While in recovery from a substance use disorder, trying to have fun without risking a relapse can sometimes feel like walking on eggshells. You may be stumped, wondering where you can go out to eat that doesn’t have alcohol on the menu or wondering whether attending a concert will trigger drug use.

If you feel stuck figuring out how to enjoy life without inviting the temptation to use drugs or alcohol, you’re not alone. At some point in recovery, everyone must face the difficult task of learning to ease back into normal life and fun activities while simultaneously protecting your progress.

Luckily, there are some tips and tricks that help with this balancing act. 

Tips for preventing relapse

Whether you’re in recovery or supporting a loved one who is working to overcome addiction, we’ve got some helpful advice for avoiding relapse in recovery.

1. Write down your aspirations

When you’re setting out on the road to recovery, direction is essential. Writing concrete goals regarding your sobriety is not only a core component of your treatment, but also critical to establishing personal aims.

Are you longing to travel or focused on going back to school? Is your main goal to get out of debt or create art? Brainstorm or journal your goals for your life. These will direct you towards the best ways to have fun in recovery while keeping relapse prevention in mind.

2. Lean on your support team

Members of your treatment team and peer support system are eager to help you expand your recovery into the real world. They’ll be happy to help you plan for relapse prevention activities and may even have resources to get you started.

3. Take note of your triggers

One of the keys to avoiding relapse while enjoying normal life is to assess potential triggers before, during and after new activities. Triggers can pop up anywhere, anytime, but that doesn’t mean some can’t be avoided.

For example, if you struggle to overcome triggers to drink in social situations, attending events where you know alcohol is heavily involved, such as sports games, may have to stay on hold. Or if you’re interested in hiking with a local group, make sure the atmosphere is a sober one.

Additionally, be mindful of and sensitive to other people’s triggers. Your peers in recovery may have different triggers that are hard to predict.

4. Have an accountability partner

Whether you choose a mentor, a sponsor or a trusted loved one, it’s important to have a companion outside of professional therapy that encourages your sobriety and can help hold you accountable. While your buddy is not responsible for preventing relapse, he or she can help you remain focused on your own goals and remind you why you’re committed to staying clean.

5. Keep your life balanced

Stress can be a trigger for drug or alcohol use, so a big part of relapse prevention is remembering that these tasks should feel like leisure, not a chore. Keeping busy can be a positive for your recovery, but don’t stretch yourself too thin. If cramming your calendar full of newfound hobbies causes more tension than it’s worth, it’s time to decrease the number of engagements or reevaluate whether you’re enjoying how you spend your time.

Relapse prevention activities

If you’re ready to help your loved one find fun activities that don’t jeopardize sobriety, here are a few relapse prevention activities to explore.

Swimming

Water aerobics, playing an aquatic sport or simply swimming laps have excellent benefits for your physical as well as mental health. Swimming engages all of your muscles with minimal tension on your joints. If your body is weary from the physical toll of addiction, swimming is a great choice for you. In addition, “feel good” endorphins released during exercise can help boost your mood.

Reading

Picking up a good book is a healthy way to escape and unwind. Reading or listening to audiobooks can help you to relax, take a mental break and engage your mind. 

Taking an art class

In recovery from substance use disorder, a creative outlet can help you to process and express your experiences in a positive way. If you’re eager to rejoin the social scene after leaving behind negative influences, taking an art class might help you find new friends as well.

Spending time in nature

Getting out in the fresh air is sure to bring you gratitude and peace. There are endless ways to appreciate nature. Even a quick walk around the block can have a significant impact on your daily mood and outlook.

Finding a spiritual practice

Even if you aren’t religious, recovery is a great time to find a new spiritual practice or recommit to an old one. In recovery, you’re naturally becoming more mindful, contemplating your place in the world and how you impact and relate to others. This provides an opportunity to explore your own spirituality. 

Cooking

Preparing food is an easy daily activity that many people can enjoy. Whether you follow a cookbook or make up your own recipes, cooking can help you to eat healthier and care for your body. Nourishing yourself during recovery will make the journey easier and more fun.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to engaging in relapse prevention activities. Go ahead and try something new. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it! 

Ask for help if you’re struggling

If you have a loved one who is struggling to stay on track in recovery, it’s time to get help. Call Real Recovery Sober Living to get started.