5 Things to Enjoy Sober (That are actually better!)
Whether gearing up for Sober October, practicing sobriety so you can handle the end-of-year holidays, or making a forever lifestyle change—you may be wondering how exactly to fill your time now you’re planning to skip the booze.
It can be uncomfortable to practice sobriety around friends who are still drinking, especially if you’re not ready to “come out” as sober to them. Your journey is your journey. No one needs an explanation.
So if you’re sober or sober-curious it’s a good idea to have a few suggestible activities in your back pocket for when friends want to hang out. This way you avoid alcohol altogether rather than raising eyebrows when ordering Topo Chico at a bar. (Although most of the time when I order NA beverages no one even notices. It turns out people aren’t paying that much attention!)
There are so many things to enjoy sober. It would be impossible to list them all. So in the interest of time (and attention span), here are the top 5 activities I enjoy more now I’m sober. Plus, a few of them make for great social gatherings as well!
First on the list is nature. Otherwise known as the great outdoors. No matter your climate, there are outdoor activities to be found and enjoyed. Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, running, kayaking, fishing, swimming, skiing, or just a leisurely walk around a lake, getting into nature is a true remedy for all situations. And of course, getting outside is good for your mental and physical health.
Soak in that Vitamin D, get those muscles moving, or just relax by the pool. Healing in nature (whether from alcohol abuse or overwork) is no new idea. People have been “taking the air” and “traveling to the seaside” for centuries.
Hobbies are another tried and true go-to for new (and seasoned) sober folks. There’s something so simple, yet undeniably effective, about keeping your hands busy so they can’t reach for a drink.
Another helpful habit of hobbies is they give us permission to be bad at something. Adults are notoriously unkind to themselves when beginning a new activity. A hobby has no pressure to become an income stream. It’s a place where you can be a beginner. Try again and slowly improve over time.
Whether you join a local group, gather online, or enjoy time alone finding a hobby you love is a lifelong gift to yourself. So paint, knit, crochet, tie fly fishing hooks, learn to cook, play chess, and play DND or video games. Do something different. Become an adventurous, surprising, and well-rounded person.
Listen, self-care may be the internet’s favorite buzzword, but it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. In 2022, a lot of us are not great, to put it nicely, at slowing down. Our culture tells us to go, go, go, hustle, put in overtime, work until we drop…YIKES.
SLOW DOWN. Because health and wellness experts preach the opposite. We need time to slow down so we can show up as our best selves for our friends, family, and community. So read a book, take a bath, practice yoga or meditation, take a quarterly spa day, start a journaling practice, or do anything that helps quiet your mind. Then, once you’re recharged, you return to your life healthier, calmer, and ready to serve others.
#4: Become a Tourist
Another surprisingly amazing sober activity is travel. I’ve wasted money on so many fuzzy memories and hazy getaways. These days, I love remembering every moment and arriving home rested rather than hungover. Whether you can afford to travel to far distant lands or stay put, there’s always something interesting to find as a tourist.
Even staying in your own town offers local landmarks, independent coffee shops, art galleries or museums, theme parks, or historical places of interest. What would a tourist do in your city? And before you swear you can’t afford it – remember the money you’re saving on fancy cocktails? Reinvest it in travel and cheesy tourist adventures.
My final favorite aspect of sobriety is simple: Mornings. The fact is that mornings are much better when you’re not hungover. And now you’re enjoying a quieter start to your day, it may be possible to introduce a mindful habit or two. Or maybe just a little more sleep. You’re your best teacher.
Choosing to step away from alcohol can be difficult at first, but once you realize how much there is to see and do, you may never want to go back. Whatever your sober journey, it’s helped me to stay curious and try new things. I like to reward myself with small treats – an extra episode of my favorite show or an upsize on my coffee order.
So ask yourself, what booze-free activity can you try this week?
Caroline Turner Cole is a storyteller based in Dallas, TX. A yogi, voice-over artist, writer, and creative business coach, she’s been skipping the booze for about 18 months and isn’t planning on changing that any time soon. Follow along on IG @carolinecolestories and on Twitter @ccolestories.