Now that you are sober, the idea of occupying your newfound free time with fun activities during and after treatment may feel challenging. You may be thinking to yourself, now what? Being sober can allow you to engage in more activities you love to do that may have previously been taken up by using a substance. It is essential to realize that although the way you have fun is going to look different, it does not mean that you can no longer have fun.
Being in recovery is about changing and becoming a more healthy and happy person outside of substance abuse. At the core of this understanding that you are changing as a person, you realize that your lifestyle will change, and how you have fun may change too. As we evolve, our surroundings tend to grow with us as we start removing and adding things into our lives. As our interests move out of a drinking or substance use lifestyle, we place our interests on something different and more rewarding.
In recovery, we may still find the craving for an experience that makes us feel happy and carefree is intense. However, most activities will not give you the same kind of serotonin and dopamine rush or the numbing effect as alcohol and drugs did in the past. Learning that you don’t need a substance to manipulate your feelings or your fun is key. You can have fun while being substance-free and find activities that make you happy.
If you feel like it is difficult to enjoy anything, keep in mind that addictive drugs change the brain and make it hard for the brain to feel pleasure without that substance. When you stop using substances, the brain becomes depleted from the large supply of dopamine it used to get. Because of this, it may be hard to find pleasure in activities and truly have fun until the brain balances itself out again. Once the brain has balanced itself and adapted back to functioning without a substance, it can help to be mindful of your sense of identity outside substance use. Envision the kind of person you’d like to become and what activities will help you get there, can help you achieve this.
Getting in Touch With Who You Are Becoming
Figuring out what you love and what you dislike requires getting to know yourself first. Reflecting on your interests, passions, and desires can make it easier to find fun activities. This may be a process that takes trial and error as you begin to try out different activities. You may discover that you do not like certain things you thought you would and find that you love activities you thought you would not.
Start by making a list and writing down everything you like. Write down what kind of vacations you like, the food you like, sports you like, and places you like to go. Get clear on what makes you happy. It may be easier to reflect on the things you know you don’t like or activities that may cause temptations and possible relapse. Ask yourself: Do you like beach or mountain vacations? Do you love football, basketball, soccer? Do you love Mexican food and pizza? Do you love hiking, or watching movies? This list can start small, but it is essential to know yourself before figuring out how to have fun in sobriety. This can also be a time to explore new activities you have not tried out yet. When you try something new, you don’t have to worry about being the best at it right away. If you find you love cooking and finding new recipes but are not that good yet, it can be a healthy challenge to motivate yourself to get better.
Fun, Sober Activities
Think about what you are open to trying. There will be certain things you don’t like, and you may surprise yourself with something you do like. By keeping an open mind and being courageous to try out and learn new things, we can not only grow as individuals but also have fun in the process.
- Trying new recipes
- Taking up walking and hiking
- Find a painting class
- Seek community
- Make something (arts and crafts, woodworking, etc.)
- Explore the world around you
- Go to the bookstore, enjoy flipping through books you might want to buy
- Go out to breakfast
- Watch the sunset or sunrise
- Take dance lessons (even if they are on Youtube or Zoom)
- Go camping
- Find local attractions
The recovery process does not have to be a time where you no longer have fun. It can be a time to discover new, rewarding, and entertaining activities that allow you to grow as a person and have fun in recovery. It may be difficult at first to find things you enjoy with your new free time outside of substance abuse. Therefore, it is essential to self-reflect and gets to know yourself. As you change and evolve, so will your surroundings and the activities you partake in. Now that you are sober, your actions will reflect that. You can find joy in trying new things and discovering what you do and do not like. At Alta Centers, we understand the value of integrating programs into a person’s life rather than being all-consuming. Recovery is not the end of your life but a new start. For more information about how we can help, call us at (888) 202-2583.