually when the Governor suggested that former Assemblyman Joe Saladino, now Oyster Bay Town Supervisor, missed Albany. The picture was extraordinary to me because I was actually laughing; most of the pictures taken of me in public settings (especially when talking about heroin) are really serious. I immediately noticed that my friend and fellow advocate Linda Ventura was laughing, too. And that’s good.

Laughing makes us look better, feel better and connect to others in a different way. There’s nothing funny about heroin, but some lighter moments help release the mind and reset us for battle. Countless studies have detailed how laughter floods the brain with endorphins and clears away cortisol, sweeping away stress, anxiety and tension.

As author Molly Ivins once said, “So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth.”

And most importantly, let’s remember to take a moment each day to laugh just a little bit at ourselves.