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?
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9 thoughts on “The Willingness To Try Something Different”
Thanks for sharing this. It’s encouraging to me, as I just celebrated five years sober, but I’m sort of in hiding right now. I guess you’d called it Survival Mode (due to some things out of my control and a lot of things that I’ve just allowed to happen). The idea of doing anything new is terrifying. Hopefully, as things settle back into a routine, I’ll be more open to things.
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I know it’s hard. Just don’t lose hope and stay sober. Hang in there friend!
Thank you. ❤
I think that another thing that contributes to us feeling like non-drinking activities are boring is Society’s (and previously our) perception is exactly that. So we are expecting it to be that way. The other challenge is finding things to do sans alcohol, and people who opt to do them rather than the standard leisure-time-is-drinking-time perspective. I also attended an amazing concert sober and am on the hunt for people and things to do that aren’t centered on drinking. Thanks for this post!
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Thank you for your comment! I think you’re right! Those alcohol commercials sure make it look exciting! But then again a sober concert was so much better than when I was drinking. It’s the perception of fun that alcohol gives us but it’s not the reality!
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Thanks for this. I’m contemplating quitting drinking and really struggling, TERRIFIED that the social life will never be the same. Ways to meet-up and socialize with people where drinking is not the only thing it revolves around, are the way forward but also hard to find.
On the topic of the post, pushing comfort zone and trying something new, never regretted taking up salsa classes (trouble is, can’t persuade my friends to). What do you do if your friends are in that rut where they do nothing extra-curricular but meet-up in bars and drink? A lot of the situations that occur in bars can be done sober, like group conversations, meeting new people. I get the impression that (in England, especially among the working class) people who’re out of school and college get no practice with these situations sober & their only unstructured recreational socialising is restricted to SETTINGS where drinking is involved, if not, the FOCUS.
12-step groups organize dances and other activities? I’ll investigate in my area.
For my drinking, it’s loneliness & long evenings+my only social revolving around bars (horrible scary unpleasant environments to be in) that’s a major barrier to quitting.
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I feel your pain for sure but being on the otherside now I can’t belive I spent so much time in bars and other drinking places. I did find lots of connections through the 12-step program and I can tell you all my friends are now sober people. There are different events too so check it out. This takes some time to adjust to but fun is way more fun now becahse I am actually enjoying want I am doing not drinking to make it seem like I am enjoying what I am doing!
When we were all kids we didn’t need diluted poison to enjoy social occasions?
Problem-drinking is learned. There is definitely hope. I love drinking but equally HATE it & want to escape it. America and Europe are too alco-centric. People who think ‘being able to hold your drink’ is big (being able to function whilst being poisoned & one-up the guy next to you, yeah right, great friend-making strategy) is a bit like people who think swimming whilst holding a float or having arm-bands is is big.
It will take time to adjust, but it’s do-able. A lot of my problem-drinking take place alone. Still, I replied because of a) a lot of the nonsense you see in English town centres on Saturday nights I think is a factor that makes people want it (scary & horrible) & b) too many people lack informal ways of socialising outside of drinking-focused settings (getting-drunk-focused). It’s a serious public health issue and a loneliness issue. It’s something I fee passionate about.
Reblogged this on Bet Free Recovery Now. Sharing Recovery, Hope, and Support. and commented:
I have followed Magz for sometime when my blog was “Gambling Recovery Starts Now” as, toward the end of my gambling addiction, I began to abuse alcohol. So I don’t DO EITHER. Magz shares so much HOPE as she shares he Sobriety!! Love Ya Magz!!