Going Out, Without
“Going Back Out”
Throwing parties is fun and all, but it can be a lot of work sometimes. Plus, it can be hard to make sure that others come every time. Sometimes you just want to go out on the weekend and join in on the fun. Most of that fun is around drinking, though, and you are sober.
Guess you just have to stay home… cue sad music and personal rain cloud…
You can go out on the weekends without “going back out!” It sometimes seems as though all weekend fun is about drinking, but that simply isn’t true. The second installation of this Sober Activities blog series is a list of seven things you can go out and do on weekends that don’t involve drinking.
1. Go Bowling
Bowling is an old-school classic. Lots of bowling allies will turn up the pop music, turn down the lights, and spin a disco ball or two on the weekends. It’s a fun thing to do with friends, whether you’re rolling out strikes or you need the bumpers to hit a pin.
Maybe you’ll really get into it, form a team, and join a bowling league. You can have shirts made and buy each other engraved bowling balls for birthday presents. Or, you can keep it low key and go once and a while, when you want something novel to do on a Friday night.
2. Late Night Café
If you really think about it, what are people even doing in bars? They are sitting around talking to each other—this does not require alcohol! Find a café that is open late at night, bring a friend and get your favorite kind of coffee or tea.
Stay up late into the night, talking about life, philosophy, or relationships. Conversation is truly an art form, best practiced without slurred speech and slowed cognitive function—revel in it! If you tire of talking, some cafés do open mic nights or trivia, and you can always break out the board games.
3. See a Show
Get dolled up and go to shows around town. There are so many things going on that you have probably never even thought to check out. There are comedy clubs, improv shows, performance arts, poetry readings, plays, dance shows, operas, orchestras, and rock shows.
This can get expensive, of course, but think of how much money people are spending on booze at bars. Allocate your funds to something more cultured and entertaining. Also, there are a lot of free or cheap shows around if you look, like comedy open mics and community theater shows.
4. Join an Improv Group
Not everyone is cut out to join an improv group, but it’s good to try new things. Expand your comfort zone, make some new friends, and let go of your reservations. You will laugh more than you have laughed in years. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself and discover that you are actually hilarious.
Laughter is the best medicine and general silliness is under-rated. Improv engages the creative mind, which is too often hushed during our long work weeks. It feels good to let loose and access your inner goofball. You’ll feel better when you leave, which is more than I can say for the bar scene.
5. Rent a Karaoke Room
Obviously karaoke happens at bars and is often associated with drinking, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of listening to drunks slur the words and sing in pitches that don’t even sound human, rent a karaoke room with some friends. You won’t have to wait hours for your song or worry about embarrassing yourself in front of random strangers.
Singing is proven to be good for mental and physical health, improving lung function, blood flow, self-confidence, and lowering anxiety. Also, it’s fun!
6. Take a Class
There are thousands of classes you could take, but we’ll keep the weekend night vibe going. Think salsa or tango, or honestly any kind of ballroom dance. These usually happen in a dance club (I mean for actual dancing, not a night club), where people of all different levels will come after the class to dance. The floor is open at that point, so grab a partner and socialize with your new moves.
Some other ideas are cooking classes or painting classes. Expanding your mind is a great way to spend time—there are so many things to learn. In a class, you can meet new people and get some socializing in too.
7. Art Walks and Museum Days
Most cities have monthly events when galleries open their new shows—First Fridays or Third Thursdays maybe. People come out to walk from gallery to gallery and see the new exhibits. Some cities make a little festival of it, closing certain roads to cars, with vendors and street performers lining the paths. These are free events, and it’s a fun way to get out in the community.
If you like art, check out are free museum days too. Most museums have weekly or monthly free days for the public—get online and see when your local museums do this.
Going Out Sober Can Be Rad
Think about it this way: people who spend every weekend going to the bar or the club are missing out on a lot of rad stuff! They could be spending their free time learning something new, becoming more cultured, seeing art, and meeting new people who other than regulars at the bar.
As someone in recovery, you have so much opportunity to do all these things. It’s pretty awesome. You get to keep growing and improving yourself— and isn’t that what recovery is really all about?
Click here to read the third installation; Part Three: High on Exercise and the Great Outdoors.