Are you currently recovering from drug or alcohol abuse? Whether you’ve just started this journey, you’re in the middle of a detox treatment program, or you’ve been clean for years, you know that staying sober is a daily choice.
If you’re no longer engaging in the substance abuse that you used to, then you might wonder how you’ll spend your time. After all, those activities took up a good portion of your day and night. If you weren’t engaging in drug use you were likely thinking about it.
Thankfully, there are lots of sober activities that can take the place of your former habits and help you keep your mind on healthy, positive thoughts. Whether you’re looking for solo adventures or things you can do in a crowd, we’ve got you covered with today’s list.
One of the most invigorating and rewarding pastimes is simply taking a walk outside! If you want to amp it up a little, you can choose a moderately difficult hike or just take a stroll around your neighborhood. The goal isn’t always to break a sweat or get your heart rate up.
Rather, it’s to connect with the greater world around you. As you spend time outdoors, take a few minutes to sit and reflect. Notice the birds chirping, and the way the wind feels on your face. Listen to the leaves crunch beneath your feet and watch the sun change throughout the day.
A few of the most enjoyable and accessible outdoor activities include:
- Walking, jogging, or running
- Tennis, pickleball, kickball
- Gardening (see below!)
These are just a couple of the things you can do in nature. If your town has a local parks and recreation department, get in touch with the team. Chances are, they keep an events calendar that’s packed with events and activities designed to help you get out and explore.
Plant a Garden
This one deserves its own special spot on our list of things to do instead of drinking or using drugs. Gardening is incredibly rewarding, mostly because you get to see something develop from a tiny sprout to a full-grown plant! If you plant fruits or vegetables, you can also reap the delicious reward of all your hard work!
Another reason why it’s a great pastime for someone who’s living with addiction? Gardening is an exercise in patience, dedication, and devotion. You can’t simply plant your seeds or saplings and expect them to grow on their own.
Instead, you have to stay diligent. Your garden will require watering, fertilizing, weeding, and picking to make sure it stays as healthy and vibrant as possible. This gives you a long-term project to focus on, which can help ward off intrusive thoughts and triggers.
Connect With Loved Ones
When you were in the throes of your addiction, it might have robbed you of precious time with the ones you love the most. Now that you’ve dedicated yourself to getting help, you may be able to recoup some of those moments.
Of course, addiction can also wreak havoc on even the closest relationships. Sometimes, it isn’t as easy as picking up the phone or dropping by to see a loved one. Both parties may have issues, concerns, and hurts to work past. If this is the case, you can enroll in family therapy sessions to help everyone overcome these hurdles.
Your support system will be critical as you seek to maintain your sobriety. If you have broken relationships that need mending, look into a long-term treatment program that can help you repair any damage done and establish a firm foundation before you re-enter society.
If you’re looking for a way to spend your time once you get sober, why not give back? Volunteering in your community is one of the most rewarding and helpful things you can do for yourself and your neighbors.
Your local chamber of commerce should be able to connect you with open volunteer opportunities in your local area. From donating food and school supplies to mentoring youth and raising money for those in need, there are plenty of ways to plug in.
Studies show that community engagement comes with many benefits, including:
- Establishes connections with others
- Introduces you to new friends and contacts
- Improves your social and relational skills
- Helps ward off feelings of anxiety and depression
- Boosts your self-confidence
- Keeps you physically strong and healthy
- Improves your mood
- Widens your perspective
Don’t these sound like advantages you could use as you navigate life sober? Volunteering is ideal for anyone, but especially someone looking to counteract negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones.
Go on a Solo Date
When you’re first learning how to navigate social situations sans drugs or alcohol, you might wonder how those interactions will go. Will you know how to act? What should you do with your hands?
To prepare, it can help to take yourself on a date or night on the town before you head out with anyone else. The more comfortable you can be with yourself, the easier it will be to interact with others.
Go see a movie you’ve been interested in, or walk around an art gallery. Eat alone at a restaurant or spend time journaling at the park. You don’t have to make it an elaborate event, but be intentional about how you spend your time.
Then, when it is time to socialize with others, you won’t feel as inclined to follow the crowd. Remember, however, that getting sober often means cutting ties with the individuals who encouraged you to abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place. If you’re still hanging out with those negative influences, your sobriety will be that much harder to maintain.
Here is a brief guide on how to distance yourself gracefully, successfully, and permanently from someone with a substance use disorder. Once you’ve taken that hard step, try to find others who are in your shoes!
Bigger cities will often host “sober meet-ups” that encourage socialization among those abstaining from drugs or alcohol. Do a quick internet search to find the one closest to you, and attend with an open mind.
Learn a New Skill
Have you always wanted to take up stained glass? What about stand-up paddleboarding, kickboxing, or basket-weaving? There’s no right or wrong answer to this question.
Substance abuse can rob you of the time, focus, and energy required to learn a new skill. However, sobriety is the perfect time to pick one up. Not only will you have more time on your hands, but you’ll also need an activity to keep your mind focused and engaged.
Research skills and hobbies that interest you, and then look for a local community group in your area. You might be surprised to find that there are many others who share the same pursuits! Your public library is a great place to start the search.
Take a Class
In the same vein as learning a new skill, is there any kind of subject that you’ve always been interested in learning more about? From welding to art history, there are all kinds of topics to dive into and explore.
You may want to pursue an advanced certification in a specific field of study, or just take a few courses for fun. If you’re really serious about advancing your academic pursuits, you may even decide to go back to school and complete or add to your degree.
Start by checking out the upcoming semester at your local community college. Many trade-focused classes are offered year-round. In today’s post-pandemic era, many institutions are also offering courses via Zoom or similar online platforms. This way, you can learn without even leaving the comfort of your home!
With your new newfound knowledge, you could earn a side income, change careers, or simply indulge your creative and curious side in a new, healthy way.
Try a Craft
The beautiful thing about crafts is that they don’t have to be perfect to be special. In fact, their imperfection is precisely what makes them so unique.
Even if you’ve never considered yourself a crafty person, you might be surprised at how quickly the creative juices flow once you get in the groove! Invite over some of your sober-supportive friends for a craft night, complete with supplies from the local hobby store and a YouTube tutorial or two to help you get started!
A few of the many crafts you can try include:
- Jewelry making
- T-shirt screen printing
Not only is crafting fun, but it can also soothe your mind and improve your confidence. Watching something form from your two hands is an incredibly rewarding feeling.
Dive Into Sobriety
When you first make the decision to get sober, the word “sobriety” might feel like a funny thing to say. You might even try to avoid talking about it, especially in the beginning when everything feels super sensitive.
However, it can be therapeutic and cathartic to learn as much as you can on the topic of sobriety, instead of shying away from it. The more you know, the easier it is to connect with this subject.
Try listening to podcasts or interviews with people who have also made the decision to get sober. Read books on the subject and browse online resources. This topic is such a popular one right now that there’s even an entire literary genre devoted to it!
Called “quit lit”, these are periodicals, books, blogs, and more, all focused on the topic of sobriety. Check them out to hear new perspectives and gain motivation as you travel your own journey.
Go to an Amusement Park
If you’re feeling stuck in your head? If so, you may need an adrenaline rush! However, instead of reaching for drugs or alcohol to get high, why not take on an ultimate roller-coaster instead?
Guaranteed to thrill you as no other experience can, amusement parks offer daring heights, spins, and upside-down twirls that will absolutely keep your mind on the present. If you don’t have one near you, don’t sweat it. There are lots of other ways to get your blood pumping and your heart racing — no substances required.
Try any of the following to satisfy the thrill-seeker inside of you:
- Laser tag
- Ultimate frisbee
- Indoor skydiving
Let loose, enjoy the experience, and stay in the moment. You’ll be glad you did.
Explore Local Culture
In almost every town, there are heaps of cultural exhibits to explore and discover. This is true whether you live in a bustling city or a quaint rural oasis. Think museums, art galleries, outdoor learning centers, theaters, and more!
When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, almost every second of your spare time is usually spent either using the substance or planning your next hit. This can leave little time to walk or drive around your local streets and see what they have to offer.
Now that you’re sober, you can take advantage of everything your region has to offer. Even if you have to drive a little way to get there, it’s worth it. Buy tickets to a play, attend a downtown art crawl, or get a season pass to the closest museum.
That way, you’ll have a steady stream of low-cost events to look forward to and enjoy! Supporting the arts is always a great idea, and if you get your friends involved, you’ll make even more of an impact!
Try These Sober Activities Today
Getting sober is one of the best and bravest things you could have done. As you take your next step forward, there are resources and programs designed to make the transition smooth and seamless.
This includes detox and treatment centers that will surround you with positive influences and tools to help you manage your sobriety. In the meantime, these sober activities are a great way to start. There’s a bright and beautiful world out there, and it’s time to explore and enjoy it!
When your’re ready, take a look at our alcohol and drug treatment centers to get started.