Everywhere you look, no matter where you live, you will see fun tied to alcohol. Whether it’s a celebration or an average Saturday night, alcohol is ever-present. For those in recovery, this may pose a problem, especially when it comes to having fun without alcohol.
Many people in early recovery worry about how they will live will never have fun without alcohol or drugs.
You may have thoughts and questions like this:
What will I do for fun?
How can I have fun without alcohol?
I will be so boring if I am not drinking.
First, let this statement resonate with you: Sobriety does not equal boring. Say it over and over and believe it. You can and will have fun without alcohol and drugs.
The first step is to change your idea of fun. Before, you may have thought having fun meant drinking, using drugs, and doing anything possible to “escape.” However, if you’re an alcoholic, you know that staying in your addiction is ultimately miserable and will only get worse, so drinking cannot be an option.
In recovery, you will notice that you have more free time, and this may bring about anxiety. What will you do with your time now that you are in recovery? it’s time to redefine fun, and here are some ways to start:
Six Ways to Have Fun in Recovery
1. Explore Your Interests
With sobriety comes rediscovering parts of yourself that you hid while in active addiction. What are your interests? You may need to really sit down and ponder this, and make sure you think about yourself pre-addiction. What did you enjoy doing? Sports? Painting? Playing music? Now is the time to make a list of all your true interests.
Think about something you have always wanted to do, but your addiction prevented you from doing it. Perhaps it is learning to play an instrument or traveling to another country. Maybe you have always wanted to go back to school and earn a degree. Decide what you would like to do, and don’t hold back anything.
2. Connect with Others in Recovery
There’s nothing quite like the bond among those who have lived through addiction and are now living out their recovery…together. Recovery support is essential to long-term sobriety, and in addition to meetings and support groups, you can hang out with others in a drug and alcohol and free environment. Once you develop a recovery support group, you will find that you may prefer hanging out with these people in your free time. Many relationships found in recovery last a lifetime. Don’t underestimate the power of these connections.
3. Get Active
You will find a myriad of research studies on the mental effects of physical activity, and they all report similar findings: Physical activity has long been proven to decrease depression and anxiety and improve self-esteem. Getting active is a great way to have fun in sobriety, and no, you don’t have to start extreme sports either (unless, of course, you want to!). Going on a hike or playing dodgeball with the neighborhood kids are among the many ways you can get active.
4. Get Creative
There’s something fulfilling about creating something with your hands. Many addiction rehabs include creative activities such as arts and crafts. Have you ever tried painting? Beading? Wood carving? The list of creative outlets is endless. You may think, nah, I’m not the creative type, but you may surprise yourself if you get it a chance. (Pinterest is a great place to start looking for ideas!)
5. Help Someone Else
Helping someone else nourishes the soul and can be fun! The opportunities are vast. First, look for a need. Does your elderly neighbor need groceries? Maybe a coworker is moving and needs help boxing up their apartment. Maybe you sense that someone is lonely and could use a visit. Not only is service to others a “secret weapon in recovery,” but by helping someone else, you will find yourself having fun, too.
6. Whatever you do, feel comfortable in your own skin.
This the best feeling: the day when you realize, hey, I’m comfortable myself, and I’m actually enjoying life. I’m having fun! It doesn’t matter what you are actually doing. You may be hanging out with others, or you may be taking a walk by yourself and listening to music, but the bottom line is you will feel like you are real, true, and you belong. Feeling comfortable in your own skin is the best feeling possible in recovery, and when you do, you will feel carefree and have fun, no matter what you’re doing.
The best part about sober fun? No hangovers. No blackouts. No trying to remember what you did yesterday. No more feeling shame and guilt. Think about your “best” days in your addiction. What were they like? Now think about your recovery path so far. You may be able to say, “Even my worst days in recovery trump my best days in active addiction.”
Redefine your definition of fun, and don’t hold back!