So, you’ve made it through the hard part. You’ve completed your treatment in a recovery center and you’re ready to start building your new, sober life. But it’s not quite as easy as that. Your old hobbies, friends, and habits might not fit your new lifestyle. You need to find some fun sober activities. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
For many addicts, their social lives and leisure time before they entered recovery centered entirely around using or drinking.
Many of your friends may still spend most of their time off at bars, watching sports games or taking advantage of happy hours. While there’s nothing wrong with that, for someone who has recently entered recovery it can seem daunting to have to hang out at bars with friends who are still drinking. It can also be risky putting yourself in that situation too early in your recovery.
However, the alternative can also seem overwhelming. If you spent most of your adult life hanging out in bars or drinking at sports games, how do you find new ways to spend your time that don’t involve drinking or using drugs? Thankfully, there is a huge variety of fun, healthy, sober activities out there for you to try. The best activities for people in recovery are ones that provide you with healthy highs, opportunities for making new friends, and ways to express your emotions and connect with yourself.
Finding sober activities that allow you to connect with yourself and others is a great way to explore the new you.
Recovery is about tearing yourself down to allow for rebuilding. A huge part of that is finding out who you are without drugs or alcohol. Finding sober activities that allow you to connect with yourself and others is a great way to explore the new you while offering healthy distractions from thoughts of drugs or alcohol. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of ten great sober activities to fill your time and expand your horizons as you walk the path to recovery.
One of the best ways to give yourself a natural, healthy dopamine kick is exercise. Whether you join a gym, take up running, or get into rock climbing, there is no better replacement for using drugs than a solid exercise regimen.
Exercise has also been shown to be highly effective at combating depression, which can often be an issue for addicts who are new to recovery. By finding a fun, regular way to exercise, you will be giving yourself a much better chance of getting through the rough patches and making your recovery a successful one.
2. Join a sports league
Going into recovery can often mean severing ties with a lot of your friends from your former life. Newly-recovering addicts often find it hard to develop a new, healthy social group. A great way to combine getting some exercise with meeting new people is to join a sports league.
There are a ton of options available, from smaller team sports like volleyball or basketball to big group games like ultimate frisbee or flag football. Just be careful to find a league that is more about sports and isn’t just an excuse to get together and drink.
Becoming sober means confronting a lot of emotions that were repressed by using. Finding ways to express those emotions is hugely important. Connecting with your creative side can be a great way to do that. Write a poem. Paint. Draw. Sing. Garden.
There is no better tonic for the soul than pouring your creativity into a project. You don’t need to be an artist to enjoy getting creative. You could make a scrapbook, or get into woodworking. Whatever it is that you do, letting your creativity run wild is a great way to connect with yourself.
4. See the world
Being addicted often means sacrificing your goals and dreams for your addiction. With your newfound time, energy, and money, why not tick something off your bucket list and see a part of the world you’ve always wanted to?
Ideally, you should find another sober friend or group to travel with. That way you can combine your favorite sober activities with your trip. Perhaps a hiking trip to Machu Pichu, or a food tour of France? Getting out to see the world can help bring perspective to your recovery and remind you why life is worth living sober.
5. Take a course
A big part of recovery is rebuilding your self-image. Finding ways in which to grow as a person can be a big part of that. Taking a course in something you’ve always been interested in is an excellent way to fill your time and expand your horizons.
The possibilities are literally endless. Whether you want to take an online course in professional development to boost your resume or an improv class at your local community college, there is something out there for you.
Healthy sober activities are all about finding ways to stimulate the happiness part of your brain without drugs or alcohol. Volunteering has been proven to produce healthy, lasting feelings of happiness in people. Plus, it’s a great way to get out of the house, meet new people, and give back to your community.
Much like the courses on offer, the options here are pretty much infinite. Animal lover? Volunteer at a shelter. Nature lover? Volunteer for nature walk trash cleanups. Homeless shelters, care homes, children’s charities. They all need all the help they can get.
7. Become a tourist
Drinking or using can often mean that you don’t take the time to appreciate all the fun activities that your own city or town has to offer. Why not become a tourist in your own town and explore it with fresh eyes?
Take the time to see some of the museums and attractions that you never made it to. Treat yourself and a friend to a guided tour of your area. You might be surprised how much there is to learn about it. It’s so easy to take the place that you live for granted. Exploring your home town now that your sober can yield all sorts of exciting experiences right on your doorstep.
8. Start a group
A big part of drinking and using is the social aspect of it. Finding new ways to socialize with old friends and new is a vital step in transitioning to a sober life. A great way to do this is to start a group with some of your friends. A potluck dinner club. A book club. A film appreciation club. A board game club.
There are so many fun things that you and your friends can get together to do that don’t need to involve alcohol or drugs. Once you open up your mind to having fun with friends in a sober environment, you will wonder why you ever felt the need to drink or use to have fun.
9. Visit a sober bar or event
Not every sober activity has to be about being healthy or improving yourself. Sometimes you just miss the laid back atmosphere of a bar with friends or going out dancing at a nightclub. Thankfully, the growing trend of sober bars and activities is making that possible without alcohol and drugs.
Sober bars and pop-up events are becoming increasingly popular in cities across the world. Enjoy finely-crafted non-alcoholic drinks in the company of other sober people with all the atmosphere of a bar or nightclub. Take a look for sober bars or events in your area and enjoy some much-needed relaxation.
10. Catch up on reading
Often addiction is not just about losing big things like friendships, relationships, and money. It can also cause you to lose touch with the little pleasures in life. Simple things like taking time to be by yourself and read a good book often get replaced with long nights out at bars, or parties.
Finding ways to be comfortable spending time alone is crucial to a healthy, lasting recovery. So why not tackle that pile of books you’ve been meaning to get to? There’s no better way to unwind and take your mind off things than diving into a great story for an hour or two.
Finding ways to fill your free time and connect with people can be a scary prospect when you first enter recovery. At first glance, it seems like every social event involves alcohol and every invite you get is to a happy hour or barbecue. However, once you allow yourself to explore new possibilities, you will quickly realize that having a full, happy sober life is easier than you might think.