If you’re newly sober and you’re starting to feel bored or unsure of what to do in your free time, chances are you’re not alone. This is common for those who have recently found recovery and can often make you feel lonely or confused. You might think ‘I’m sober, I’m doing the right thing – so why don’t I have anything fun to do?’ It’s a valid question to ask, and one that we hope to offer insight.
In recovery or in treatment, you’re doing something new. You’re not using. You’re examining your life in a new way. You’re changing old behaviors. This is a big deal – and an exciting one. It makes sense that in all of this ‘new-ness,’ the interaction with your former social life would be altered.
Take it step-by-step, but in this new season of your life and recovery journey, don’t be afraid to try new things or take a risk. Remember, recovery can be positively enhanced by new people, places and things.
The first step when trying new things is putting yourself in situations that are new – but healthy. This could include recovery meetings like AA/NA, Celebrate Recovery, Smart Recovery and more. Even if you’re weary of going, just try one. More often than not, you’ll find what you need there or will meet someone who could become a lifelong recovery friend. There is a myth that people in recovery don’t have fun, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you surround yourself with others who are in recovery, here is what you’re likely to find: a lot of gratitude, wisdom, stories and tons of laughter.
Beyond meetings, get creative with your personal time. Start working out, take a class and learn something you’ve always been interested in, or even start volunteering. Activities like these will help build you in a holistic way – it will make you better, it will center you, and you’ll probably learn a lot that will enrich your life and this new season in recovery.
But then there are the times that you just want to let loose and have fun. With your sober friends, get creative! Go to the movies, go to an arcade (and play laser tag!), go bowling, or even find a new hangout spot. Replace the bar scene with a scenic overlook, a coffee shop, or even someone’s house. Start to claim the fun in recovery and make it work for you.
The only things that are off limits in recovery are the people, places and things that will trigger you to use. Over time, you will get stronger and it may become easier to be in more diverse situations. But in early recovery, stick with the new. Instead of thinking about all of the places you can’t go or the people you can’t be around, replace those thoughts and get excited. Be excited and anticipate all of the things you’ll learn and new experiences you’ll have now that you’re in recovery.
There are endless possibilities of ways to have fun. You just need to get creative, take a risk and be willing to learn.