If you’ve recently gotten sober, or are ready to start recovering from mental health and/or drug or alcohol use disorders, you know for sure that you wish to change course and follow a different path from the one you’ve already been down. Enrolling in a structured treatment program and connecting with other individuals in recovery ensures that you don’t have to navigate that process of self-discovery alone.
1. Keep an open mind
Saying “yes” to new experiences —activities you wouldn’t normally try or events and social gatherings you wouldn’t normally attend — can help you have fun in recovery. You might rediscover passions you’d forgotten about from your youth or hobbies that took a backseat to substance use or were overshadowed by mental illness symptoms. Maybe you loved to go fishing or camping with your parents during your childhood and find that being in nature brings you back to those feelings of peace and contentment.
Alternatively, you might uncover new ways to have fun and enjoy life that you’d never considered before. It’s never too late to learn new skills.
2. Have fun while staying healthy
Recovery often involves overhauling your whole lifestyle. Taking care of yourself is likely to fall off your list of priorities during active substance use or a mental health disorder flare-up. While self-care is necessary maintenance of your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health, it doesn’t have to feel like a chore.
Establishing healthy habits as part of your routine will be more sustainable long-term if they include activities you truly enjoy. If walking on a treadmill at the gym sounds boring, you might love group fitness classes like yoga or boxing. Many people even report feeling a natural “high” from exercise such as running or adventurous activities like rock climbing or mountain biking. In addition, by learning to nourish your body with healthy food, you might just discover a passion for cooking and trying out new recipes.
3. Find friends in recovery
Support from others is crucial for your recovery journey. No one should ever have to face these challenges alone. Surrounding yourself with people who understand what you’ve been through and can help you stay positive and uplifted will help you stay on the right track toward long-term wellness.
Unfortunately, if the people you spent your time with prior to recovery are still actively using while you’re embracing sobriety, you’ll need to seek out new company elsewhere. Hanging around people who are using alcohol and/or drugs may be triggering or create temptation for you to start using again as well, so it’s best to distance yourself. Maybe you’re grieving those lost relationships, or maybe you’re more than ready to move on from any toxic or unhealthy connections. In either case, you’ll want to meet like-minded individuals who understand the importance of protecting your recovery.
Support groups, group therapy and 12-step programs offer built-in opportunities to connect with people in recovery who share your values and priorities. Real Recovery’s treatment programming offers combined groups to foster community and allow clients in recovery to empower and support one another. Other suggestions for spaces to meet new people include volunteering, recreational sports, church groups, fitness classes, book clubs and more.