Fun in Sobriety – Top 10 Ways and More
Fun in sobriety can sometimes feel like an impossibility. However, with a little imagination, positive support from friends and family, there are countless ways that you can have fun while sober. After all, we’re not a glum lot! After a decade of sobriety, activities that don’t involve alcohol have become commonplace for me, but I still remember the struggle it was in the early days of my journey. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to provide you my top ten list and then some! Use this whenever you’re stuck, or just need some creative new ideas.
10 Ways to Have Fun in Sobriety
- Have a Dessert Party
- Find a New & Unique Work Out
- Backyard BBQ’s
- Volunteer & Give Back
- Start A Business
- Do something sweet for your parents
- Run or Walk a 5K
- Send Thank You Notes
- Do A Full Body Cleanse
- Airport Picnic
- Take a Class at a Community College
- These 10 Ways to have fun in sobriety will keep you happy throughout your journey
1. Have a dessert party
Instead of having the typical happy hour that involves booze and shenanigans, invite friends over for a dessert party, an ice cream social, a sugar party. I love getting out my blender and making home-made Blizzards. I provide several different kinds of ice cream and ask my guests to bring their favorite ice cream topping and mix-in. Think: Reeces, Oreo, Rolos, Heath Bars, M&M’s (all varieties – have you had the caramel ones yet – OMG), Strawberries and don’t forget the gummy worms. Some of my favorite memories and conversations nowadays, happen over ice cream.
2. Try a fun new work out
Think Yoga, Pilates, Barre, and Crossfit. There are so many workout classes to choose from. There is a new gym popping up on every corner. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. One of these new classes could be your next healthy ‘addiction’. I became obsessed with Crossfit when I first got sober. I joined the gym, met some really cool and healthy people. I was working out all the time, my body started to transform, I felt amazing and I was keeping busy. If a more calm and peaceful experience is your thing – hit a hot yoga studio and sweat.
3. Backyard BBQ’s
Invite your new sober friends over. Introduce your new sober buddies to your wife, husband, partner and show your personal side to your new friends. When the weather is nice, there is no better place to be than outside on your deck. I learned how to grill by doing simple hamburgers and brats. These are a great starter and who doesn’t love a backyard burger.
4. Volunteer & Give Back
I woke up 60 days after being sober and realized how much time I know had on my hands. I wasn’t sleeping off my hangovers every weekend morning anymore. I was up early and had this renewed sense of life. I wanted to do something more.. So I became a Big Brother with The Big Brothers Big Sisters program 3 months after I got sober. It introduced me to a whole new level of gratitude and 9 years later, my ‘little brother’ and I still are good friends. Do something good for your community. You have a second chance at life now – don’t forget that. Remember to have fun in sobriety, you can also make it about others.
5. Start a business
There are SO many ways to have fun and make money by doing things you like. Make something, Use your hands, Open an Etsy shop, start selling things on Amazon, Clean your house out and sell things on Ebay. Find ways to earn extra income in your spare time. I started a promotions business and started putting logos on branded merchandise for a few friends of mine. I turned it in to a full time job.
6. Do something sweet for your parents
You’ve put your parents through so much drama and anxiety when you were getting drunk and using. Now that you are sober, show them your genuine appreciation and gratitude for them. Take them out to dinner, take them flowers, help your dad in the yard, sit on the back patio with your mom and talk about your new life and sobriety and let her know you are sorry for all the hard times you caused.
7. Run a 5K, Half marathon or marathon
You can run, walk or crawl – the point is: s get out of your comfort zone, find a 5K and cause that is near to your heart, sign up and start training. The training for these events takes months and will keep you focused on an incredible goal. I did a 5K about a year after getting sober. It was my first one ever, it was challenging and exhilarating all at the same time. Almost a new found healthy ‘high’
8. Send Thank You Notes
I read a book about the power of sending personal thank you notes and the profound effect it has the recipient. I made a list of the countless people in my life that have helped me. Teachers, mentors, old bosses, colleagues and old friends were at the top. There are hundreds of people in your life that have helped you, have shaped you and have made some positive influence on your life. Make this list and send a personal thank you note to each of those people, each week. Expect nothing back, but a feel good for yourself, and the thought that you are making someone’s day.
9. Do a full body cleanse
There are so many fad diets out there right now. I’m not condoning one or another or even jumping on the fad. I’m suggesting cleaning your body out from the inside. Do a juice cleanse, do a detox, stop eating gluten for a month. I stopped eating gluten and dairy for 60 days and lost 12 pounds. Everyone said I looked like a new man. My wife (not an alcoholic but a health nut) did this and lost 25 pounds. You’re not poisoning your body these days with alcohol and drugs. Your new baseline is healthy and clean. This is a great way to jumpstart your metabolism. You can find great detoxes and cleanses online and this can be a pretty fun way to do early sobriety.
10. Airport Picnic
Any kind of picnic outside is great. I prefer the Wayne’s World style – Park your car under the runaway of an airport (get as close as you can), sit on the hood of the car or the back of the truck and watch the planes take off and land. Imagine where those planes are going, imagine being on one of those planes. Take a date with you for this and talk about all the places you’ve been, where your addiction has taken you, where it has you now and where you want to go with it. Your date will be so impressed with this -you might not make it back home out of your back seat.
11. Take a Class at a Community College
Your local community college offers a ton of professional development classes for the general population to take. Pick a new hobby that you want to learn and play with. I took a stock market class and learned a little bit about trading stocks. I also took a beekeeping class. I became an official beekeeper, I have the suit, the hives and the queens… One year my bees made 23 gallons of honey. No joke! I couldn’t think of a better and more unique way of having fun sober.
Because ten ideas will only take you so far, I’ve done the hard work for you and created another 65 ways to have fun while being sober!
Check out these other unique and fun things to do in sobriety
Take a new class
Explore your inner artist, find your creative niche. Painting, drawing, blogging, and journaling are just a few.
Get active and outdoors like a mutha.
Journal your thoughts and feelings
This is a great way to help you meditate and prayer. Some mornings you’ll wake up and it’ll be rough – this is a good time to write your feelings down. Why do you like being sober? Why do you hate being sober? What do you wish for your life? Anything goes on this on.
Dinners and Dives
Visit dive restaurants and eat a greasy ass cheeseburger, and if they fry pickles and cheese – order an extra helping.
Gourmet (high brow) restaurants
Try the most expensive restaurant in your city and it’ll still be cheaper than before because you won’t be drinking.
What kind of books do you like, what stories interest you? Find them on Amazon and go to town. Shoot for a goal to read a new book every 2 months. Having fun in sobriety can be as easy as reading a book.
Nap – take lots of these
20 minute ones during the work day, 45 minutes ones on Saturday and Sunday. These will leave you feeling so refreshed and ready for more of the day.
Pay it foward
Go to Starbucks or Chic-Fil A and buy the person’s meal or coffee behind you in the drive through… This is one of my favorite things to do. You’ll never know the person behind you and it’s a true act of kindness that you don’t expect anything in return.
Getting closer to your Higher Power. Getting closer to God has changed my life in ways I could only dream of.
Make a top 10 list
Of things you want to do in the city now that you are sober. Visit the local coffee roasterie, spend time at the museum, go check out the new exhibit at the space center, the zoo, the aquarium ect.
Sober game night
With your new sober buddies. Everyone brings over chips, dips and their favorite new ‘drink’.. Sober Cards would be a great addition for these sober parties.
Take deep breaths and take in the sounds and scenery. Do this often, several times a day. It will help you catch your breath in the moment and be present – sober. You are not in a hurry any more, you don’t have to worry about being at the next party
Go to church
Pop in to the back of a church and admire it’s beauty and say a prayer for a loved one.
Reconnect with old friends
Maybe an amends is due to them, maybe not. But a coffee date with an old friend is sure to help.
Have you always wanted to fly fish, collect coins, read a book on your favorite actor? Do it now. You’re not laying around all day hungover anymore. You finally have extra time to start something new. Have fun while being sober, start a new hobby.
Do you have kids?
If so, spend MORE time with them. Coach their sports teams, take them on drives, take them for walks.
If you don’t have kids
Volunteer to help kids in need. Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Junior Achievement are just a few to get you started.
Go to a concert, sober. This can actually be a ton of fun. Watch all the people around you having fun, Do NOT judge them, you used to be a drunk idiot too. Be grateful that you are not like that anymore. Warning: Do not do this right away after getting sober. It could be a trigger.
Picnics in the park
These are an old fashioned way of having fun while sober. Pick up a sandwich at your favorite sub shop, get a blanket and go to a park where you can be alone or bring your favorite friend. Eat and lay on the blanket and watch the clouds float by.
Throw yourself back into your job. Take on additional responsibilities, let your boss know that you are trying to live a better life and you want to be the best version of yourself. See if there is an opportunity to make more money. Align yourself for the next promotion. If you don’t think this is a true way to have fun in sobriety – wait till the new money starts rolling in.
All of my best friends are sober. It took awhile to find these guys, but once I did, my life changed dramatically. We go out to dinner after every AA meeting, we do breakfast each week, and I meet randomly for coffee with my sober friends. This happened for me because I was told to stick around after the meetings and talk to people. As awkward as it first was – this saved my life. Stay in front of and on this.
Pick a spot that you’ve always wanted to visit that’s within driving distance. Take a Friday off work and head out. Find a cheap hotel room along the way and take a lot of random pictures.
Visit memory lane
Go back to your old high school and sit in the parking lot and reminisce about when you were a teenager. Maybe your heavy drinking started in high school. Think about how far you have come and the things you would have changed or wouldn’t have changed. Smile at the fact that you are sober now and still alive.
Surprise a friend
Clean out your garage
This is symbolic to cleaning out your life. Now that you are sober, go in and get rid of the junk that has been piling up all those years. Make one bucket for trash, another for donations and the last one for things to sell.
Hire a personal trainer
First thing I did after I got out of treatment was join a gym and hire a personal trainer to show me around the weights. It changed my life. This was the first start of having fun in sobriety.
Movies are your friend
Invite a friend to see a movie, or go by yourself and sit in the back. Go to an independent movie theater and watch an indy film. Or go to one of those new fancy movie theaters with the food and the servers. Something new and unique to do in sobriety.
Find a new sugar sweet that fills the void of alcohol. There is this place I love called Miami Ice. It’s flavored shaved ice on top of vanilla custard. I could eat a dozen of them at a time. Disclaimer – it doesn’t help there was a Dairy Queen across the street from the treatment facility I was in for 30 days.
Netflix and TV Series
Find a new show that you can get in to and follow. I love Ray Donovan, Billions and The Bachelor – yep that’s right, I said The Bachelor. You got a problem with that?!!
Join a board
There are countless non profits out there that could use your help and experience. You are a recovering, grateful alcoholic that has a unique perspective on life. Find an organization that could use you and this could open up a completely different way of having fun in sobriety.
Get that old bike out of the garage. If you don’t have one, FB marketplace or Ebay is a good place to start. Go for a long bike ride on a Saturday and get lost. Bring a few dollars and pop in to get a Gatorade when you need it. Explore the city on wheels.
Do you like to putz around in the kitchen and haven’t ever had the time to? Create a new dish. Go to Delish or Food Network for step by step unique recipes… Get your house to smell like a gourmet kitchen…invite a few friends over. Show your new friends that you know how to have fun sober.
I have become a big BBQ grill master. I bought a smoker and love to grill and smoke on the weekends. I’ve grown to love Saturday early mornings. I put a big chunk of meat on the grill and babysit it for hours… Sitting on my back porch admiring everything that is my clean and happy life. I experiment with rubs and sauces and find some great impressive recipes.
Build a mini garden.
If you are a big outdoorsy type, then this is for you. There are a ton of how-to guides on line. You can grow your own veggies with so much ease and simplicity and the yield is incredible, especially for tomatoes and cucumbers. If you are more of a flower type of person – create a wonder scope of colors in your back yard.
Write a gratitude list
If you don’t know how to write one – reference this: How to Write a Gratitude List. You have SO much to be thankful for, and one big one is now you are having fun sober.
Try new restaurants and unique food
Your tastebuds should be on fire these days. Not strung out with the dull taste of vodka, cigs and cocaine. When regular food touches your tongue – you should be sent in to orbit with excitement. Try new and unique food. For instance, I am NOT a fish lover. I do not like sushi.. However, I do like to try new restaurants and pick new items on the menu that are outside of the ‘meat and potatoes’ box. I eat shrimp now, it’s new and it’s different for me.
Write a book
Everyone ‘s an author and ‘expert’ now. You are an expert on your own story. It might be a story that could help someone get sober. Write down your thoughts, feelings, the events that changed your life…there are many ways to get it published and featured on Amazon.
Call an old friend and say hi.
If calling is not your thing, send a text to an old friend and tell them you miss them. See what dialogue you’ll create
Putt putt golf, laser tag, paintball, golfing, driving range, tennis and pickle-ball are all the fun events that can include a few other friends. No matter what city you live in, there are plenty of places to find these fun and unique things to do in sobriety.
Send a care package to an old friend. Full of old memories and pictures.
Set new goals for yourself
Buy a big dry-erase board and keep it somewhere where you see everyday. Track your new goals. Could be personal, romantic, financial, professional – everything plays in to your new sober life.
I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon. These are SO good and they are not just for women. I love taking an afternoon and getting a 90 minute massage done. I also like a good warm facial every once in awhile. You can spend 4 hours at a local day spa and spend less than $200 on the most relaxing services for your body. It’s OK to take body breaks and refuel.
Eat healthy for 30 days
Cut out dairy, gluten, sugar and all processed foods. Eat only veggies, fruit and light meat: ie chicken and fish. See what happens to mind and your body. Inflammation goes down and you start to think clearer. You sleep better and you look better.
Listen to a new podcast
Everyone has a podcast these days. Find a topic you are interested in and go in deep.
Go to a baseball game
Every city has at least a minor league team. These guys play hundreds of games a year, so it’s very inexpensive to get a good seat at the ballpark. Pick a really nice day for an afternoon out, or a nice evening when the temperature is just right. Get yourself a ballpark dog, a frozen lemonade and some peanuts… What a fun night to be sober.
Buy your sober friend a gift
There are so many unique sobriety gifts out there. By one for your sponsor, your sponsee. Let them know you are thinking about them and thank them for their service to helping you get sober. You can start right here for unique sobriety gifts.
Help another struggling addict
When you’re at a meeting, go up to the person who seems the most lost, the saddest or the most confused. Offer to take them to lunch or to coffee. You will have a profound effect on this person and who knows, you might just keep them sober for one more day.
Volunteer part II.
I know I mentioned it before, but I can’t stress the importance of this. We people that are in recovery are told that in order to ‘keep it’ we have to ‘give it away’ Look at what your favorite thing is: could be animals, could be nature, could be God. Google your favorite thing next to ‘volunteer in (your city)’ and see what comes up. From there do a deeper dive and get involved in your community.
Get lost in nature
Go camping, go hiking, fishing, rock climbing. Start a bon-fire and tell stories. Eat marshmallows and chocolates.
Find a side hustle
There are a ton of ways to earn a little extra income on the side. Especially now that you have your weekends and nights free. Become an Uber driver and make a little extra income. If you are feeling extra serviceable, work the night shift and drive drunk people around. Be grateful you don’t live like that anymore. Earning additional income is a great way to have fun in sobriety.
Watch the sunrise and sunset; enjoy the beauty of it.
Get up super early before the sunrise, go outside and go for a run. Enjoy the birds chirping this time around. Those birds used to chirp before and you hated it – it was a sign that the party was over. Now, it’s a sign of the party just beginning.
Feed the needy
Call up your local homeless shelter or food pantry and volunteer to serve food to these poor men, women and children. It will give you an incredible feeling of gratitude and you will be doing something great for your community.
Sign up to coach a little league team
Become a kid again and look at the world through a kid’s eyes. Serving as a little league coach: basketball, soccer, tball – whatever. You will make a difference and you now plenty of spare time to have fun in sobriety.
Play intramural sports or rec sports
Join a team, gather your friends and create a team – get active and play your favorite sport from when you were a kid
Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
I became one within months of getting sober. My little brother is now 17 years old. I have watched this little dude grow to be a good young man. He doesn’t have a dad, and I get to serve as his positive adult male role model for all these years. Have had a direct positive influence on this boy has been one of the greatest things in my life.
Visit memory lane, Part 2
Think of the place you had one of your worst memories being drunk or maybe you don’t remember what happened because you were in a black-out. Visit that place, say a prayer, thank God for what you have now and meditate for a few minutes. Kind of like a 9th step in a weird way.
Every city has some kind of tour for what makes them famous. I live in Kansas City – I like to take the BBQ tour, the Ghosts and Gangsters tour, and there is a great Civil War battle tour. Look online for a day-trip tour you can take to learn more about your city.
Public transportation day out
can be your friend. Does your city have a main bus line or a street car? If so, jump on it and wander through your city, visit new restaurants and unique shops along the way.
Sugar replacement therapy
Many recovering alcoholics and addicts that I know, have found sugar as a great substitute for th tastebuds and cravings. I love ice cream. I throw Blizzard parties where I invite my friends over and everyone brings their favorite ice-cream topping or mix-in. We create some wild flavors.
you have gone so long without it. How many nights did you stay up drinking, how many mornings could you not go to bed because you were doing drugs.. Now is the time to sleep and ENJOY it. Go to bed at 9p and wake up at 6a.. It is life changing.
There you have it, my top 10 ways to have fun in Sobriety and then some! I hope these help you in a time of need. Share this with your friends and family and start developing your own list as well. In addition, if you have ideas you can add, please comment below. I’m always looking to find new ways to have fun myself.