Having Fun While Staying Sober: It’s All in the Planning
By Christa Banister
When you’re smack dab in the middle of a major life change like sobriety, a little planning can go a long, long way in staying on track. Before you ever find yourself in a situation where there may be temptation to slip back into old habits, it’s helpful to have a few dates already circled on the calendar with something fun planned — something to look forward to.
But what about the days when absolutely nothing fun springs to mind? Well, that’s where we come in. There’s so much to do, explore and experience that doesn’t involve alcohol, so why not give one (or several) of these suggestions a try, and then tuck a few away for the proverbial rainy day so you’ll be ready for anything?
If your friends and family are out of town and you’re flying solo, the time alone can be a good thing, therapeutic even. It helps, too, if you’ve got a few ideas to fall back on to alleviate any potential boredom.
We’re all busy, so this may be the time for a good, long bath with candles and chill-out music. Maybe you find a great deal on Groupon and go to a spa for an extended day of pampering. Maybe you go and have your hair blown out straight or try a new cut or get some highlights to switch things up.
If beautification and serenity are a little too low impact, maybe today’s the day you give Zumba a try. Or yoga. Or rock climbing. If you’re a nature lover, put on some SPF and go for a hike — it doesn’t even have to be a long one. Breathe deeply and take in your surroundings, and if you have a dog, be sure to bring him along for the fun. Up the drama by planning your outing to catch a scenic sunrise or sunset.
Maybe you haven’t taken a vacation in a while, but flying somewhere isn’t practical. So why not be a tourist in your own town? Or drive somewhere cool that’s close by? Check out a museum. Look for quirky shops or experience a new neighborhood you rarely visit. Try the restaurant you’ve been reading about on Yelp. Or if you don’t like eating by yourself, take it to go and queue up a new Netflix series. If you’ve bookmarked a bunch of recipes, give one a try. If you’re baking something yummy, consider sharing with a neighbor. They will love you forever, and you’ll feel good.
Speaking of which, doing something good for someone else is always a great way to spend the day. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Help someone move. Go to a local march or campaign for a candidate you support. Write your loved ones a letter, which never goes unappreciated in the era of email and Facebook messaging. Clean out your closet and donate the things you say you’re going to wear someday but never actually will. Plant a tree, plant flowers, plant some fresh herbs to make your meals all the tastier.
And if none of those float your boat, you can always take a nap, one of the single best activities ever. Plan a future vacation. Call your mom. Write in your journal. Listen to a podcast. The options really are endless.
Fun With Friends
Almost all of the activities mentioned above will work with a friend, too, but for a little more inspiration, consider the following:
Kick it old school and play a board game. Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, Parcheesi — it’s a fun blast from the past.Learn a language. Brush up on your high school Spanish. Learn French. Study German. Then plan a trip to test out your new skills.
Get Social. Host a monthly book club or supper club. Have a regular movie night with pals. Go and paint pottery. Paint a landscape. Join a bowling league. Give fantasy football a try. Enjoy a laugh while you play mini golf. Get crafty and learn how to decoupage or make jewelry.
Start a Side Project. Try an improv class. Join a screenwriting, poetry or writers group. Train for a half marathon. Try woodworking. Learn to make fresh pasta at a cooking class. Take dance lessons. Learn to box.
Now’s the time to try something you’ve always wanted to do. After all, what’s stopping you?