In some ways, the Pandemic made life very difficult for sober people to maintain their sober life. There have been no in-person meetings, no ability to maintain that “early-recovery lifestyle” that keeps you busy. In other ways, it simplified life because bars have been closed. There’s been nowhere to go and no one to socialize with but now things are opening up.

As life begins to start again and we find ourselves nearing summer, it might be tempting to engage in old activities. If there’s any chance they will lead to a relapse, think them through very carefully. The important thing about early recovery life is to create a livable sober life. If it’s no fun, why keep at it?

Surviving this new normal for sober life is one of the biggest challenges for people new to recovery. What do you do for fun now? What do you do, period?

You’ve gotten sober and it’s great—you’re making it work! But then you hit those long, empty sober weekends

Scared of that down time with nothing to do

Don’t worry. Boring is the new cool. Once you settle into some new activities, hobbies, communities, and whatever else you find in your sobriety, you will be fine. You will be better than fine. You will be healthy, happy, and satisfied. It does, however, take some time, experimentation, and practice to get there. So, let’s talk about what you can do in early recovery to actually enjoy your time.  

8 ways for surviving this new sober life

  1. A spa day at home—solo or with a friend. Wash your hair, do a mask… Easy self-care tasks that might just make you feel physically better. 
  2. Organize and clean out your closet and donate items. Yeah, not the most exciting thing in the world, but we’re just getting used to normal life and normal activities. 
  3. Call and catch up with family members or friends. Use Facetime or some other video call for a better sense of connection. 
  4. Stress-relieving coloring books can help pass time. 
  5. Movie night/bingeworthy shows.  
  6. Go to that meeting, yoga class, or any other activity that brings spirituality or recovery into your day and many are easier to get now that they’re on Zoom!
  7. Take care of the animals or family members who might need you (Pandemic-safe if necessary).
  8. Take a walk and listen to music. 

OK, congratulations! You’re not exactly in early sobriety anymore but you’re still in that in between stage where life doesn’t feel totally comfortable yet. Let’s go a little bigger with our activities and begin to explore long-term sober weekends. 

7 awesome activities

  1. Try Dreaming big. Tour real estate in the neighborhood you’d like to live. Spend a day living the life you strive to reach, and the positive feelings will help you hit your goals. Walk by the stores, look at the clothes, visualize your future.
  2. Be a tourist. drive to the nearest big city and be a tourist for a day, there are plenty of online guides of what to do in every city. (Pandemic safe please! Don’t visit hotspots or violate state orders!)
  3. Sit still, breathe, learn to meditate.
  4. Game night with friends or family. Traditional board games or maybe not. Video games and modern board games that are more detailed and fun. 
  5. Try a hobby from your adolescence. Try something that you may have given up. Guitar, drawing, etc.   
  6. Spend a day helping others and your community! Volunteering your time to help others gives you a purpose and makes it easier than ever to meet new friends. During this Pandemic time, you might be able to work with food pantry or somewhere your time and efforts are greatly needed.
  7. Call your local animal shelter to see if they’re open for volunteers and help out with animals that need attention.

Are you more advanced in your recovery, or just looking for sober activities that could challenge you a bit more? Here are some suggestions for really taking up some time: 

  1. Throw a sober dinner party or some other sober event where you can showcase your new cooking, entertaining, and sober skills. Socially distant if your area requires. 
  2. Take online classes! Check out your local YMCA, community college, or whatever else might suit your fancy.
  3. Study a language you’ve always wanted to learn. 
  4. Learn a new skill that interests you. Work with websites? Take a WordPress class. Want to build an app? They have programs to help you do that now. Have something you have always wanted to try? Now’s the time and YouTube can be good teacher.  
  5. Learn how to cook your favorite food or dessert.  
  6. Find an online community in something you’re interested in. Discord, Reddit, and Facebook all have groups to discuss your favorite things with people around the world.
  7. explore new podcasts, books, any source of information that interests you and can teach you a few things.

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Haley Laferney
Haley Laferney is the Graphic Designer at Reach Out Recovery and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design. She is also a gold and silver ADDY award winner.

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