Treatment is over. After 30, 60, or 90 days without substance abuse, where does a recovering addict go to have a good time? All that time spent in serving the master called "addiction" can now be spent doing things that are pleasurable and enjoyable. Working to find activities to keep a newly recovering addict engaged in his or her life on a new, healthier level is good, but finding the right fit can be challenging.
Family gatherings and social functions with friends can seem overwhelming at first, but will become enjoyable once recovering addicts learn that they can attend them without participating in the drinking or drugging behavior that may still flourish around them. A good friend or sponsor may be a good companion on the early explorations into family functions if the recovering addict is not attending with a spouse or other family member. Places that were not considered fun before now hold larger appeal without the necessity of addictive substances being present. For those who participate in 12-step groups, there may be dances, parties, card games, picnics, campouts, and other events that are held for the group. These make great practice runs for members who have never done these activities without substance abuse.
Then there are conferences and conventions of large groups of recovery community members, most held annually in various locations. These can be exciting or overwhelming, depending on the member and their comfort level with large gatherings. There are generally meetings held throughout the weekend event, which can be reinforcing for the newly recovering person. Being part of these large gatherings can give someone new to recovery a sense of belonging that is different from that experienced in their normal support group.
Travel to other areas can be made comfortable by attendance at new groups in the area being visited. This is a great way to make friends in other parts of the state, country, or internationally. Even cruise ships will generally have a member or two (sometimes a whole group) who will post notices for meetings during the cruise itself. Many groups put together cruises specifically designed for recovering people. And you can design vacation and tour packages that are tailored for those in recovery.
Other ideas that can stimulate the interest of newly recovering addicts are those that are offered by the higher-end treatment agencies. They engage clients in activities that may be new to them in order to find new ways of spending time and enjoying their newfound recovery. Some of healthy hobbies include yoga, surfing, sailing, mountain biking, hiking, jogging, meditation horseback riding, and many, many others.
Someone who is now clean is no longer bogged down by the commitment of finding the next high. This is a good time for those in recovery to get to know themselves and see what types of activities might spark an interest. Recovery can be looked at as an adventure, one they seldom were present enough to participate in previously.
Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions' counselor.