Getting clean is a challenge, but once you’ve gotten through the detox and the first few months of recovery, you may wonder what else there is. Meetings and support groups are a great way to get out your feelings and learn more about yourself. But you can’t spend 24 hours a day working on yourself. The body and mind need some time away from work. But how do people have fun in recovery? There are a lot of ways to enjoy yourself, but sometimes it takes a little brainstorming.
It’s important to remember that staying clean comes first. You may have had hobbies that involved drug or alcohol use, or that may cause triggers. In recovery, you learn to find new people, places and things a part of your life. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends is a good goal. Trying out new hobbies is also an essential part of staying clean and sober.
By trying out new things, you’ll build social skills and be able to let go of some of the stress in your everyday life. Plus, having fun is essential to a healthy life. Boredom can be dangerous for recovering people – it can lead to deceptive thoughts of “the good old days” and make you forget how awful you felt while using. A change of pace is having fun in recovery is a great way to do that! It’s not all work and no play.
Ideas for having fun in recovery:
- Start a movie night. Movies are great for all ages, so if you have a family, they can participate. Or, you can invite your friends in recovery over. Make sure everyone brings snacks or even consider a potluck dinner with a movie afterward.
- Join or create a sports team. As an adult, you’re not expected to “go pro,” and it’s finally a time to play sports for a love of the game and friendly competition. What you’re a favorite sport? Do you like soccer, baseball or basketball? Find out when the local facilities (usually school or a rec center) are open and set something up.
- Get your craft on! There are so many types of arts, you can probably spend hours scouring the local supply store. Consider starting a group for other people in recovery to get together and learn new things from each other.
- Take a class. Your local community center or library will have many choices that are under $100, or you can go online and check out an assortment of free classes that are open to anyone in the world. (Coursera is an excellent place to check out for that.)
- Go to a 12-step convention. There are plenty of conferences, campouts, and other trips where you can meet new and exciting friends and learn from others about their lives and stories. If it’s cost-prohibitive, there are many ways to lower those costs, such as sharing a room or applying for a scholarship. Ask for help.
- Go to a play. There are plenty of community theatres that do low-cost productions. You’ll be supporting the arts, and it’s fun to immerse yourself in a story.
- Attend a poetry reading. Now, you may not be into writing poetry, but have you ever tried to express yourself through writing? If so, an open reading may be the best place to share your poetry in a supportive environment.
- Read a book while treating yourself to coffee. Coffee is often a luxury, but if you have a local coffeehouse, why not take a few a hours reading and relaxing while treating yourself to your favorite flavors? (You can even read your NA or AA book if you like – use a book cover if you’re concerned about privacy.)
- Spend time with animals. Can you “borrow” or watch your relative or friends’ dog or cat for a while? Animals help relieve stress and teach us so much about unconditional love. Spend some time playing with a pup. It’s a lot of fun for everyone involved.
- Have a picnic or cookout. Invite your sober friends and family to bring their food. Many parks will have tables that can be reserved so it will be easier to plan. They even sometimes have a grill you can use!
- Start a foodie club. Do you like to eat out? There are a lot of people who do, too. Create a gathering of clean and sober friends that want to help you explore new cuisine each week or month. Try Thai food, Indian food, and other locally-owned international offerings.
- Learn to garden. Growing something and keeping it alive can be a healing process. There are often free classes at gardening centers that can help you learn the skills.
These are just a few great ways to learn to have fun and celebrate sobriety. You can probably think of more now that you’ve had some examples. Don’t be shy – find out what other people are interested in doing, and set a date and a time. You might discover that you and your clean and sober friends have much more in common than you realized!
Are you looking for a sober living situation that is safe and supportive? We can help. Please check out our sober homes directory for more options. Thanks!