Sobriety is a lot of work. You have to go to meetings and therapy. You have to work the steps. You have to try to make healthy lifestyle changes like eating better and exercising. On top of all that, you probably have the same work and family obligations you’ve always had. It’s important to include some time to relax every day, and it’s important to have fun. Sometimes these overlap, but not necessarily. Relaxation is rest, while fun is experiencing certain kinds of positive emotions. People often feel like sobriety is rewarding, but not necessarily fun. Here are some ways to have more fun sober.
Spend time with sober friends.
This is an underrated way to have fun. People often think of meetings as somber affairs. Sometimes they are, but there are lots of different kinds of groups. If you try some different meetings, you will likely find some people you get along with. You can have a lot more fun sober with the right sort of friends than you can drinking with whomever happens to be around. Meetings are a good place to meet new people, but they aren’t the only place. Picking up new hobbies puts you in contact with new people too. They will share at least some of your interests and you can get together to do things other than drink.
Get into a flow state.
A flow state is when you get totally absorbed in what you’re doing. You forget about time, and even yourself. In a flow state, the activity almost seems to perform itself. Some activities are better suited to this than others. You need something challenges you enough to require a lot of concentration but isn’t so challenging that you feel defeated. You also need some kind of feedback so you know when you’re doing it right. Anything that meets these criteria can be an opportunity for flow, even chores or work. Sports are excellent for flow, assuming the challenge level is about right. Music is good, especially playing with a group, as is art. It takes a little work to build the initial skill, but if you set yourself reasonable challenges, you can get into flow pretty quickly.
Reevaluate your idea of fun.
Often, when people say they don’t have fun sober, what they mean is that they don’t feel the way they did when they were drinking or using. Substances artificially increase pleasure, and sometimes there’s just no way to achieve the same effect naturally. Drugs and alcohol also let you temporarily forget about yourself. You don’t feel weighed down by your past, or inhibited. Children can have fun easily because they aren’t self-conscious and drugs and alcohol mimic that effect temporarily. You might think of drugs and alcohol as a really expensive cheat code. You can achieve the same effects for free if you just play the game. Spending time with people you like and finding moments of flow are different, healthier ways of becoming less self-conscious and free of your own mental baggage.
Castle Craig is one of the most established and respected addiction rehab centres in the UK. Castle Craig provides consulting psychiatrists who diagnose associated mental illnesses like anxiety states, depression, ADD, PTSD, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, and compulsive relationships. For information, call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 3732. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006 (normal charges apply).
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | January 29, 2020