The idea of fun is relative when it comes to addiction recovery. There is a fine line between having fun in early recovery and encountering the impulse to drink alcohol to achieve fun. However, recovery is about recognizing the differences between the life you had when using alcohol to the life you have now that you are sober. They are not the same thing. Having fun in recovery first begins with breaking the association between fun and drinking. Therefore, you must let go of all the places, people and habits that trigger you and continue to learn how to stop drinking. However, you might not know where to look for sober ways to have fun or even remember what having fun meant to you before you began using. Let’s explore ways in which you can cultivate fun while protecting your sobriety.
Early recovery is about reconnecting with the emotions and inspirations you had before developing a substance use disorder. While it can be hard to provoke these memories, seeking creativity and participating in a creative outlet can help kickstart these memories. Being creative also helps challenge yourself in healthy ways that you might not have challenged yourself in a while. Looking for opportunities to pursue a creative outlet such as writing, playing music or joining a local art class is a great way to help spark motivation, inspiration and fun.
The key to finding creative outlets is to participate and explore new ventures. Even if you discover that you do not want to pursue the activity, getting yourself out there and participating in group events connects you with other people who likely don’t connect drinking with fun because they enjoy participating in sober activities. Look into local community events such as open mic nights at coffee shops or book clubs at the library. These events provide high creative energy and alcohol-free environments.
Continue Your Education
It might sound odd to associate going to school with fun, however, sobriety ushers you into a new season of learning. When you endure the first few months of sobriety and recovery, it might be a good time to look at what you want moving forward. You could even make it about fun first, before returning to school and academic requirements. There are many online classes and courses that you can join that don’t take up as much time or commitment because there is no commute. Maybe you want to learn how to build a website or design an online store. The idea here is about expanding your knowledge and embarking on a new learning venture – and this can be very fun.
Look for Volunteer Opportunities
A big part of recovery is about giving back. Being able to give back to peers in recovery, volunteer at a kitchen, tutor children or walk dogs not only gives you something to do, but they help instill a great sense of connection and euphoria. Additionally, volunteering with peers from recovery can help you strengthen relationships as well as ensures that you will be around others maintaining their sobriety. Such opportunities can be great for your recovery, especially if you are still developing the resilience needed to navigate social events where alcohol might be present.
Volunteering does not only strengthen relationships. It can also lead to career opportunities. For example, if you work with animals, you might discover that you would enjoy a career in helping animals. You might be offered a job by another volunteer who works with animals or the volunteer program itself. While it might not seem obvious how volunteering could be fun, as soon as you experience helping others and make a difference, you will realize how enjoyable volunteering is.
Think Outside the Box
Recovery helps you discover just how big the world is outside of alcohol. Your association with fun and alcohol is likely a great deception because you look back through rose-colored glasses. Think about all the times you did not enjoy yourself while drinking. Certainly, there were many occasions where you had a negative experience at a party or a terrible hangover. Additionally, drinking should not be the focus at family events, cookouts or barbecues, and if it is, or if someone is pressuring you to drink, then they are just looking for someone to support their drinking. Remember, their impulses have nothing to do with you and therefore, you do not need to feel guilty for telling them “no” or walking away.
Now that you are sober, you will likely realize from those around you that when drinking is the goal, you miss out on so many more opportunities for fun. Planning trips to go camping, hiking, rock climbing, or planning events to go to the theater are vastly better and more exciting alternatives than going to a social gathering to drink. It might bring you more comfort in planning trips with family, friends and peers who don’t need to drink and instead support your recovery. Not only will you assure yourself that you are in great company, but you also won’t feel the pressure to drink. The next time you are looking for fun, think outside of the box and pursue activities and gatherings that offer healthy social interaction and the opportunity for growth.
While recovery is the most rewarding journey you will ever embark on, this does not mean that it will be easy. At certain points, your recovery could become very challenging and that’s when you have to get creative with fun ways to stay sober. At Associated Behavioral Healthcare in the greater Seattle area, we help individuals overcome addiction and develop tools needed to aid them in early recovery. We also understand the difficulties of early recovery, such as experiencing intense cravings, impulses and boredom. If you are currently facing challenges that you do not know how to handle, then the time to reach out is today. Learn more by calling us at (844) 335-7384.