10 Ways To Have Fun Sober
When I first entered recovery, I had no idea what to do with myself. I was completely shattered and I didn’t know how to do any activity without drinking or using drugs. I always felt that any situation could be improved upon with alcohol, when in actuality they usually ended in embarrassment, shame, and little to no recollection. I was 100 percent sure that there were no ways to have fun sober.
As I navigated the recovery world of rehab and 12-step meetings, I began to make friends. This wasn’t much of my doing as the stark light of sobriety made me want to shrink into the background even more, but thankfully those who had become more comfortable with this new life recognized that in me and spoke when I couldn’t. I fondly remember late nights spent at places like Cosi or simply someone’s house where we were all together enjoying the company of others trying to rebuild what we had lost.
It’s amazing that I was at such of loss for ways to have fun sober. How can I watch TV? How can I go hiking with friends (to be honest, I didn’t have any at the end of my addiction)? HOW WILL I LIVE?
What I realize now is that anything you once did with drugs and alcohol you can do without. You may actually be surprised that things you used to really enjoy inebriated are actually no longer fun or vice versa. The first time I went to a concert sober, I was amazed at how much more I enjoyed listening — actually listening — to the music.
I know it can be hard to find what to do with yourself after removing what was once such a huge part of your life. Because of that, I wanted to offer some suggestions of how to spend your time without drinking or using drugs. As I mentioned earlier, you can literally do ANYTHING, so this list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope that it gives you a good starting point. 🙂
*evaluate your own level of recovery when deciding upon activities to do. Some, such as going to a concert or anything where the temptation to drink can be higher, should be avoided if you’re newer in recovery or attending solo. Also consider taking another sober person with you.
Volunteer – one of the best ways to give back after the destruction that can some with active addiction is to volunteer. There are tons of opportunities available. Simply Google “how can I volunteer” and results should show up for your area. You can also use the site Volunteer Match to search in your area.
Visit parks/nature – For me, this is probably one of the best ways to have fun sober. There’s something magical about getting out into nature. Go on a hike, visit a park, or just spend some time outside in the fresh air.
Get active – I did no unnecessary physical activity whatsoever while I was drinking. Waking up after blackouts was not conducive to living a healthy lifestyle, but once I removed that from my life, I found the energy to get out and get moving. I joined a gym or I simply went outside for a run and it was amazing. Another thing you can look into is joining a team sport (soccer, dodgeball, etc.) so that you have the support of friends.
Local classes – Check out your local libraries, YMCAs, community centers, and more for local classes you can take. There are tons of subjects and many are free. Now’s the time to learn something that you’ve always wanted to!
Have friends over – by having friends over to your place, you control the narrative. Let them know that there won’t be any alcohol and just enjoy time together, whether this means hosting a game night, movie night, or dinner party!
Go out to eat w friends – this was literally what I would do the majority of the time in early recovery. We would go to a meeting and then decide where to eat for the “meeting after the meeting.” It was a great way to socialize and meet new people while making sure that no one was alone for the night and tempted to drink.
Take some solo time – It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin after I stopped drinking, so this may be something reserved for a little further in recovery. Yes, it’s important to be able to spend time with yourself, but for me I needed to be able to sit with myself AROUND other people first. Take some time to journal, meditate, have breakfast in bed, read, or any other solo activity that leaves you feeling fulfilled.
Karaoke – most people associate karaoke and drinking because it’s a nerve-wracking activity, but going with a group of sober people can help take some of the nerves out of it. Or, if you’re comfortable going with friends who drink, it can be a pretty hilarious experience to observe.
Attend a comedy show – I’ve had great times at comedy shows and even though most tickets include some type of drink minimum, you can just order Diet Coke like I do. 🙂
Go to a concert or other live music – as I mentioned before, listening to music I really enjoyed was so much better without the interference of alcohol. There will likely be many people drinking around you, however, so either take a friend or wait until you have a more solid footing before attending.
This list is just a jumping off point; let me know some of your favorite ways to have fun sober in the comments!