Chances are your new social circle will include a lot of friends in recovery. Even if they’re not in recovery you need things to do that don’t involve drinking and clubbing, right? You need to find new things that won’t involve triggering your cravings or tempting you to relapse. Bars and clubs are only a small part of the things you need to replace when you start a sober lifestyle.
Experience the Arts
Attending a play or performance can be a great activity for a small group. You can hang out afterward and discuss the themes or performances. Maybe it will spark a little bit of the performer in yourself. If you’re a little stage shy, you may consider volunteering as a behind-the-scenes helper for your local theater troupe or you may go straight to auditioning for a starring role.
Why not go to the museum? Just make sure you don’t go to an opening of an installation because alcohol will almost certainly be served. Avoid that temptation! You can admire the art together or wonder where on earth they got that idea. Maybe you’re so inspired you decide to try making art yourself.
You can also go to the symphony or ballet. You may not be an expert but you don’t have to be to enjoy musical talent or seeing the intricate choreography of a dance performance. But be forewarned– if you’ve never been to the opera and seen a performance, you may have an unexpected response to the musical vibrations and find yourself in tears. (Think of Julia Roberts in the movie “Pretty Woman”).
Bringing Art Home
No, we don’t mean ripping that Rembrandt portrait off the museum wall. We mean finding a way to practice art in your own way. You may decide to have a day crafting together. If you have friends who are interested in knitting or quilting you can work together to create a piece that may be donated to an auction for a good cause.
Maybe the people in your circle love music for at least have some affinity. Make some music or even form a band. It doesn’t have to be good. What matters is that you enjoy it and you get to spend time with your sober friends. Be cheeky and give your band a name like The Non-alcoholics.
Try public workshops in jewelry-making, painting, or those studios that let you paint mugs and plates. You can use the products to commemorate someone’s date of sobriety or mark other milestones such as birthdays or anniversaries. You can also just create to have fun–no reason required.
A New Sports “Bar”
For a more “manly” group activity, try playing some tag football or basketball together. Even if you have some women in your circle of friends, you may find they’re a little better at sports than you are! Sports can create a sense of bonding and partnership among a group of friends and make you feel more supported with your struggles in recovery. Instead of going to a bar for your post-game celebration, try a smoothie shop or a nice coffee shop to sit down and relax with a non-alcoholic drink.
Getting Back to Nature
One of the most fun activities for a group can be camping together. By day, there are plenty of activities you can do together. You can take a hike, quite literally, or have a good cookout. When the sun goes down, light that big campfire and toast some marshmallows and make some s’mores. Because you’re in a sober group, no one can get by with bringing an alcoholic beverage into the mix. You don’t need to drink to have fun when you have all of Mother Nature all around you. Tell scary ghost stories and urban legends or go on a hunt for Bigfoot.
The most obvious activity for your group, if you are animal lovers, would be going to the zoo. There are other ways to enjoy our furry and feathered friends. Try going to one of those pet stores that have rooms where you can play with the animals. Get a bunch of puppies or kitties and just let them attack you with love. If you have a cat café in your town, try hanging out there for an afternoon or evening. But most of all, if you love animals that much, go to a shelter and adopt a pet. Adopting a pet dog or cat can give you something else to bond over, plus you’ll be saving an animal and giving them a good home. Take dog walks together. Share funny cat videos. Their unconditional love helps support you in recovery and keeps you from getting lonely.
Finding fun, alcohol-free group activities that you can do with your friends in recovery can be a challenge. You may have to modify some of the behaviors you previously engaged in such as going to the sports bar after a basketball game or going to a champagne-filled opening at an art gala. When searching for new, sober activities to do with friends, you might discover something that you want to explore more. Maybe you want to take piano lessons or take up canoeing and other outdoor sports. Doing an activity with friends relieves stress and produces more joy in your life. If you don’t know how therapeutic that can be in your recovery process, just try it. Plus you’ll get a deeper circle of friends to support you in staying sober and the other way around. It’s a win-win situation. Here at Everlast Recovery Center, we can help start you on the path to sobriety with detoxification and stabilization. You may find lifelong friends in our programs and the survival tools we give you can create a whole new sober lifestyle and healthy relationships. Call us for a healthy life at 866-DETOX-25