Learning How to Play Again: 5 Tips for Safe & Sober Fun
“Even though you’re growing up, you should never stop having fun.” – Nina Dobrev
What does the word fun mean to you? In the past, you may have convinced yourself that “fun” was a term exclusively associated with substances and/or alcohol. One of the many challenges of recovery is the complete overhaul that is necessary in regard to the way that you have previously perceived socializing, leisure, and “fun” time.
Believe it or not, you can have a great time, you can be social, out-going, likeable, and most importantly–you can enjoy yourself without the lubrication of drugs or alcohol.
Here are 5 Tips for having Clean, Safe, Sober Fun (even while Social Distancing!):
ESTABLISH A NEW CIRCLE
It’s an old adage, but there’s truth to the saying, you’re only as strong as your weakest friend. Changes in social circles and friendships are common for those in recovery. As you rebuild your life and grow after treatment, you may notice yourself pulling away from old friendships and relationships that no longer serve you. It is crucial to establish your support network inside and outside of the rooms. This doesn’t mean everyone you’re around has to also be in recovery–but it is imperative that those around you respect and support your journey in sobriety and wellness
BE THE LIFE OF THE PARTY
Excitement and fun don’t stop where your wellness begins. We’re living in an age that allows you to host an event from your bedroom with nothing more than a laptop and a web camera. Begin to re-imagine the way that you socialize with others, but start slow and ease your way into your new status quo. Begin with small groups of close friends while you work to rebuild your social confidence in your sobriety. If you’re hosting in-person, replace cocktails and alcoholic beverages with fun treats and deserts. If you’re hosting a Zoom or web-based meeting, plan group activities that will keep you and guests entertained. Streaming parties for online music events, movies, and shows are a great way to feel connected and bond while Social Distancing.
GET TO KNOW YOURSELF
The absence of drugs and alcohol creates space and time in your life again. You don’t have to fill these gaps with mundane activities. Tap into your passions, whether they are preexisting or brand new–music, crafting, painting, cooking, exercising, reading, building, volunteering–the list of possibilities is infinite. Find what excites you and then use this interest to connect with others! The internet and social media allow friendships within niche groups of interest to thrive. Private groups, forums, online classes and meetings exist around the clock and around the globe, and can be found with a simple web search. If you can’t find a group that interests you, take charge and start your own.
CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF FUN BY GIVING BACK
Having fun is something that is associated with positive feelings, disregarding the passage of time, and being present in a moment. There are countless ways to access these feel-good emotions, including through service. Volunteering your time can allow you to connect with others on a basis in which you are giving back. Acts of selflessness such as volunteering can help you meet others in a safe environment, while also boosting your own self-esteem.
You will hear it repeated throughout your recovery–you didn’t get sick overnight, so don’t expect yourself to get well overnight. Clean, safe fun is crucial to your successful long-term recovery, and to your new, lively, fulfilling life. It takes time to unlearn and break old habits, and trying new things can be scary. That is okay. You’re not alone in these feelings. Talk to a home group that you trust, a counselor, a sponsor, or a close friend that supports your recovery about the challenges that you may face.
While “fun” may look different or require more courage now than it did in the past, clean, sober, safe fun fosters genuine bonding, relationship building, memory making, and laughter in a way that “fun” under the influences of substances simply could never. Use these tips to your advantage and start building your new social life one day at a time.
At Fellowship Hall, we’re working to constantly provide support and care both on-campus and digitally those in recovery. For more information, resources, and encouragement, ‘like’ the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.
About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.