Does the idea of having fun sober seem overwhelming? For people who used to drink on every occasion, enjoying events without a drink is a new territory. It's not unusual to worry that your social life is over when you get sober.
The reality of it is, once you stop drinking or using drugs, you make clear choices about what you do and do not like to do. The company you keep will chang dramatically when you're not only spending time with people based on how much they do (or do not) drink -- and that's a good thing!
To someone just letting go of drugs or alcohol, it’s annoying to hear people say how much fun they have in sobriety. That’s because the first few months of living clean can be uncomfortable, even downright painful. But there is truth in the adage, “it gets better.” It truly does. Trust that the laughter and joy you witness in the rooms of recovery are real, and work to get that for yourself. Here are some tips for those first uncomfortable months as you re-emerge in the world as a real-live sober person, not someone floating through life as an active addict or alcoholic.
Tips to Have Fun While Sober
Bring a fun drink to have or share.
Flavored sparkling waters mixed with juice and sliced lemon look good and taste delicious. It makes a difference to have a drink of your own.
Meet friends for exercise.
It’s good for recovery, mental health, and confidence!
Plan a cultural outing.
Look for art exhibits in town, a local theater performance, or a cooking class.
Join a book club, volunteer, write a letter each week to an old friend, bake yourself some cookies.
Coffee dates are fun!
Go early evening and sit on a patio and bring a game of Scrabble or some interesting magazines (politics, art, fashion, celebrity gossip), and play share and tell with friends on the things you read.
Say YES to activities with sober friends.
Even if you’re uncomfortable, even if you don’t want to go, just say yes and show up. You don’t have to be anyone’s best friend, but other people in recovery understand you in a way your ‘normal’ friends do not. Build that support network.
Plan for social events that might be hard.
Get sleep, eat well beforehand, talk to your support team.
Going into a tricky situation (an ex’s wedding? could be triggering!) with all your available resources means you will be able to navigate challenging situations with more grace.
Plan activities with friends that support your recovery.
It’s no fun to go to a bar crawl with former drinking buddies or an all-night rave with a drugged-out pal. Steer clear of events that are clearly not right for you. On that note…
Avoid situations where you will be uncomfortable, triggered, or pressured to drink or use
It’s just not worth it. Whatever led you to stop using WILL occur again, and getting sober the second time around is even more painful than the first time. Trust me, I know.
So get out there and enjoy life! Don’t worry about who you used to be, don’t tempt yourself with booze or drugs, and let yourself enjoy events you attend. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol or drugs, contact the Pat Moore Foundation and learn about drug and alcohol treatment today. Life really is fun when you live it with a clean heart and clear head.