Often, in early sobriety life may feel sort of dull, boring and absolutely blah at times. Alcohol seemed to have had a powerful effect on creating things superficially exciting for us. Sometimes alcohol gave us the invigorating reward feeling for living this super hard life. Many of us had romantic thoughts about the glamorous drinking days, and how everything felt so spontaneous and exciting when we were drinking. Once drinking is no longer a part of life, it may take some time for the fun activities to have the same exhilarating effect.
This can be one of the hardest parts of the changes in sobriety. In fact, it was so hard for me that I was clinging to it for many years!
Unfortunately, my need for a return to thrill-seeking and escape had often led me right back to drinking. I attempted to hang out at bars, go to parties and other drinking events and not drink. This proved to be extremely hard because cravings are physical pains, and brutal on the psyche. However, it was just what I needed to finally realize that I could no longer be a part of that lifestyle if I wanted to get and stay sober. When I finally decided that this was it and I was quitting, I had to come to terms with the end of that way of life.
Recovery is not meant to be the end of all fun, or adventure, or thrill-seeking, however, it does require more effort to integrate not drinking into those activities especially since we are so used to doing everything while drinking. It also means doing new things, getting out of the comfort zone and opening the doors to the willingness to try something different!
In the beginning, I just had to stop and not be involved. That meant parties, bars, concerts, wine festivals, and beer tastings and such, were out! Then I had to start integrating activities where drinking was not the main attraction.
I started going to museums and art galleries and visited places that I have never been to. I also watched a lot of educational TV like the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel; it opened a whole new world of knowledge to me.
I also found that being part of a 12 step program allowed me to socialize with other sober people. Most groups organize numerous events like movie nights, picnics and dances. When you meet other sober people you will also be able to get even more ideas from them! If you are interested in becoming a part of a 12 step program please visit their webpage and look for meetings and events in your area.
Other options may be taking a fitness class or a painting class. There are also activities you might try like the Photo a The Day challenges, like this one at FatMumSlim. I know, I know… all these may seem a bit boring or somewhat intimidating, but once you start doing few things you will find that the excitement will return and you will keep finding new interests things to do which do not involve drinking!
Believe me, the enjoyable activities will once again have an exciting effect and maybe even be more exciting because the enthusiasm will be all-natural! I remember my first sober concert and it was amazing. I had a blast and it was even more exciting than I have imagined.
The process of integrating these none-drinking activities into sobriety may take some time and practice, and eventually, you may feel comfortable enough with going to a party, or a bar for a special occasion, or a concert! But give yourself the best chance of sustaining your sobriety by being willing to try new things that do not include drinking!
What sober activities do you enjoy?
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)*, please check out the Sober Courage menu at the top of this page for an extensive list of support groups and recovery related articles.
*Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD. AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using (Ref: NIAAA).