When we get sober, we may think we aren’t going to have fun again. We become so accustomed to doing everything while drinking and going to bars or clubs for fun and are not sure what we are going to do without drugs and alcohol. Here are a few different things you can do to have fun in recovery without drinking. Find which ones work for you!
Exercise can be a great tool in our recovery programs. It releases dopamine in the brain and helps build esteem. Especially if we were using opiates and opioids, the brain can be depleted of dopamine when we’re newly sober. This can leave us feeling tired, depressed, or irritated. Exercise is a great way to take care of our bodies, build self-esteem, and increase our sense of wellbeing.
Eating well is a great way to care for ourselves and have some healthy fun in recovery. We can save some money and go out with friends to have a healthy meal. Eating releases dopamine in the brain and can bring us great joy. When we eat with friends, we are able to connect and fortify healthy relationships in our lives.
Going to concerts is one of my favorite things to do in recovery. You can find big concerts with bands you know and like, or check out some local shows. When I got sober, I lived in Los Angeles and we frequently went to cheap venues around town and saw all kinds of local bands. Find a crew of friends and see what kind of music you all can agree on. Get out there and have some fun listening to live music.
Often in drug and alcohol addiction/a>, we get stuck in one place. Traveling can be a great way to have fun without drinking. You can find a cheap place to stay and travel somewhere new within driving distance. Maybe you take your car and drive for a bit around an are of town you don’t know. Allow yourself to explore, be free, and not worry too much.
Perhaps this is a thing to do instead of drinking that is actually a thing not to do, but it certainly makes our list. When we’re drinking, we’re often out and about and going. It can be good to chill back and take some time to allow the nervous system to settle. Take a bath, watch a movie, or just lay low at home. You can relax by yourself or invite some friends over for a relaxing night together.
We all find our own spirituality in recovery, and volunteering can be a great way to go. Although it may not exactly sound like fun, volunteering can be deeply fulfilling. When I was newly sober, I volunteered at an organization that delivered food to people who were unable to go out to get food for themselves, and truly enjoyed myself. Every week, I connected with other volunteers, the families we served, and got to get up and be active. Again, it may not sound like fun, but it really is.
Get outside and have some fun! The sun can do wonders for our mood, uplifting us almost immediately. Go on a hike, hit the beach, or just go for a walk. Some of the best beaches in Northern California are right in our area, and you can always have fun at the beach. There are so many things to do outside. Whether you like exercise, relaxing, reading, or listening to music, there are always ways to do these things outside. One of my favorite things to do when I was newly sober was have a bonfire and cook s’mores with friends.
This one is a little silly, and maybe is reflective of my nerdiness, but Geocaching is awesome! In case you haven’t heard of it before, Geocaching is a real-life scavenger hunt game. People hide the items across the world, and you can download the app and go find them! You can visit www.Geocaching.com to sign up for free and see if there are any caches near you. It took me a minute to understand and get into it, and I still frequently hunt caches with friends! It makes for a great adventure.
There are many different types of meetings, and all meetings definitely aren’t fun. However, there are certain meetings where we can enjoy ourselves and let go. Maybe there’s a local artists’ meeting or especially social meeting you can find. Often meetings on weeknights will include some sort of fellowshipping after. When we feel like we belong and are connected with our community, we can really find joy from going to meetings!
Reading may not have been your idea of fun when you were using, but it can be a great way to let go and relax. There are sober book clubs you can join, spiritual book clubs, or you can just read on your own. My partner and I often decide on a book together and try to read together so we can talk about the book we’re reading. We don’t always have to be reading self-help or spiritual books. Enjoy a good nonfiction book or novel, whatever brings you joy!
When I got sober in my teens, this idea would have made me roll my eyes. However, we have game nights now with friends and have so much fun. We play party games, have a potluck meal, and connect with each other. Games are a good way to let go and have fun. We free our minds and often let go of worries.