If you’re newly sober and are starting to feel bored or unsure of what to do in your free time, chances are you’re not alone. This is a common feeling for those who are new to recovery, and the feeling can 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 is worth finding an answer to.
In recovery or 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,’ your former social life, or even your hobbies, would change.
So take it step-by-step.
In this new season of your life and recovery journey, don’t be afraid to try new things or take a risk. New people, places and things can really help as you acclimate to a new, sober life.
Here are a few ways to branch out and add new activities to your recovery:
- Try new situations.
The first step 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 to strengthen your recovery, or you'll 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. But it all starts with putting yourself out there and just trying it.
- Get creative with your personal time.
Beyond meetings, get creative with your personal time. Start working out, take a class, start a new book series, start volunteering or learn something you’ve always been interested in. Activities like these will help build you up in a holistic way – they'll make you better, will center you, and will help you learn new things to enrich your life and this new season in recovery.
- Have fun.
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 will get easier to be in more diverse situations. But in early recovery, stick with the new and branch out. 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.
Recovery is fun!