How to Have Fun Without Alcohol

If you struggle with substance abuse, or simply find that you’re more dependent on alcohol than you want to be, it can be a frustrating journey to growth and recovery. It seems like every social media post and every ad for food and drink features drinking at its center, surrounded by people appearing to have a good time.

But I want to encourage you to remember two things. One: these images are manufactured to sell products or experiences. Reality is a lot bigger. Two: You’re not alone in this struggle, and you don’t have to be. There are a lot of ways to have fun and build friendships with people close to you, without drinking, and without putting your recovery at risk. Here are some alternative good times you can have:

1. Restaurants That Don’t Serve Alcohol

There are lots of places to eat or drink that don’t feature alcohol, and many places don’t even serve it. Finding a coffee shop, tea shop, smoothie bar, juice bar, or kombucha bar is a good start. It’s a fun way to try new things. And many places that don’t serve alcohol have plenty of alternatives that actually make you feel better and promote improved health.

2. Museums

Your city likely has a lot of galleries and museums where you can explore local art and history. These give you an opportunity to pass the time, learn something new, and broaden your horizons, without anything revolving around drinking.

3. Sober Spaces

As more and more people take ownership of their recovery, and recognize the health benefits of eliminating alcohol, there are more sober restaurants and venues. Try researching “sober space” near you and see what comes up.

If you’re part of a faith community, this can be a great space to strengthen your resolve, remind you of God’s love, and connect with people who want to spend quality time with you in safe, sober spaces.

4. Meet Up Groups

You can search for a sober meet-up group using a site like Meetup. Groups meet around a common interest, activity, or stage of life. If you are in a recovery group, or have friends helping you look for sober spaces, invite them to come with you to a Meetup group so you can feel more comfortable and share the experience with someone.

5. Exercise

Exercise and physical activity are great outlets and healthy distractions when you’re trying to build a self-care routine that doesn’t include alcohol. There are exercise options for all ability levels. Something as simple as walking through a park or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can improve your mood, increase your energy level, and give you time to think things through.

6. Time with Like-Minded Friends

Spending time with like-minded friends who are also committed to sobriety can make it easier to have fun without drinking and build healthy habits. Be sure to let your friends know what your priorities are, and the kind of support you need, to make the most of your recovery and growth.

If you need help along the way, reach out to TheHopeLine. If your life feels controlled or dominated by alcohol, I’m glad you’re here, and I’m hopeful you can get help, starting here, Get HopeCoach mentoring today for encouragement as you learn to take better care of yourself and break free.

Worried you're developing an addiction, or have a history of addiction in your family? Read about the warning signs here

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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