It is a common fear in addicts or alcoholics, particularly those that reach a bottom at a young age, that getting sober means never having fun again. For many people, by the end of their drinking or using, they were just totally unable to imagine life without drugs or alcohol, much less actually having FUN sober. Many had interests before beginning a substance abuse careers- hobbies, activities they enjoyed, sports, music, art, etc. But gradually, the addictions took over and those things they once enjoyed seemed less and less important. The primary (and oftentimes only) activity became getting drunk or high. At the point of being so beaten by their addictions that they are willing to try something different, many people are convinced that the fun is over. Sure, sobriety might be the only way out, but most were resigned to the fact that they might as well stock up on Netflix because, “what do you even do for fun without drugs or alcohol?”
Most were shocked to find out that within the recovery community and the twelve-step fellowships, a whole new world awaited. No matter where you live, but particularly in the DC/MD/VA areas, there is an endless stream of activities and events that celebrate recovery and being sober! There are dinners, movies, concerts, bowling, sports, beach trips, AA/NA conventions and retreats, dancing, road trips to new meetings, and any number of other fun times to be had in sobriety!
Further, by the end of their drinking careers, most people have very few if any quality, reliable, stable friendships. The recovery community and fellowship presents an opportunity to meet people that you can relate to, that understand where you’ve been because they’ve been there themselves, and begin to form new and lasting relationships. The 12 steps teach us how to be a friend and to show up for others. And the people that we form those relationships with in sobriety become a very important part of recovery. This is not something any of us can do alone!!
The key to learning how to have fun sober again is really being open and willing to try things, even when they seem stupid or boring. Get in the middle of the herd- introduce yourself to others at meetings, make plans for coffee, find the people that are working the steps and trying to live differently, and do what they are doing! If you are open to it, you will quickly find that the fellowship that comes to surround you is an awesome thing to be a part of, and before you know it you will find yourself having a good time (while sober!!). Most of us actually find that we are TOO busy sometimes, and need to learn to set reasonable boundaries- but that’s a topic for another blog.