Recently I wrote a blog post about how difficult it can be to make friends as an adult. As I was putting the article together, I needed a couple of photos I could use in the blog post. Finding a photo of a group of friends was easy… but finding one where the friends weren’t drinking alcohol was much harder!
For many people, getting together with friends means drinking or using substances. But for people who are looking to move away from problematic substance use or addiction, being in an environment where drinking and substances are the main activity simply won’t do.
But entering recovery shouldn’t mean you need to become a recluse… in fact, we know that friends provide a lot of support for people in recovery. So, maybe it’s time to think about some new activities to enjoy with friends.
Is it possible to stay sober and still have fun?
1. Have Some Tea With A Friend
There are many ways to enjoy tea, and having tea with friends or people you’re interested in can be an enjoyable activity. Instead of inviting a coworker for a drink, why not leave out the alcohol? Over the years, I’ve also found drinking tea with friends to be a great after-dinner activity with friends, instead of drinks. For people who are not into caffeine (especially in the evening), there are many great herbal tea options out there.
2. Go For A Hike
We’ve written at length about the health benefits of going hiking. It gets you out in nature, gets that cardio pumping, and changes your mindset. Hiking can also be a great social activity with new or old friends. It gives you a shared goal (i.e. a destination) and can be really conducive to good conversations.
3. Study With A Buddy
If you have the opportunity to study with somebody, that person could be your study buddy! There are endless reasons we can choose further schooling, whether for work or for personal growth. But whatever the reason, the camaraderie of slogging through a course or certification together is real! By helping each other through a common goal, you can develop rich, rewarding and authentic friendships.
4. Join Sober Sports
As we age, we benefit from regular cardio such as playing a sport. For people who are in recovery, sports can be a difficult thing to be around. Drinking while watching sports is a big part of sports culture, and many sports leagues drink casually (or even heavily) surrounding practice. Luckily for people who are looking to avoid settings with alcohol, there are many dry leagues, as well as Sober Sports groups. These can also be a great place to connect with peers in recovery. To learn about Sober Sports in qathet, see this article.
5. Make Something Cool
The creative process can be something that brings people together and enriches social connections. Why not make something cool with a friend, like a play, or a podcast? You could build an oaken chest, or work on an art piece together! If you’re short of ideas, I recommend browsing instructables.com for both inspiration and free thorough guides for countless projects. If this is your first time on the site, be prepared to get sucked in; there’s a lot of cool stuff on there!
Being a volunteer can be a great way to meet people, as it provides opportunities to socialize with new potential friends. If there’s a project that you’re interested in volunteering with, you can always invite a friend to join you. That way, you’ll kill two birds with one stone: you’ll get your volunteering in, and you’ll get to spend some time with a new or an old friend.
7. Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Is there something really specific that you’re into doing? Are you into identifying mushrooms, painting miniatures, or fixing up vintage tractors? You could be enjoying your hobby with a friend! Maybe you’re worried your hobby isn’t that cool, but keep this in mind: people with obscure hobbies are usually happy to meet someone who shares their interests. When you do finally meet a fellow enthusiast, they’ll be that much more excited to meet you! Tell people about your dorky or obscure hobbies… you just might just find someone that’s equally stoked!
I hope you enjoyed this list, which is by no means exhaustive. These are some of the things I’ve enjoyed doing that have led to some great friendships or interactions. There are tonnes of other things you can do with friends in recovery… the sky is the limit!
At Sunshine Coast Health Centre and Georgia Strait Women’s Clinic, we support individuals through a holistic approach that recognizes social wellbeing as a key part of growth and healing. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or mental health, give us a call today.
What are some of your favourite sober activities? Leave a comment below!
———————–Ionatan Waisgluss is a writer, educator and tech professional living in the qathet region of British Columbia. He is the founder of SquareByte.ca