One of our followers recently emailed one of our recovery coaches because they wanted to know how to have fun without drinking. At first, we thought, “that’s a tough question.” When you really think about the layers to the question, it first implies that drinking is the only thing that makes their hobbies or interests fun. Drinking has most likely become so embedded into the routine of unwinding or socializing, that the thought of having fun without drinking seems impossible.
Although this post focusing on enjoying yourself without drinking, you can substitute any substance. Maybe you’re going through kratom withdrawal symptoms, quitting marijuana, or detoxing from opioids. Regardless, you can find ways to have fun without your substance of choice.
But, to flip the coin on that notion, it becomes obvious that drinking isn’t making a boring situation fun. Drinking has rooted itself into situations that would be fun without drinking. Often times, when we’ve incorporated alcohol into our hobbies and interests, when we abstain, we think our hobbies are no longer fun. The reality is that our brains need to heal sometimes in order for us to begin to appreciate the interests, hobbies, friends— even the family that we have. Much like grieving loss or death, we begin to grieve the loss of our drinking. It sounds dramatic, it sounds corny, we know, but fundamentally, you’re stopping and correcting a habit that’s like become a fixture in your social life.
So back to the question, how to have fun without drinking. The first step, obviously is to stop drinking. It is one of many unhealthy ways people deal with stress, and it often supports us in the long run. When we remove alcohol from the situations we used to enjoy, we might go through a period of growing dull or developing a lack of interest in hobbies and people that used to interest us. This goes away, but it’s important to build a support network to help you to stay stopped.
If you’re still not able to find joy in the things that used to make you happy, then it’s time to try new things. Being outdoors, exercising, games or hobbies that involve other people— there’s many more avenues to search than what may initially come to mind. Try finding a meetup group for things that interest you. Learn an instrument you’ve wanted to learn. Even reading, though it might not sound fun, can increase creativity and help you to discover an area of interest that you previously hadn’t thought of.
The truth is that there are many benefits of quitting drinking. We know it is hard, and know that feeling of worrying about having fun. However, you can do it! If you’re wondering how to have fun without drinking, the only way you’ll know is to stop drinking. Give it a shot, and don’t forget to reach out to those around you for support!