10 Sober Activities for Addiction Recovery

Sober living is not always easy. It can be difficult to transition from a lifestyle of misusing drugs and alcohol to complete abstinence after completing an addiction treatment program. When you enter recovery, you need structure, routine, positive support, and even things such as sober activities to partake in–all of which have not been a part of your previous life.

Why Finding Sober Activities Are Important

Early recovery can make you feel like you are on a roller coaster of emotions. Boredom and free time can be dangerous during this time when you may feel overwhelmed by obsessive thoughts, triggers, and cravings. Sober activities can help you navigate addiction recovery. They consist of individual or group activities that distract you from recovery stressors and simultaneously provide the support you need to stay sober.

Sober activities are things you do or participate in that offer you some reward. In recovery, the reward is preventing relapse. Sober activities do more than prevent relapse, however. They can help you learn something new, lead to better health, and make you feel good. They can even give you that thrill you desire.

Below are ten sober activities for addiction recovery.

1. Learn More About Addiction

Knowledge is power. It’s hard to fight something when you know nothing about it. Learning about the disease of addiction gives you insight into your brain and how it reacts to drugs or alcohol. You also learn the numerous risk factors that place you at risk for developing a substance use disorder. Knowing this helps you replace risk factors with protective factors that help you prevent relapse.

2. Give Back to Your Community

You probably don’t feel like volunteering or giving back to your community in early recovery. Do it anyway. Reports from Harvard indicate volunteering is linked to positive physical and mental health. It makes you feel socially connected and eases depression and loneliness. It also lowers stress and improves blood pressure, among other health benefits. If you love animals, volunteer at an animal rescue.

3. Practice a Skill

You have likely thought about learning a new skill or improving a talent. Whether learning to play a musical instrument, cooking or baking, painting, writing, building, or learning a new language, now is the time to do it. Learning a new skill includes improving brain chemistry, distracting you from triggers and cravings, and fighting boredom.

4. Attend a Sober Event

Events occur every day that do not involve the misuse of drugs or alcohol. Sporting events, concerts, theatrical plays, movies, and sober support groups are just a few examples. Ask a sober friend or fellow support group member to attend an event with you. If you live in an area with less activity, try starting something of your own.

5. Start Something Positive

Just because it is not available now doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If you can’t find the right support group that addresses all your needs, start one with another person in recovery. If you can’t find an exercise group to join, create one. When starting something new, don’t try to do it alone. Form a committee in which everyone plays a role versus everything falling onto your shoulders. Feeling overwhelmed can be a trigger.

6. Relax

Recovery can be stressful. You are relearning how to do everything without the aid of substances. In addition, you encounter daily triggers that tempt you to relapse. Too much stress can negatively impact your mental and physical health and jeopardize your sobriety. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, sleep hygiene, and learning to let go of the things out of your control support relaxation and stress management.

7. Find Your Spiritual Side

There is a reason programs like Alcoholics Anonymous encourage members to build a relationship with a Higher Power. You can express your spiritual connections in whatever way suits you best. The key is to discover the benefits spirituality offers, like forgiveness of yourself and others, accepting responsibility, being held accountable, showing gratitude, and finding your purpose.

8. Find an Outdoor Adventure

Getting outdoors and participating in activities can boost your mood, ease depression and reduce anxiety. When you are outdoors, your body is moving and getting exercise, even if it is not strenuous. You also take in vitamin D and nutrients from the sun. All these results lower stress.

9. Laugh

Laughing is a process that involves multiple brain areas, including emotions that allow you to get a joke and find it humorous. The brain also uses cognition to process something funny, triggering muscles that make you smile. Laughter boosts mood and releases muscle tension. It also reduces stress by lowering hormones such as cortisol.

10. Hang Out with Family and Friends

You don’t always have to be engaged in an activity or attend an event to maintain sobriety. Sometimes, you just need the support of friends and family who love you and want to help you prevent relapse. Being more social with loved ones enables you to reconnect and rebuild your relationships that were damaged by the misuse of alcohol or drugs.


Addiction recovery is a lifelong process. Don’t try to rush it. Instead, incorporate activities to build a sober lifestyle that will last. Here are some final tips for addiction recovery:

  • If you slip up, seek treatment immediately to get back on track.
  • Don’t beat yourself up emotionally if you slip. It happens to most people. The key is to get back on track.
  • Be honest with yourself. If you are thinking about relapse, be honest about it. Reach out to someone who understands and can help you work through your thoughts and cravings.
  • Expand your support network. The more sober people you hang around, the better your chances of avoiding relapse. If you choose to hang around people with an active substance use disorder, your chances of relapsing are higher.
  • Keep a recovery mindset. Your thoughts influence your actions. If you constantly think you will relapse, you will likely relapse. If you think you will stay sober, you will.

Make your recovery a priority. Join counselors, peers, friends, family, and others in sober activities for addiction recovery. You can find ways to achieve long-term sobriety.

Ready to start your sobriety journey? Reach out to us at the Mental Health Center.