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Old 03-20-2013, 08:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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What do you do for fun without drinking - a thought experiment


This is just a thought experiment I thought I'd try to combat the blankness I feel when I ask myself how I'll have fun without drinking.

If someone had asked me the question: 'How do you have fun without drinking?' when I was 10 years old, I would have said:

Riding my bike, building a raft, playing with my toys, having a sleepover, being around animals, reading, playing the piano, doing gymnastics, watching my favourite movies, going swimming, exploring the countryside, building a den, climbing a tree, playing tennis, writing a story, playing by the river.

If someone had asked me the question: 'How do you have fun without drinking?' when I was 20 years old, I would have said:

Going for a bike ride, eating delicious food, poetry, travelling the world, being around animals, writing, watching my favourite movies, playing a card game, playing the piano, exploring the countryside, doing gymnastics, going for coffee and curling up with a book, learning new things, listening to music.

If someone asks me the question: 'How do you have fun without drinking?' now that I'm 28 years old and trying to quit drinking, I would say something like:


Well I like good food, but it's better with wine; I like watching movies but I couldn't do that without a beer in my hand; playing card games can be fun while drinking; I like playing the piano but my co-ordination isn't great as I'm usually drunk while playing it; I like exploring the countryside but I'm always hungover when I do it, so it can be a struggle; I used to like reading and writing and learning new things, but I haven't had the concentration for any of that since I became a heavy drinker; I like being around animals, but my hangovers keep me inside a lot of the time; I don't really like listening to music unless I can drink while doing it; the best thing about travelling the world is drinking in all the cool different bars and kicking back - I wouldn't enjoy it if I couldn't do that. I guess there aren't that many things I enjoy any more. What I do for fun is drinking. I don't know what to do for fun without it.

In the first two questions (when I'm ten and twenty), the 'without drinking' part is irrelevant, the question is really 'What do you do for fun?'; but in the third question the 'without drinking' part means everything. When I phrase the question like that, the problem is obvious: the reason I don't know how to have fun anymore without drinking, is that my drinking has replaced everything in my life that used to be fun. It has also stopped the old things from being fun, as I'm either too drunk or too hungover to enjoy them.

So I'm hoping that what someone asks me the question 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' in the future, my answer will be a list of many of the things on the first two answers from when I was ten and twenty, plus a whole load of new things I'll have discovered along the way. And that will be my new life

*I'm aware this doesn't really deal with the problems that led me to drinking, but then drinking didn't deal very well with those problems either.

If anyone wants to have a go themselves, here are the questions again:

1) If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 10, what would you have said?

2) If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 20, what would you have said? (If you had a drink problem when you were twenty, maybe you could either pick a teenage year when you were a bit more grown up than ten but not yet a drinker, or pick a period of sobriety in your adult life, or just skip the question)

3) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' now (or when you were a drinker), what would you say?

3) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' in the future, what would you like to be able to say?
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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) If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 10, what would you have said?

yer nuts..im 10!


If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 20, what would you have said?

there aint no fun without alcohol


3) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' now (or when you were a drinker), what would you say?

whatever i want


3) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' in the future, what would you like to be able to say?

whatever i want
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice post. sounds insightful. Thank you. All the best.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsteve View Post
) If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 10, what would you have said?

yer nuts..im 10!


If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 20, what would you have said?

there aint no fun without alcohol


3) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' now (or when you were a drinker), what would you say?

whatever i want


3) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' in the future, what would you like to be able to say?

whatever i want
There's no need to take the **** out of me. I joined this forum for some support. I'm only five days sober and it's hard.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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1) If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 10, what would you have said?

Horse riding, reading, walking in the countryside, playing video games, eating out, watching films.

2) If someone had asked you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' when you were 17, what would you have said?

Going on drives, listening to music, reading, watching films, socialising with friends (cinema etc, nothing involving drink), exercising, amateur dramatics, playing video games.

3) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' now (or when you were a drinker), what would you say?

Honestly there's not much, as most of the time I'm either drunk or hungover. On the days I manage to drink only a bottle of wine, I would say reading, watching films and occasionally driving.

4) If someone were to ask you 'What do you do for fun without drinking?' in the future, what would you like to be able to say?

I'd like to be able to reel off an entire list of things, from bird watching to sports I've got into. Something that shows I have a zest for life again and that I'm interested in learning new things and participating in new experiences. As right now, the only thing that seems enjoyable to me is sitting on my own drinking a bottle of wine - how pathetic

I liked this post though Snowbunting, gave me a little insight into how far I've let my problem escalate.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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snowbunting, I think it was a kind of tongue in cheek comment, not meant to take the **** out of you.....
I would agree, as a younger person, I would have had a blast just being a kid..alcohol was the furthest from my mind..I would build forts, climb trees etc..
As a teenager, we explored alcohol, and thats when things took off for me. My friends would party on weekends, but I always had to have the most..and mostly handled it the best.. Big red flag..
Now that I am sober? I am still trying to find the "Fun" things to do, while not drinking. I think we have associated fun with drinking for so long, that we sort of forgot that drinking wasn't always there while we were having fun. In the end, I know that drinking was anything but fun for me. So, I am re-learning how to have fun. I love my dog, biking, going to the gym, walking in nature, I enjoy my morning coffee without feeling hung over... My future plans are to stay sober and enjoy what comes my way, and be grateful...because going back to drinking is willing myself back into the desperate He{** I couldnt live in anymore...
Welcome to SR...I wish you the very best on your path with Sobriety...
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There's no need to take the **** out of me. I joined this forum for some support. I'm only five days sober and it's hard.
Nothing wrong with TomSteve's post. He's absolutely right
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks panache, they are really thoughtful answers. For me too, the only thing that has seemed fun for a long time now is sitting alone with a bottle of wine. I have begun to slowly change that mindset, but the fear and the urge can be so loud. Bird watching is a wonderful way to relax and take your mind of things - getting inside their world has been very eye-opening to me. It reminds me that there are whole other worlds out there that have nothing to do with me, my stupid problems, and my drinking. I hope you can find a way through.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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snowbunting, I think it was a kind of tongue in cheek comment, not meant to take the **** out of you.....
Sorry if I misread the post. Sobriety can make me irritable sometimes!

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Nothing wrong with TomSteve's post. He's absolutely right
It's just that I spent ages thinking about the post and I hoped it could be of some help to newcomers to recovery, and then the first response I get is a really flippant post from someone who has *maybe* forgottwn just how daunting it is to be on the very first step towards recovery, when you honestly don't know if you will ever find anything fun again. That's all. Hopefully one day I'll be at the stage when 'How do you have fun without alcohol?' sounds like a stupid question. But for newcomers it can be one of the most daunting questions of all.
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Old 03-20-2013, 08:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Snow...it really is very daunting, getting sober again. Its unfriendly, foreign, daunting, scarey.. It seems like there will never be any fun anymore. Yet, we know why we found ourselves here, on a recovery site. It wasn't because we were having so much fun anymore, was it? The thing is, at least for me, I know what lies in that bottle now that all the fun is gone from it. Self hatred, loneliness, despair, and eventually death. When I remember that, its an easy choice to try sobriety, because where I was, anything at all was better than how I was... I wasn't so worried about fun in the end, I was merely trying to stay alive..
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks panache, they are really thoughtful answers. For me too, the only thing that has seemed fun for a long time now is sitting alone with a bottle of wine. I have begun to slowly change that mindset, but the fear and the urge can be so loud. Bird watching is a wonderful way to relax and take your mind of things - getting inside their world has been very eye-opening to me. It reminds me that there are whole other worlds out there that have nothing to do with me, my stupid problems, and my drinking. I hope you can find a way through.
Put it this way. I posted my first newbie post introducing myself today and I'm already thinking "should I buy a bottle of wine on my way home from work tonight?". It's breaking the mindset which is hardest for me, no matter how hard I try it's nigh on impossible.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:13 AM   #12 (permalink)
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maybe don't try to break it, just let it be and don't act on it?
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:14 AM   #13 (permalink)
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It's just that I spent ages thinking about the post and I hoped it could be of some help to newcomers to recovery, and then the first response I get is a really flippant post from someone who has *maybe* forgottwn just how daunting it is to be on the very first step towards recovery, when you honestly don't know if you will ever find anything fun again. That's all.
TomSteve's answer is far from flippant. It really gets to the crux of the matter about an alcoholics' relationship with alcohol. Look at answer 2:

"there aint no fun without alcohol"

Isn't this right where you are, right now? The fear that there will be no more "fun" in your life?

And the subsequent answers..."whatever i want" in regards to what do you do for fun, Tom is just stating that because of recovery, alcohol has been taken completely out of the equation.

We can do whatever we want, without alcohol, and have fun. Sounds like a wonderful answer to me. Sorry you didn't see it that way.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:19 AM   #14 (permalink)
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maybe don't try to break it, just let it be and don't act on it?
I don't think I can differentiate between the two. Something I'm working on and hopefully, with the help of this forum, will master. Here's hoping.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Put it this way. I posted my first newbie post introducing myself today and I'm already thinking "should I buy a bottle of wine on my way home from work tonight?". It's breaking the mindset which is hardest for me, no matter how hard I try it's nigh on impossible.
I know where you're coming from. I posted my first newbie post on this site one year ago, then drank heavily for the entire next year. I didn't like that people here were agreeing that I had a problem, even though I knew it myself, and I bought a bottle of wine to help me cope with the fact that I couldn't stop buying bottles of wine.

Today I made my second newbie post, a year after the first. My mind set has changed a bit now, and I have the advantage of a change in circumstances (we moved 400 miles north). But I know that one day, maybe even tonight or tomorrow, my mind is going to play tricks on me and start trying to convince me to drink. And I don't know if I'll be strong enough to resist. I'm going to look at the lists I made on this thread, and remind myself of all the things drink has been stealing from me.

I don't know what to suggest for you as I'm really new to this myself. I'm hoping to spend a lot of time on here whenever I have the urge, until I can think of something else to do. Could you try just treating yourself to whatever self-indulgent thing you might want, except alcohol? I think I could *just about* convince myself not to drink if I watched two or three favourite childhood films in a row while stuffing my face with sweets, strawberries, and sparkling grape juice. That can't go on forever (or can it?) but for these really hard first few weeks it might be worth trying. Whatever works for you, no matter how self-indulgent or embarrassing (like watching old episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be for me) is still a million times better than drinking.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:42 AM   #16 (permalink)
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TomSteve's answer is far from flippant. It really gets to the crux of the matter about an alcoholics' relationship with alcohol. Look at answer 2:

"there aint no fun without alcohol"

Isn't this right where you are, right now? The fear that there will be no more "fun" in your life?

And the subsequent answers..."whatever i want" in regards to what do you do for fun, Tom is just stating that because of recovery, alcohol has been taken completely out of the equation.

We can do whatever we want, without alcohol, and have fun. Sounds like a wonderful answer to me. Sorry you didn't see it that way.
Yes I see the point now, but it still seems flippant from the point of view of a *very new* recoverer who has just written a long post trying to understand the problem. To a newbie, those answers feel very far away and generalised. There'd be no point in me even making the thread if the answers were all 'I can do whatever I want'. Well of course you can, but at the start you need more detail and structure than that, and you need to coax yourself and help yourself more. Doing 'whatever you want' is not so simple when all you want is the one thing you can't have, and when you can't have it you're left thinking 'But what does that leave?' This thread is just a way to try and jog some memories of normality, which is why I put it in the 'newcomers to recovery' forum.

But I'm sorry I misread the post and all, and I do see where it's coming from. Whether they were right or not, the answers weren't in the spirit of the questions, because the questions were aimed at people who have only just quit or who haven't quit yet but want to.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:42 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I like that idea of making a list Snowbunting of all the things drink has stolen from me - this actually might help me stay sober tonight and occupy my mind a little.

Again, I think the first 2 hours once I get gone are the worst for me wanting to drink and my anxiety is high, after that, I think I tail and I sort of "accept" I'm not drinking tonight and almost relax a little. It's just resisting the urge to go the shop - as unfortunately it's on my route home (once what I thought was a massive convenience is now a burden :p)
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:01 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I like that idea of making a list Snowbunting of all the things drink has stolen from me - this actually might help me stay sober tonight and occupy my mind a little.

Again, I think the first 2 hours once I get gone are the worst for me wanting to drink and my anxiety is high, after that, I think I tail and I sort of "accept" I'm not drinking tonight and almost relax a little. It's just resisting the urge to go the shop - as unfortunately it's on my route home (once what I thought was a massive convenience is now a burden :p)
Yes do that - make the list, and try to make it ride out those first two hours. Having just read your introduction post, I think we're coming from similar places. I too am a twenty-something female, living in England up until three months ago, using wine as a crutch to cope with many things including a job I found ridiculously stressful. Unfortunately the alcohol destroyed my ability to do that job in the end. I hope whatever I find next I can just enjoy and be relaxed about - no job is worth so much physical and mental damage.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Great post, snowbunting, and very thought provoking. I would say that after going sober that I happily resemble your 10 yr old self. Anything I can do outdoors and while playing a sport or just moving about is what I now do for fun.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:07 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Great post, snowbunting, and very thought provoking. I would say that after going sober that I happily resemble your 10 yr old self. Anything I can do outdoors and while playing a sport or just moving about is what I now do for fun.
That is so awesome. I hope I can resemble my ten year old self *very* soon! This thought has made me very happy, thanks!
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