One of the most common problems for recovering alcoholics and addicts is learning to have fun without drinking or using drugs. Many reasons people become addicted to drugs or alcohol are depression, boredom and detachment from life, which are all common factors.
Many people start using drugs because they feel incapable of enjoying life the way that others do. Activities that are supposed to be fun seem hollow and meaningless. Drinking or using drugs becomes a way to feel normal, and over time an alcoholic can forget how to feel good without this crutch.
As a result, many newly sober people view the early weeks and months of recovery with dread. They’ve never felt good without alcohol in the past, so how can they expect to feel good now? But with the help of a recovery program, people can change these patterns and start having fun without using chemicals.
Can Sobriety Be Fun?
Many people in recovery get tired of everyone telling them to "have a positive attitude." For a long-time addict or alcoholic, there is something inherently noble and adventurous about getting sober, and sobriety can be fun if you think of it as a fresh approach to life. Each day is new, and everyday you go without using drugs or drinking bring you into undiscovered territory.
Of course, these positive thoughts aren’t going to prevent moments where thoughts of drinking creep into your mind. Going through the motions at this moment are the most important . Many recovering alcoholics and addicts find that if they just keep moving forward during these moments, the cravings fade, and a good mood soon catches up.
Being Social Without Using
In recovery, the importance of avoiding friends you used to drink or use drugs with is crucial. Sadly, even if you’ve been friends with someone since childhood, if they’re unwilling to go along with you on the path to sobriety, then the friendship has to end there. If they choose to get sober in the future, that may be a different story. But for now, in early sobriety, it’s too dangerous to hang out with drinkers and drug users.
Fun Without Drugs
The most challenging thing about having fun without drugs or alcohol is learning how to get outside of yourself. The feelings associated with early sobriety are often dark and heavy, and it can be difficult to fight through these feelings and lighten up enough to enjoy yourself. In fact, some recovering alcoholics and addicts are so certain they can’t get over their dark feelings that they don’t even try.
But this is the wrong approach. Even if it is difficult to have fun during the early stages, one must trust the recovery program enough to know that it will eventually lead to better feelings. It’s a chicken-egg situation: It’s hard to have fun until you’ve made progress in your recovery, and your recovery will be slow if you don’t learn how to get out and enjoy life on its own terms.
That’s why recovering alcoholics and addicts just have to learn to go through the motions and to get moving even when it seems hard. Even when your mood is dark and cravings keep coming up, you just have to get out there and try. Nine times out of 10, when you force yourself to be active, you’ll be glad you did at the end of the day.
Adapted For Footprints of Serenity by DrugAlchoholAddictionRecovery.com