Let’s face it: sometimes the weekends can be hard when you’re in recovery from addiction. Maybe it’s the idea of having too much time on your hands, or you don’t want to pass up on going out with friends, or maybe you’re just not sure what to do for fun on a Friday night that doesn’t involve partying as you have in the past. 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? Are you looking for something fun to do that doesn’t involve drinking or getting high? Instead of escaping from reality, dive in and enjoy just living life. Here is a list of fun sober activities you can do to start living a fulfilling and exciting life.
Before You Find Sober Activities: Identify Your Triggers
A big part of preventing relapse is understanding your external triggers (people, places, things, and situations that elicit thoughts or cravings associated with substance use) as well as your internal triggers (feelings, thoughts, or emotions associated with substance abuse). Once you identify your biggest risks, you can create a plan to prepare for or avoid them.
Some common triggers may include:
- Emotional distress
- Environmental cues that result in cravings
- People who are still using drugs or drinking
- Relationship troubles
- Job or financial problems
Learn New Skills
Perhaps one of the best ways to have sober fun is by learning a new skill or picking up a hobby. Taking a course on something you like can be a start. You might find something online or offer in your neighborhood. If you want to try a class online, visit the website lynda.com, which offers thousands of courses for a small fee. Also, there are many courses you can take to improve your writing, regardless of whether it’s poetry, lyrics, or prose, including fiction or memoir. You might find an online course or a community college near you offering classes on songwriting.
You can learn to play a musical instrument. Most people have always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, such as the guitar or the piano. However, they never end up doing it. If you’re looking for fun that’s sober and free, search for YouTube videos on playing the instrument you like.
Some other options include learning a new language. Almost every library has language learning CDs that you can borrow for free. Also, you can pick up a sport you’ve always wanted to play. Does windsurfing look interesting to you? What about kayaking or soccer or scuba diving? There is a long list of sports to try.
Volunteer Your Time
Actually, there are hundreds of opportunities here. Homeless shelters (some for women and children), hospitals, homes for the elderly, need help in most towns. Some areas need help removing plants that don’t belong there (called invasive species), parks may need help building trails or maintaining playgrounds. Beach areas are sometimes the focus of cleanup parties. If you have a talent for working with kids, there may be tutoring opportunities or you may be able to help the autistic.
If you attend church, the staff are sure to know of people or organizations who need volunteers. Suggestion: If you’re volunteering for the first time, keep your commitment very short so you are free to try different types of volunteering. Then, if you fall in love with one particular method of helping, you can engage in this one more fully.
Sober Activities Instead Of The Bar
For many of us, it’s a matter of keeping ourselves busy and away from the places that tempt us the most. Here are some of my favorite alternative sober activities, ranging from ultra-cheesy to only mildly cheesy. Plus, most of these are good whether you’re hanging with a group or flying solo!
- Go to the library and read something new. If your local branches don’t stay open into the evenings, snag a book you’ve been meaning to read and head to a café. Or camp out at your local bookstore or even Barnes & Noble, if you still have one.
- Go to a late-night yoga or fitness class. Ugh, I know it can be a pain. But I guarantee you’ll wake up the next day feeling amazing.
- Take in some art. Spend a few hours wandering the halls of the closest art museum—many museums are open into the evenings to accommodate their visitor’s availability, and some even have free entry for locals.
- Journal or create a vision board. How often does a social night out get in the way of your grounding routines? If you’re an introvert like me, a couple of hours in on a weekend evening can really help recharge you and reset you on the path towards your goals.
- Go. To. Bed. Early. This is one huge benefit of low-to-no alcohol nights. You don’t feel the need to keep riding the high, so you can tuck yourself in before 11 and wake up feeling fresh and being fully rested at 8. No more 11 AM rolling out of bed and shuffling to the kitchen for an Advil.
Practice Healthy Living
Chronically misusing drugs and/or alcohol can take a major toll on your physical and emotional health, and now that you’re in recovery, you’ll want to prioritize self-care and ensure you have the fortitude to remain sober.
- Exercise regularly
- Make time for recreational sober activities and hobbies
- Eat regular, well-balanced meals
- Get ample, quality sleep
- Practice relaxation strategies, like mindfulness meditation and yoga
If you’re involved in a 12-step program, you likely already know the importance of milestones. In these programs, it’s customary to award plastic chips as you progress to the year-mark at which time you receive a bronze coin.
Acknowledging and celebrating the hard work of recovery is helpful for keeping you motivated and reminding you why you took this brave step toward sobriety in the first place. Just be sure that your rewards don’t involve drugs or alcohol. Instead, focus on things, experiences, and activities that will support your new, healthy lifestyle.
More Ideas for Sober Activities Fun
Ideas for Sober Fun
- Read. Go to the library and create a list of all the books you’d like to read in the areas you find interesting.
- Start a new hobby. Visit a hobby or craft shop in your neighborhood and look for something interesting. You might choose something that you can do continuously. At first, you might have to simply choose any hobby until you find one that you really enjoy.
- Join a gym. Find a gym with people you think you’d like to meet one day. If you’re going to spend more than 3 times per week at the gym, then you’re likely to see familiar faces and form friendships. Obviously, you’ll want these friendships to support your sobriety and not threaten it.
- Join a fan club or a sports league. Depending upon whether you like to play sports or watch them, you might choose to join a fan club and attend local basketball, football, or soccer games. Or you might like to play and in which case, joining a sports league could be fun. No matter where you live, there are often many other men and women who enjoy doing the same thing.
More Healthy Habits for Sober Activities
You can always improve how you fare in sobriety by looking at where you can improve your quality of life.
If you immediately think of something that you know you “should” be doing but haven’t yet done, that is a great place to start. If you can’t think of anything, here are a few options:
- Quit smoking.
- Drink eight glasses of water a day.
- Replace fried foods with vegetables.
- Go to bed early.
- Get up early.
- Walk, run, swim, dance, or otherwise engage in physical activity regularly.
Anything you can do to improve your overall health and wellness will serve double duty and improve your ability to stay sober.
When you feel better, your mood is elevated, you’re more likely to ignore the little annoyances, and you’re less likely to feel like a relapse is your only way out of any uncomfortable situations that may arise.
Sober Activities and After Care with Little Creek Lodge
Addiction recovery is a long-term process that will continue for many years after treatment. Aftercare programs for substance abuse are any ongoing care once a person leaves treatment. The most common forms of aftercare include 12-step programs, outpatient treatment, therapy, and sober living.
Developing an aftercare plan allows individuals to prepare for any future challenges and risks to their sobriety. Involving friends and family members in the aftercare process can increase the chances of continued sobriety. When friends and family are involved, they learn how to support sobriety, celebrate successes, and encourage healthy behaviors.
Little Creek Lodge is an alcohol and drug addiction treatment center, nestled in the woods of Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania. Our structured recovery program is proven to help adult men live a sober lifestyle. Residents develop the tools they need to become the men they want to be. Our holistic approach to treatment addresses the root causes of addiction while promoting overall spiritual, emotional, and physical growth. At Little Creek Lodge, you have the time to discover who you are while learning how to love yourself and be loved by others. You learn how to form intimate relationships and have fun while engaging in a sober lifestyle. We look forward to encouraging you down the path to sobriety. Contact us today and let our staff answer all your addiction and aftercare questions.