It was the partying and bars that helped bring you to this point. After years of self-destructive behavior, failed relationships, and even some run-ins with the law, you’ve finally managed to walk that straight edge. You’re clean and sober, and you have every reason to want to keep that going.
But you also deserve friends, fun, and the rest that comes with having some kind of social life. That can be tough when you’re recovering from addiction. Society as a whole is not designed to be supportive to those in recovery. But without social interactions and good times, the resulting depression and loneliness can trigger a relapse.
To help, Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net shares some tips for staying clean and sober while going out and having fun.
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Finding The Right Activities
One of the keys to staying sober while going out for fun activities is picking the right ones. This takes some of your history into account. If you spent way too much time in your previous years in dive bars, heading to hear a band at one might not be the best idea. Here are some activities that help support you in your addiction recovery.
- Play some games: This doesn’t mean sitting alone on a couch playing video games. You need social activities. Instead, get some friends together for board games. Bring a pack of cards to a restaurant and play there. And yes, video games with a bunch of friends in the room does count.
- Go see some live sports: Sports loyalties bring out a passion from their fans. Even if you barely know people, you can quickly bond over a game. But instead of hitting the bar scene, go see the game live. Professional leagues can be expensive, but minor leagues can be even more fun.
- Join a local league or sports club: Speaking of sports, you can have a social life by joining a local league or amateur sports club. Many adults get together on weekends to play some football, basketball, and more.
- Check your local library and park district: You’d be surprised how many social activities are now being offered by your hometown’s library and park district. Visit their website and look to see what clubs, events, and happenings you can attend.
- Reconnect with former friends: If you lost touch with friends along the way, rekindling old friendships can be a healthy way to heal and move forward in your sobriety journey. If you have trouble finding old classmates, try a site like ClassFinders, which makes it easy to track down school friends by graduation date and alma mater.
Going Along With The Group
You can’t be that person who’s always telling the group where they need to go. Sometimes, you’ll have to head with your friends to some place that can challenge your sobriety. It’s not inevitable, but it is something you can handle.
First, explain to your friends why certain activities are just not for you. There’s a difference between going to a restaurant that serves alcohol and a dive bar that serves nothing but cheap booze. Your friends will understand.
Once out, a big way to stay sober is to change your focus. Instead of thinking about how you can’t enjoy a few drinks, focus instead on how you can mingle, talk to people, eat great food, that sort of thing. In other words, give your mind something positive to think about.
Just make sure you have an exit plan. Hanging out at a club can be great, but what happens when you suddenly realize everyone around you is high? You need to know when to leave. But you also need to know how.
A Sober Companion Can Save You
When you’re out and about, having a close friend who can leave with you can be a lifesaver. Suddenly leaving a club or house party is embarrassing, but it’s less so when someone is heading out with you. Find a friend that you can depend on like that, and be sure to make it up to them if you have to leave early.
It’s not always easy living the sober life. You’ve already made many big changes to your lifestyle, and more are probably on their way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a social life. Just pick your activities carefully, focus on something fun and sobering, and make sure you have an exit plan.