During my early sobriety, one of the biggest obstacles I found that kept me from living a life of recovery was the fear that I wouldn’t be able to have fun without alcohol. Looking back on this now, I can see how crazy that thought was, but at the time, it was a real concern. I have met many people who were unsure how to have fun while sober because we live in a culture that glorifies drinking and downplays the consequences of alcohol abuse. Since getting sober I have found that there are plenty of things to do that are fun without drinking. I actually prefer to live my life this way and never want to go back to how I lived before.
Spring is in the air, and summertime is just around the corner, and with that comes a lot of barbecues, campouts, and get-togethers. So if you are currently on the fence about whether or not you want to try having a sober summer or you are in recovery yourself, here are some great ideas of things that are more fun to do without alcohol.
I know a lot of people who like to take risks when they go camping, and maybe that works for them, but for me personally, the idea of waking up in a tent with a hangover does not sound like too much fun. Throughout my years of sobriety, I have found that I am better able to enjoy nature and all that it offers without alcohol.
For many people drinking and summer cookouts go hand in hand, but alcohol really isn’t a necessity for enjoying an excellent barbecue with friends and family. It is actually easier to remember what happened and leave early when needed when alcohol is not in the mix.
3. Family get-togethers
I have found that family get-togethers are a lot more enjoyable now that I don’t drink. I don’t know how things go in your family, but in my family, things would usually start out good enough when we were all drinking and end not so well. The worst thing about getting into an argument after drinking at a family get-together is that it complicates the leaving process. When you stay sober for these types of events, you lower the risk of conflict and leave yourself an easy way to remove yourself if necessary.
I used to really enjoy relaxing poolside with a drink in one hand and a book in the other on a hot summer day. I eventually found that I wouldn’t get much reading done, and sitting in the hot sun drinking promptly led to feeling sick to my stomach. Swimming after a few drinks wasn’t really all that fun either and kind of set me up for a stomach ache and an awful hangover the next day. Swimming sober is definitely a much better and much safer way to go, not to mention passing out drunk and getting sunburned is as terrible as it sounds.
I will never forget the first time I went to a concert sober. I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go. I remember being a little bit nervous because prior to getting sober I had always used alcohol at shows. I wasn’t sure if I could still enjoy the experience as much. However, I am very grateful that I gave this a shot because I actually found that I enjoy live music a lot more when I am not drinking. I am better able to remember the concert, and I connect with the music more. I don’t have to worry about drinking too much and putting myself in a potentially compromising situation. Being sober at a concert was more enjoyable and I felt much better the following day.
Getting out into nature is one of my favorite things to do now that I don’t drink. I never really wanted to go out and hike during my drinking days, and for a good reason, walking with a hangover or while under the influence of alcohol really isn’t that much fun. Sadly, because of my drinking, I missed out on many really excellent opportunities, but living a life of recovery has allowed me to truly experience all of nature’s beauty.
Like most holidays in the United States, summer holidays are often promoted as times to get together with friends or family and drink. Over the course of my recovery, I have found that holidays are actually a lot more fun without alcohol. I am better able to be present with my family, and my memories of the events are much clearer. I learned a while back that one of the worst things alcohol took from me was the ability to form clear memories of important times in my life. I am grateful now that I can be present in these moments and that I am also able to look back on them and remember with fondness the times that I spent with my family.
Going on vacation is a much more memorable experience when it is not fogged over with drinking alcohol. It is easier to do more excursions, and more money is available for things like going out to eat or having exciting new experiences. When people drink while on vacation, it becomes all too easy to overspend and quickly blow through budgeted funds. Not drinking frees up a lot of time and money that would otherwise be wasted on alcohol.
9. Amusement parks
Whenever I go to sporting events or amusement parks, I am always blown away by how much they charge for alcoholic beverages. It is downright crazy. By not drinking, you will not only save yourself a ton of money, but you will also have a lot more fun. I don’t know about you, but the idea of going on a roller-coaster after having a few drinks does not sound too appealing. In general, I have found that things like amusement parks and sporting events are a lot more fun and much more memorable when not under the influence of alcohol.
10. Life in general
One of the most freeing experiences I have had in my own recovery journey from alcoholism was realizing that I did not need to have alcohol to have fun. At a certain point, drinking actually wasn’t fun for me anymore, and it was causing more destruction in my life than it was worth. When I began to realize this, it became easier to walk away from alcohol. Of course, I still needed the help of a treatment program in order to get sober, but after that, I really began to see that I much preferred living a life of sobriety to living a life of addiction.
If you are on the fence about starting your own journey towards addiction recovery, I would highly recommend at least giving it a try; who knows, maybe, like me, you will find that it was the best decision you could have made for your own life.