When someone enters into recovery, it’s easy for them to romanticize or glorify their lives before they got sober. It’s quite common for addicts in recovery to describe the loss of identity they feel without drugs or alcohol in their lives. Many people feel like drinking and drugging gave them an edge and helped them feel more social or just generally more uninhibited.
All of the above is understandable if getting drunk or high is the only way someone has ever known how to have fun. But, at the end of the day, there’s absolutely zero freedom in this line of thinking. Assuming that one needs a drink or a drug to have a good time makes them a slave to their substance of choice. When that idea is successfully challenged, life becomes full of beautiful surprises.
There’s no denying that the early days of recovery are going to be challenging. And, depending on the severity of addiction, the substance of choice, and the person’s physical constitution, the withdrawal period may be very uncomfortable. But, once one gets past this initial period, it’s time to explore what life can be all about sans drugs and alcohol.
Here are some ways to have a blast in recovery:
Get active. If you’re not particularly sporty, you may just find a new side of yourself in recovery. The cool thing about being active is that you get a brilliant endorphin kick that, dare we say, completely rivals drugs or alcohol in the sense that it totally outlasts a good drunk or a high. Plus, it doesn’t end in a hangover and heavy consequences!
Getting active might mean hitting up the gym, but it could also mean going for a run up in the hills if you live near some cool hiking trails. Or, you could just go for a brisk walk on the beach, or a surf, or a rollerblade (yes, rollerblades are totally making a comeback. So are roller skates, so put on some KC and the Sunshine Band and hit it!).
Get creative. If you think painting is just for kids then you haven’t tried painting sober. Head to your local art supply store, pick up a canvas and some acrylics, put on a beret, and channel your best Monet. You don’t have to produce a masterpiece, just have fun making a colorful mess.
Maybe you play an instrument that you haven’t picked up in ages, or perhaps you’d like to learn to play one? What’s stopping you? Or, let your Julia Child out and bake an apple pie!
There are so many ways to be creative. Find something that appeals to you and just get started. The great thing about letting your creative juices flow is that the simple act of being creative interplays with serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. These are three neurotransmitters in the body that are responsible for making you feel good, just like drugs and alcohol, but in a MUCH healthier way. Once again, these are hangover-free activities and they’ll make you feel good over the long term. What’s not to love?
Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Who doesn’t enjoy the therapeutic and unconditional love of an animal? Volunteering at an animal shelter gives you the opportunity to make some furry new friends but without the responsibility of having a pet.
Whether you walk dogs a few days a week or open up your space to foster pets who are looking for new homes, volunteering with animals is another great way to do something that feels good…without drugs and alcohol!
Have a spa day. Get your hair done, get a mani-pedi, have a luxurious massage, or sit and have a good steam…or all of the above! Pretty much no one feels worse than they did before after spending the day at the spa getting pampered. It’s the best natural high there is.
Go to a comedy club. Want to know how to achieve another epic natural high? Laugh out loud…for two hours straight! Stand-up comedy nights are underrated, but they’re so accessible and so much fun. Of course, if you think you might be triggered by the fact that there’s alcohol served at the club, you may want to wait until you have a little more recovery time up before doing the comedy club thing. But, when you’re ready, it’s one of the coolest things to do sober in our humble opinion. Or, get a bunch of your sober compadres together and make it a group date! It’s a lot easier to enjoy a table full of soda water when you’re in the company of a sober crew.
Go to the movies. Watching a film in the theater is another underrated activity that people don’t do enough of, thanks to the rise in TV films a la Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV+. Don’t get us wrong, streaming films at home is awesome, but there’s no replacement for the big screen, movie theater popcorn, and surround sound. It’s always a great experience, and because you’re sober, you’ll probably remember the film, too. This is always a bonus.
We’ve only just scratched the surface here, but once you’ve been in recovery for a little while, we think you’ll find that there’s more fun to be had sober than you ever had in active addiction. Oh yeah, and you’ll have plenty of extra cash to do all these things because you’re not spending all your cash on booze and drugs. How cool is this? People don’t always have this attitude right away, but over time and once the fog of active addiction starts to clear, life just gets bigger and better in ways that we often can’t even imagine. Doing things like traveling, dancing, going out to fancy dinners, and simply hanging out at home with the family is so much more meaningful when we’re fully present.
Recovery is not a death sentence. Far from it, in fact. Just give it a chance. It will change your life over the long term if you stick with it, and it will do so in the biggest and most beautiful way.
Kembali Recovery Center is here for you
If you’re ready to take the first step toward your recovery, Kembali Recovery Center is here to help. Contact us today to learn about our offerings.