Figuring out to have fun without drugs, alcohol, porn, and/or sexual escapades we once pursued can be really difficult and, to some, feel like it is impossible to achieve. For most that struggle with addiction, the concept of fun is a foreign concept unless one is under the influence of something. The ironic and very important aspect of sobriety and recovery is finding joy and fun again is essential to one’s change. Without a little bit of fun in our life, we tend to become unmotivated and go back to our old ways.
So how do we do it? Below is a list of suggestions to begin trying out as you walk a new path closer to your values.
1. Get Active
One of the most difficult parts of sobriety from sex, drugs, and/or alcohol is losing that “rush” that so many talk about enjoying. Physical activity can really help with this given our bodies release chemicals called endorphins whenever we engage in rigorous exercise. These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain and trigger a positive feeling in the body, known as a “runner’s high.” This runner’s high can have a profound effect on stress management, positive mental health, pain reduction, and relieving anxiety. Yoga, jogging, paintball, kayaking, fitness classes, rock climbing, hiking are just a few examples of activities that can put you in a better frame of mind and help make recovery more enjoyable. These activities especially help when they are done with others and foster a sense of community.
2. Try Something New
Giving up drugs, alcohol, sex, video games, addictive exercise, overeating, gambling or other addictive behaviors can be a real challenge, because it tends to open up a lot of free time. How much time have we or our loved ones spent obsessing about, obtaining, using, and recovering from their addiction? The challenge and gift of recovery is the newfound free time, energy, and posssibilities. For many, this can feel overwhelming, which is why it is so important to find a replacement hobby. After all, addiction recovery is about replacement and not just elimination. Working with a therapist and sponsor helps others to see the value in starting a new hobby such as cooking, painting, photography, woodworking, gardening, writing, crocheting, etc. One of the most overlooked components to a successful recovery is engaging in healthy habits that leave us feeling fulfilled and happy. If you find yourself still feeling stuck, check out this blog for tons of ideas on how to develop the skill of having fun and enjoying the moment.
3. Get Connected
The opposite of addiction is connection. Getting sober is just the first step and isn’t exactly recovery. As I tell my clients quite often, sobriety is ending something, but recovery is living a life worth living without whatever controlled our lives. Finding connection is the most valuable tool in long-term sobriety, because it helps create a sense of purpose and motivation. Though this may seem overwhelming, we can find connection in so boundless ways, especially in the technology era. Signing up for a class, church involvement, non-profit work, volunteering, fitness classes, community college classes, personal growth activities such as conventions or seminars, hiking meetups, concerts, and looking up opportunites at the local recreation center are just a few of the unlimited ways to put oneself out there and meet others. The key is to find something that seems interesting or you have passion for and find a group of others that relate. There are even excellent resources for this such as the meetup app and sites such as volunteermatch.org.
4. Give Yourself Some Grace
Quitting anything is difficult. Make sure to give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while for even being open to the idea to change. This process is not easy, but it’s certainly worth it. Most find it essential to practice patience and be mindful that there is not instant fix or cure all. HOW we change is by being Honest, Open, and Willing. Maybe that photography or yoga class seems way out of your league, but who knows what they enjoy or are good at until they give it a chance? By giving yourself some grace and acknowledging fun is possible again you can open up your heart and mind to boundless possibilities of a new life. It’s also important to remember, like gardening, we are planting new seeds in our life and it will take time – and us watering them – for our new habits and lifestyle to flourish.
If you are ready to take the next step and receive the support you deserve please click here to connect with one of our therapists. We have locations in both North Dallas (near Richardson, Carrollton, and Addison) and Grapevine (near Southlake, Colleyville, Euless, and Bedford). Lifeworks specializes in Sex Addiction, Love Addiction, Porn Addiction, Anxiety, Depression, and Trauma. We have a diverse staff that works with children, teenagers, and adults in individual, couple’s, and group therapy settings.
About the Author
Nick Overbeck is both a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Nick has nearly a decade of experience in mental health including college counseling, trauma informed treatment, career counseling, suicide prevention, crisis intervention, addiction treatment, promoting mental health in working professionals, and working with loved ones of those affected by addiction and/or mental illness.