After a loved one has gotten sober, their next hurdle is staying sober.
This can be particularly difficult when they find themselves in settings where they will be exposed to and tempted by their drug of choice or when they feel they have no other choice but to refrain from participating in social activities due to the presence of substances they are trying to avoid. At Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, we recommend that activities be planned that don’t include the use of alcohol or other substances.
Modifying Old Traditions
Perhaps there is already a wonderful family tradition in place, where everyone gathers together and enjoys each other’s company. Consider how conflicted the person in recovery could feel if they have years of memories gathered with their loved ones, but they can no longer safely attend because there is always a cooler of beer or bottles of liquor available and they are not sure they can resist the temptation.
To make things easier, a loved one can help them talk to the other participants who will be at the event about making the activity a sober one in the future. Hopefully, it is not as important to have alcohol present as it is to have the person in recovery able to attend.
Making New Traditions
If the other friends or family members at a scheduled activity aren’t onboard with making it a sober event, Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia suggests scheduling something else to do. Creating a new tradition where there won’t be the temptation to drink will keep the person in recovery from feeling left out.
This option may be preferable to an old tradition in some cases, as visiting places that are associated with the person’s drug of choice may be a trigger. If the person always has a beer when they go to a baseball game, for example, it might be better to avoid the stadium for the time being.
There are many ways to enjoy family time without the presence of alcohol or other drugs. For example:
1. Take a trip to the beach. Virginia has many beautiful beaches and the Washingtonian published a list of their favorites.
2. Visit a state or national park. There are 38 state and 22 national parks in Virginia.
3. Host a spa day at home. Check out Pinterest or YouTube for ideas.
4. Go camping. Campgrounds and parks are often great places to reconnect with nature.
5. Take a class together. Exercising, painting, photography, cooking, and many other options are available.
6. Start or join a book club. Pick a topic and read books related to it. Get together over coffee to discuss what you read.
7. Schedule a standing date to see a movie together.
8. Animal rescues, homeless shelters, food pantries, nursing homes, and many other locations need volunteers.
9. Get friends or family members together to belt out some tunes during a night of sober karaoke.
10. Walk together. No matter how short on cash a person is, taking a stroll is a good option.
11. Plant a garden. Three of the best things for maintaining sobriety—a healthy diet, exercise and communing with nature—come together in this one activity.
12. Visit a museum. Virginia has numerous wonderful museums. Depending where you are in the state or if you are ready to take a road trip, it may not be far to visit the free Smithsonian museums in Washington DC.
13. Invite friends or family members to play board or video games together.
14. Find a local zoo or aquarium to visit.
15. Host a movie night at home. Instead of spending money at the theater, fire up Netflix, Hulu or a Redbox movie.
16. Go ice skating.
17. Plan an awards show party. If your loved ones are enthusiastic about the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, etc., host a gathering to watch together
18. Enjoy a theme park.
19. Make ice cream. Ice cream makers can often be found for as little as $30 or look on YouTube or Pinterest for fun ways to make ice cream without an ice cream maker.
20. Have a picnic. Find a nice spot to enjoy a meal together in the great outdoors.
21. Spend a day checking out garage sales, thrift stores or flea markets.
22. Host a themed meal. Whether everyone is dressing like it’s the 20s, enjoying a Hawaiian luau, or impersonating their favorite celebrity, this can be a new spin on a dinner party.
23. Go tubing on the water in warm weather or on the snow in cold weather.
24. Go bowling or join a bowling league.
25. Set a goal together. Maybe it’s training for a run, or losing a few pounds or increasing your savings, but if you’re doing it together, there is more accountability and support.
It really doesn’t matter what you do together, as long as the person in recovery feels loved, supported, and able to enjoy themselves without being exposed to situations that will increase their risk of relapse. Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, can help people who are trying to recover from addiction and their loved ones devise strategies to enjoy each other’s company without alcohol and drugs around to trigger a relapse.