March 28, 2023

10 Fun Sober Activities and Ideas to Brighten Up Your Recovery

An image of yoga at the park, a sober activity

So, you’ve made it through the hard part. You’ve completed your treatment in a California rehab 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. So what do sober people do for fun?


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 fun 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. 


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. 

an infographic created by Gratitude Lodge detailing 10 fun sober activities

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 and a fun sober activity. 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. 


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 a favorite fun sober activity with your trip. Perhaps a hiking trip to Machu Picchu, 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. 


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. 


Fun 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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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. 


What do people do for fun while sober?

There are a wide variety of activities you can enjoy while sober. Choose sports and fitness activities in line with your interests, from running, hiking, and biking to weight training, swimming, and yoga. This will improve your physical and mental health. Creative hobbies like writing, painting, drawing, and playing music can help you to unwind while tapping into your artistic side. Spend time with friends and family without drink or drugs. Eating at a restaurant or seeing a movie to socialize while sober. Connect with nature by walking in a local park or nature reserve to enjoy the outdoors while clearing your mind. Consider learning some new skills by taking classes, attending workshops, or watching tutorials online.

How do you find good sober activities?

First, try searching online. Google keywords like “sober events” or “sober activities” to find suitable options. Add your city or region to search times to find out what’s happening near you. Follow local community groups, pages, and accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that organize sober activities and events in your area. Check out local recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to find out about sober activities near you. Explore to see if any groups in your area focus on sober activities or events.

What to do on a sober weekend?

Use a sober weekend to try a new hobby like painting, cooking, or playing a musical instrument. Get active by spending some time outdoors. Go for a run, hike, or bike ride. If you prefer the idea of indoor activities, use a sober weekend to try a fitness class or yoga class. Look for sober events taking place in your area on the weekend. Take a day trip to a nearby town or city. Visit a museum or art gallery or spend some time at a theme park or zoo. Organize a game night, movie night, or potluck dinner with your loved ones. Take some time for self-care by reading a book, taking a bath, meditating, or simply enjoying some quiet time alone and disconnecting from the wired world.

What do sober people do to socialize?

There are many events like music festivals, art shows, and comedy shows that cater to those who are sober. These can be great opportunities to socialize with others who share your interests. Join a local club or group that focuses on your interests or hobbies. This can be a great way to meet new people and socialize without the pressure of alcohol. Catch up with friends or family over a cup of coffee or a meal. This can be a great way to connect with others and enjoy some good conversation. Volunteer for a local charity or organization. This can be a great way to meet new people and give back to your community.


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. At Gratitude Lodge in Long Beach our integrated treatment program helps individuals not only heal from addiction, but create a fun sober live they’ve always dreamed of. Learn more about Gratitude Lodge today and begin your addiction recovery journey in Orange County.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

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