Many individuals who are able to stop drinking and taking drugs believe that their life has to become intense and serious. But completing a rehabilitation program and being in recovery doesn’t mean a boring existence. The truth is that a sober life can be fulfilling, exciting and extremely rewarding. If a recovering addict does not learn how to enjoy life without their substance of choice, then the chances of remaining sober long-term are diminished. Learning to have fun without the addictive behavior should be an important goal. Here are some thoughts on having fun while remaining sober.
There is great value in vacations for those in recovery. Everyone can take one, if you plan ahead and adjust your mindset. To minimize anxiety-filled situations, plan as far ahead as possible and don’t be afraid to remove yourself from any situation that makes you feel uneasy.
Use these tips for a stress-free, drug-free travel experience:
Ask the resort or hotel to remove all alcohol from the mini-bar in your room to avoid unnecessary temptation.
Accept that you have no control over delayed flights, lost luggage, car rental, etc. This worry can lead to unwanted behavior and jeopardize your recovery.
Eat healthy. Regular, balanced meals as well as exercise and adequate sleep will keep you clear and focused.
Gather with friends around the pool, Jacuzzi, lanai, patio or ship observation decks instead of at the bar.
Travel with people who are supportive and who will look out for your best interests. Here's some tips on where to find sober friends around the globe.
Try a sober holiday vacation. Some of the most popular vacation destinations, along with many resorts, cruise lines and travel companies offer alcohol-free vacations.
When in recovery, you may find that as much as you want to go to a concert, part of you feels hesitant about entering an environment where other people will be drinking or taking drugs.
If you do decide to go, be prepared for triggers and know what you have to do to handle them.
Bring a sober and supportive friend.
Make sure your sponsor is only a phone call or text away.
Enjoy the fact that you will be alert during the concert and will be able to remember the entire evening clearly in the morning.
And believe it or not, there are also festivals and concerts out there that cater to the sober crowd. In fact, here's one we attended a few years ago.
3. Get Active
Many people in recovery struggle with feeling a lack of the adrenaline that they got from drugs or alcohol. A healthy way to recreate this feeling is to participate in adventurous sports. Look into sports that can get your blood pumping like surfing, kayaking or skydiving. These type of sports are sure to be thrilling without jeopardizing your sobriety.
4. Cooking Connection
Too often, when alcohol or drugs rule behavior, the consumption of healthy meals is all but forgotten. Now is your chance to enhance your basic culinary skills and add a social aspect as well. If you also have a green thumb, plant vegetables and herbs in your own garden. Preparing food that you have grown yourself can be a great boost of confidence. Sharing your meals with family and friends at your own home allows you to be in a social environment that is alcohol and drug-free. And you’ll love the praise for your new found talent from your support group, even if it is just making a simple grilled cheese sandwich.
5. Volunteer and Donate
If you are passionate about a specific cause, such as animals, children or just about anything else, volunteering is a great activity for you! If your schedule makes it difficult to put in the necessary time required to volunteer, you can also donate items to local charities. Volunteering and participating in something you enjoy guarantees a feeling of accomplishment and the knowledge that you’ll feel good about yourself at the end of the day. Read more about the wonders of volunteering here.
Why Fun is Essential in Recovery
Addicts often feel like every day is a struggle to stop themselves from using again. Life in addiction recovery may feel like it is boring and people who have just come out of addiction treatment often do not know how to go about having fun when they are not using. People who become bored often reminisce about their old lives before they started living sober, and this could lead to questioning whether all the effort is worth it during the recovery process. Boredom is one of the main reasons that people turn to drug and alcohol abuse in the first place, which means that it is a key trigger for relapse.
Staying busy and steering clear of idle time is essential to staying sober. You may have to try a number of different activities until you find the project, hobby or social situation that is right for you, but don’t give up. Finding out how to have sober fun will enhance your long-term recovery.