Being fresh out of a sober living program or some other form of addiction treatment can give one a sense of accomplishment and optimism for the future. As you’ve probably experienced from drug rehab, however, recovery is filled with both good and bad days. So, here in this blog, we will have a quick glance at 10 sober activities to brighten up your recovery.
10 Sober Activities to Brighten Up Your Recovery
Some people can’t live without their exercise routine while others buy gym memberships to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions but go only once or twice. But even if you don’t normally exercise you just might want to start.
Research suggests, that in addition to the cardiovascular benefits, exercise can reduce the urge to use addictive substances. One study noted that regular aerobic exercise decreases the likelihood of drug abuse. This is because of exercise:
- Centers the brain’s reward system towards physical activity as opposed to drug use
- Decreases the appearance of comorbid risk factors such as depression and anxiety
- In experimental conditions on non-human subjects, exercise was found to reduce substance abuse among many different dimensions such as: “drug self-administration, relapse reinstatement, escalation and binging” in populations addicted to cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine
Go Out into Nature
We often take for granted the impact that daily activities have on our mental states. But overtime activities like sitting in traffic and the 9-5 grind begin to feel mundane. One great way to give yourself a mental reset is to spend some time in the great outdoors. Your escape of choice could mean anything from going on a nature walk, taking your bike out on a trail, or an overnight camping trip with friends.
Hang Out with Friends
One common misconception people new to recovery have, is that social outings will be less fun without a drink in hand or something else to take the edge off. The reality is, going out with friends and enjoying the moment can be just as fun if it is not more now that there are no strings attached.
You may be worried about encountering triggers while you’re out, and that’s okay. It is always important to stay vigilant. But doing “sober friendly activities” with friends can help make recovery feel much less limiting. You may discover that when you are sober, plans fall through less often, and you can commit more of yourself to the people and things you really care about.
Do Something Artistic
Such an important element of addiction treatment is the emotional processing that happens in the group, individual counseling, and therapy sessions. In a similar way, activities like painting, drawing, creative writing, and making music can provide opportunities for individuals to express and process a greater part of themselves into what they create.
Jack Kerouac, novelist of the open road once said, “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
In recovery, the way forward is often paved by new experiences. By which we grow and see the world in a new light. Packing up the car out towards some great destination with a close friend can be a great way to gain a new perspective on oneself.
Join a Community Sports Team
The process of getting from addiction to recovery can result in the loss of existing relationships which can lead to feelings of isolation. Fortunately taking part in community activities is a great way to meet new people. If you are athletically inclined and enjoy a challenge, joining a sports team is a great way to be to spend your time.
Hang Out at a Sober Bar
Sober-friendly bars are cropping up all over the place and quickly becoming popular with people in and out of the recovery community. Sober bars bring everything that is great about the bar environment without the alcohol. Patrons and their friends can enjoy things like custom-crafted drinks, as well as activities like pool and Karaoke and the familiar bar aesthetic.
Journal Your Experiences
Our inner worlds fuel a multitude of thoughts: from memories of the past and musings of the future to interpretations of our real-time experiences. But thoughts are fleeting, making it difficult to hold onto insights that can help us make meaningful changes in our lives.
Keeping a journal, however, provides a way to catalog ideas and reflect on them later. In fact, journaling has proved useful in drug rehabilitation and other addiction recovery programs, and they strongly encourage their residents to keep a journal while enrolled.
Types of Journaling
Not all journals are the same. In recovery, different types of journaling help individuals satisfy different objectives. For example:
- Diary –A freeform way of journaling in which you write down your thoughts about the day’s events and whatever else comes to mind.
- Evening Reflection Journal– A reflection of the choices you made during the day, the outcomes of those choices, and what you learned from the experience. This is particularly useful for people who want to improve their social interactions with others.
- Gratitude Journaling– Daily journaling encourages people to meditate on what they are grateful for. There are many benefits to acknowledging the positives in life. Research suggests that showing gratefulness towards others and acknowledging the positives in life can aid in sleep, improve relationships and reduce anxiety.
- A Goal Focused Journal –Aids people in tracking the progress of their long and short-term goals which can be advantageous for all kinds of goal setting especially sobriety and treatment goals.
Attend Group Counseling Regularly
Just because you have left your inpatient or outpatient program doesn’t mean you can’t continue to participate in a therapy group. Groups provide many benefits for individuals continuing in recovery. For example:
- Allows participants to expand upon their social skills
- Group counseling environments allow individuals to share abuse and trauma in a social setting that is affirming and supportive.
- Meet new people who are also in addiction recovery and share common goals
- A cheaper route to individual therapy
Take a class or learn a Skill
Picking up a new trade or learning a new skill can add valuable tools to your arsenal. But these provide more than just monetary advantages, they can also be an outlet for when triggers appear.
Most community colleges offer both certification courses for vocations and non-credited classes. Fortunately, in the age of the internet, there also are many platforms to learn new things at little to no cost. Even on YouTube, there is no end to the educational content you can delve into.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, choose Grant Me the Courage Recovery, a California-based Outpatient Treatment Center and dial 877-290-2058 and learn about our accredited treatment programs.
Kerouac, J. (1957). On the Road. The Viking Press.
Paturel, A. (2012, November). Power in Numbers. Monitor on Psychology. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/11/power.
Smith, M. A., & Lynch, W. J. (2012, January 12). Exercise as a Potential Treatment for Drug Abuse: Evidence from Preclinical Studies. Frontiers in psychiatry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3276339/.