Before you entered treatment, your weekends were probably filled with parties and social events where you were drunk or getting high. Or maybe you stayed at home and drank by yourself, trying to escape from your thoughts and feelings. Now that you’re sober, it’s understandable to wonder how you’ll fill your free time.
Luckily, sobriety doesn’t have to be boring or uneventful.
The key is to plan ahead, so you’re not sitting by yourself on a Friday evening with nothing to look forward to.
Go to the Movies
The convenience of Netflix and other streaming services can’t be beat, but it’s hard to replace the thrill of experiencing a movie on the big screen with other film buffs. Grab a friend and see the next big blockbuster while enjoying your favorite snacks.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, look for independent theaters in your area that show art house or international movies. Some of these theaters may even have post-film social events where you can discuss the film with other moviegoers.
Check Out a New Restaurant
Indulge your inner foodie by going out to dinner someplace you’ve never been before. Read reviews of area restaurants online or simply drive around until you find a place that looks interesting. If you’re on a tight budget, Groupon often has deals that can make the experience more affordable.
During your meal, resist the urge to pull out your phone. Keep the focus on enjoying delicious food and good conversation.
Exercise provides a natural endorphin boost, which makes it easier to control your cravings. Joining a sporting league lets you enjoy the benefits of physical activity while making new friends. Look for opportunities at your local community recreation center or YMCA.
If you’re more introverted by nature, training for a 5K or 10K may be a better fit. Races are held throughout the year, many of which provide a chance to raise funds for worthwhile charitable causes.
Plan a Game Night
Game nights are great sober social activities because there’s no pressure to make small talk. Try having friends over to play a classic board game like Scrabble or Monopoly. Newer party games like Cards Against Humanity can also be good for a laugh.
If board games or card games aren’t your thing, video games can provide an immersive entertainment experience. Online multiplayer modes make it easy to play with friends who might live too far away to get together in person.
Host Your Own Party
Instead of worrying whether alcohol will be served at an event, why not invite guests to your home? Being able to guarantee a sober environment may make you feel more comfortable, and the responsibility of hosting will keep you busy all weekend long.
A potluck is the simplest type of sober party to host, but you can get as creative as you’d like with themes, decorations, and menus. The Days of the Year website provides lots of information about offbeat holidays that you can plan your party around.
Nonprofit organizations are always looking for volunteers and doing something good for others can be a positive reminder of the progress you’ve already made in your recovery. You can use the Volunteer Match website to find volunteer opportunities near you, including opportunities to work with animals, children, and the elderly.
Churches and other places of worship can be excellent sources of volunteer opportunities. This can be a good way to build a deeper connection to your faith community.
Be a Tourist in Your Own City
When people come to visit your city, where do they go? Checking out the most popular tourist attractions can help you see your community in an entirely new light.
The Visit Pennsylvania website lets you easily search for attractions within the state, including amusement parks, factory tours, covered bridges, museums, zoos, and railroads. The site also has a section listing seasonal events and festivals that are fun for the whole family. Many of the events are free or low-cost, which makes them a budget-friendly source of entertainment.
Camping lets you get back to your roots and explore the great outdoors by yourself or with your friends. If you’ve never been camping before, REI has an Intro to Camping series that explains what you need to know for your first adventure.
Taking time to disconnect from modern technology can be beneficial for your recovery process, since several studies have shown that social media and the pressure of being constantly available for calls or texts increases stress levels. After your weekend digital detox, you’ll be able to return to your regular routine relaxed and refreshed.
Connect with the Recovery Community
There’s nobody who understands the challenges you’re facing quite like others who are also in recovery. Support groups like AA and Celebrate Recovery often have weekend social events that you can attend even if you’re not an active member of the group.
At Mountain Laurel Recovery Center’s Pennsylvania drug and alcohol treatment facility, we believe addiction is a sickness best overcome through a life lived and shared in a supportive community. We host several events throughout the year for alumni and others in recovery to share their stories and inspire others to experience the joy that sobriety can bring.