Learning to live a life that no longer involves drinking or getting high can leave you at a loss for coming up with things you can actually do. During the summer when the days are warmer and longer, you could become restless and unsure of how to keep yourself active with only sober activities to occupy yourself with.
But, you’d be amazed at how many things there really are that are fun and easy and don’t involve alcohol or drugs. Keeping yourself occupied can even take your mind off using and enjoying another day of clean living. We’ve come up with a few ideas to help get you started.
Visit a coffee shop. Even the smallest towns have a coffee shop these days. Grab your laptop or tablet and take advantage of the free wifi that most have to offer. You can easily spend a couple of hours surfing the web while you’re there. If web surfing is not your thing, take along a book or a magazine to read.
Ride a bike. Roads are becoming more bike-friendly with bicycle-only designated lanes. Look up nearby bike trails and take advantage of a pretty day. You’ll get some fresh air and exercise at the same time.
Take a walk. Do a bit of research and find out if there are any nice walking trails nearby. If not, a daily walk around the block will get you more familiar with your neighborhood. You could even get to know your neighbors better and make new friends.
Go to the movies. Watching reruns on TV at home gets boring. Find out what’s playing at the local theater and get out and enjoy a movie. The seats are very comfortable these days. Some are even better than your recliner at home!
Take up gardening. Planting seeds and watching them grow is fulfilling and rewarding. You could even lose a little weight as you work in your garden. At any rate, you’ll eat a lot healthier with all of the fruits and vegetables you produce.
Listen to music. Depending on the kind of music you listen to, it can either help you relax or it can boost your mood. Spending some time listening to your favorite songs, whether they are oldies or the latest pop music, can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. You can use music to motivate you as you work out or do your housecleaning. Not only is it an enjoyable way to spend a few hours – the therapeutic rewards make it well worth it.
Dance. As you listen to your favorite music, it’s only natural to want to get up and dance. If you’re too shy to dance in public, you can even do this at home. You don’t have to dance to impress anyone. It’s a great way to burn energy. You work many different muscle groups with this activity, and it’s an effective cardio exercise. Dancing is a key way to relieve stress and clear your mind.
Visit friends. You may have a few friends you haven’t seen in a while that would be really happy if you paid them a visit. This could be someone in your neighborhood, or maybe you could plan a day trip to visit someone who lives a few hours away.
Volunteer. When you volunteer your time for a cause you believe in, you not only help others – you help yourself, as well. It gives you a sense of purpose and pride to know that you’ve contributed to something worthwhile. What’s more, if you decide this work is your life’s passion, your past volunteer work will look good on your resume.
Go swimming. Swimming is a great stress reliever and can help you regain muscle strength. In the water, you don’t put weight on your bones, which allows you to move more freely. In turn, you build and strengthen your muscles.
Remodel or redecorate a room. Give yourself a change of scenery, right in your very own home. Rearrange your furniture or replace a few old pieces with newer ones. Add splashes of color with new decorations, or go for a completely new color scheme, using throw rugs or furniture covers. Repaint the walls or paint just one wall to pep up the room.
Draw or color. If you’ve enjoyed doodling on a scratch pad, why not try your skills on canvas? Draw your first original work of art. Add color to it with paint or your other favorite medium. If you don’t trust your drawing skills, there are plenty of adult coloring books with great pictures that you can color as you wish.
Go shopping. Even if it’s just a trip to the grocery store, it gets you out of the house. If there is a store close by, walk – don’t drive, especially if it’s just to pick up a few things. Alternately, take a trip to the mall and buy yourself something nice. You deserve it.
Get a manicure or a pedicure. It can be enjoyable and even relaxing to get your nails done. Plus, they will be much nicer to look at afterward.
Call a friend or relative. These days, people spend a lot of time chatting back and forth on their cell phones via text. This form of communication has become somewhat impersonal, and there’s only so much you can convey in a text. By calling someone and speaking to them, you can hear and express emotions so much better. It takes the confusion out of the message. Plus, it’s nice to hear someone’s voice if you haven’t talked to them in a while.
Get a dog. Dogs require love and attention. Plus, they need to be walked regularly. There are many designated dog parks in almost all cities and towns today, and you could meet people who are also enjoying a sunny summer walk with their pets. If you’re not ready to take on the responsibility of pet ownership, you could walk with a friend who has one. More than likely, they will appreciate the company.
Try a new recipe. With all of the fresh fruits and vegetables available in the summer months, why not try out some new recipes? It could be something simple like a salad dressing to pour over fresh from the garden lettuce and tomatoes. If you’re feeling more daring, plan a sober dinner party and prepare a few dishes for your friends.
Take up yoga. Yoga is not only good for toning your body – it also helps you learn to relax your mind. In turn, you may find it easier to meditate. Meditation could have positive effects on your conscious awareness and help you relax. Even if you don’t meditate, yoga will help you get in tune with your own body. You’ll become more aware of your breathing and sensory perceptions, and you’ll discover things about your own body that you never imagined.
Crochet or knit. If you already know how to crochet or knit, that’s great. If not, it might be a nice hobby to start. It’s relaxing, yet motivating, once you’ve created a few pieces on your own. Summer is the perfect time to get started on scarves, caps, and mittens that you’ll be sporting all winter. You could even come up with your own ornaments for holiday decorating.
Take summer classes. If you’ve been thinking about continuing your education, look for summer courses or classes you can take. These can be for college credits or to help you gain new skills for a potentially better job. The more education you have, the better it looks on your resume.
Read a book. Stay on top of the latest releases and go for the season’s bestsellers. Or choose something educational. If you find a writer or series that you really like, pick up Book One and go through the entire collection. Once you get started, it can be hard to put a good book down.
Play a game. Games come in a variety of forms. There are console games, board games, card games and online games. You can choose to play a game of solitaire either with a deck of cards (the old-fashioned way), on your computer, or on your cell phone. There are also apps for puzzle or memory games that can be played alone. These days, you can even play interactive games with teams or against an online opponent. Games can be so much fun that you can easily spend a good part of the day playing them. Keep a clock nearby so you don’t lose track of time while you’re playing.
Get a new hairstyle. Summer is the perfect time for a new ‘do. Look up a few do-it-yourself videos and spend some time practicing until you feel confident. If you don’t think that’s for you, you can spend some time at a hair salon. Go for the latest style or just get a couple of inches taken off so that you can keep cooler in hot weather.
Start a blog. If you’re not one for journaling, then blogging could be another outlet. You can share your thoughts and experiences with the world, or keep them private for yourself. Doing so can help you to go back and see just how far you’ve come in your recovery. You may also have tips or vital information to share with others who are seeking help and insight.
Go sightseeing. You don’t even have to go far. Often, there are places of interest right in our own neighborhood that we take for granted. Visit a local museum or art gallery. New items come in all the time, so even if you have been there in the past, there could be lots of interesting and one-of-a-kind items that you haven’t seen.
Travel. Plan a trip to a place that you’ve never been. Learning about different cultures firsthand can be a memorable experience. You’re sure to taste new foods and discover that people go about their daily lives in other ways than we do. It can add perspective to your own life and change the way you feel about the world.
Play an instrument. If you already know how to play an instrument, now could be a good time to perfect your skills. You may already know the effect that music has on your sensory skills. It can lift your mood and take your mind off your worries. Studies have shown that musicians are more likely to have increased brain function than non-musicians. If you don’t already know how to play an instrument, it’s never too late to learn. There are many free tutorials to be found online. Playing an instrument can be the ultimate stress reliever.
Plan a picnic. Map out a nice spot ahead of time, then pack a lunch and enjoy the day. Schedule a picnic with friends and have everyone bring a dish or a side. City parks make great spots to meet up. It’s also a great place to spend a few hours if you or your friends have children.
Create a daily plan. When you map out your activities for the day ahead of time, it can help you stay on track and focused. By filling your day up with things that keep you busy, you’re hardly likely to steer yourself off track. Just don’t be too hard on yourself. There are really only so many things you can do in a day, so plan accordingly. Don’t rush through things. Take your time and enjoy the moment.
Remember, detoxification is only the first step in your recovery. Maintaining a healthy, sober life afterward takes a conscious effort, but it can be done. By keeping yourself occupied, you can live a fulfilling life without drugs or alcohol. Summertime offers the best opportunity for outdoor sober activities, but there are plenty of things you can do indoors, as well.
Hopefully, these suggestions can help you to discover fun activities or rediscover old pastimes you had long forgotten about. Have a great time and don’t forget the sunscreen!