In the United States, drugs and alcohol play a prominent role in society. Alcohol is advertised on television, partying is glamorized in movies and music, and substance abuse is depicted as almost a necessity in young age. The statistics align with this perception as well; over 86% of Americans drink at least once in life and approximately 10% of the population has used drugs in the past month.
Due to the role of substance use in modern life, it’s hard to picture living without a buzz or a high for those in recovery. Avoiding triggers can be extremely hard, especially when it feels like everyone is having fun with drugs and alcohol – except you. However, it’s important to remember that many people choose sobriety and no activity is improved by alcohol or drugs. Here are eight fun – and sober – ways to spend your time.
Take Up a Sport
Whether you’ve always loved athletics or are simply looking for an easy way to get in shape, a community sports league is a great opportunity to get active and make friends. Most communities host bowling, softball, baseball, kickball, dodgeball, basketball, or volleyball teams in association with community centers or city leagues, providing a convenient and affordable activity that burns calories and builds camaraderie. Best of all, athletics are performed sober, so not using substances will be par for the course.
Work on Literacy
Virtually every city and town in the country maintains some sort of library system, offering a free destination for access to thousands of books. From broadening your horizons to plunging you into a new and fascinating world, reading is a pleasurable pastime enjoyed all over the world. As a solitary activity, there’s never pressure to use while reading, keeping you focused on sobriety without access to triggers. Many libraries maintain book clubs or host academic speakers as well, providing intellectually stimulating activities in a sober environment.
Take Fitness Classes
Exercise is good for your mind, body, and spirit, working your muscles, improving energy levels, and even promoting healthier sleeping habits. If you’re feeling tired, stressed, or anxious, a fitness class can be an excellent way to burn off energy while engaging in substance-free fun. Offered through gyms and community centers, these classes are available in dozens of forms, from CrossFit to hip hop dancing. Find an activity suitable for your fitness level and interests, and see what your body can accomplish.
Take Online Courses
Education goes far beyond classroom learning, especially with the internet at your disposal. With resources like Coursera, EdX, ALISON, and MIT OpenCourseWare, it’s possible to learn pretty much anything from the comfort of your living room. While some classes may cost a nominal fee, plenty are available for free, allowing you to enhance career prospects or simply feed curiosities without a major investment. Courses range from personal interest topics, like knitting or cooking, to complex scientific or financial subjects, making it easy to explore any topic that meets your fancy.
Many charities and non-profit organizations rely heavily on volunteers to maintain operations, providing a time-consuming and rewarding way to get involved in your local community. Countless organizations require volunteers, from faith-based institutions to local landmarks, allowing you to find a topic, service, or destination you are passionate about. Volunteering is often on an as-needed or as-desired basis so your investment can be as minimal or as substantial as you would like. Further, tasks range from paperwork to fundraising and everything in between, giving you a way to play to your strengths.
Learn an Instrument
Music plays a huge role in modern life, from the radio to movie soundtracks to streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora. If you love music, learning to make your own can be a worthy use of your time. Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, it’s never too late to learn. Look at university or school programs for tips or classes for beginners, or to get in touch with private teachers. Picking up skills may not be easy, but the hard work and dedication that go into success can be deeply satisfying. As you improve, you may even be able to join local ensembles or groups to hone your skills and bond with other budding musicians.
Refine Your Cooking Skills
Cooking is a passion for many people, combining a love for flavor with results you can both see and enjoy. While most people know the basics of sauteéing, boiling water, grilling, and baking, the technical skills that go into masterful cooking can be a true challenge to learn. Choose new cuisines, like Indian or Chinese, or a challenging dish you’ve always wanted to try, like beef Wellington or soufflé, and continuing honing your craft until each detail is perfect. Cooking is also a wonderful skill to share with others, providing a way to bond and engage with the people you love.
Plant a Garden
If you have a yard, gardening can offer many rewards to your life. Creating a natural, living experience that takes time and effort to cultivate, your garden can improve home aesthetics, add beauty to your life, and even provide a sustainable source of fruits and vegetables to enjoy. Gardens can contain any plant you’d like, provided it grows well in your region, offering a great way for you to flex your creative muscles and channel energy into a rewarding outlet. Whether you’re a fan of sunflowers or live for fresh tomatoes, your garden can yield the literal fruits of your labors.
Paving a sober path for yourself in a world that seems dominated by substance abuse can be hard, but turning over a new leaf gives you a perfect opportunity to try something different. Virtually any activity can be enjoyed without alcohol or drugs, and it’s up to you to find your best fit. With so many possibilities to have fun and maintain abstinence, you may be surprised by what you learn!
If you are struggling with addiction, the Outpatient Treatment Center can help. As a kind, compassionate, and non-judgmental resource for addiction recovery, we are here to support you from start to finish. Please call (844) 211-7944 to speak to a member of our intake admissions team. All consultations are fully confidential.