Going sober: How to have fun without drink & drugs  

The image is split in two: the left side shows a young person sitting under some trees looking relaxed. The other side shows two young people smoking and drinking. This represents the choice to go teetotal or party less

So you’re going sober or wanting to cut down on boozing and/or taking drugs? Great for you! We’re all for that. But we know it’s not easy – beyond the cravings, the most difficult thing about deciding to go sober is often knowing how to fill your time without partying, especially if your mates are all still at it. 

Whether you’re recovering from addiction, or are just trying to party less, we have tips and tricks to get you to your happy place without drink and drugs.  

I don’t know what the hell to do with myself now I’m sober  

We hear you. So much of our social lives revolve around partying so when we stop, we often feel at a loss. But we challenge you to see this as an opportunity – think of all that extra free time you’ll have, think of all those non-hungover mornings, think of all that money you’ll have saved – this is your time to explore the real you. 

Get a pen and paper and note down some things you’re interested in that don’t require drink and drugs. This could include…

  • Activism – what do you care about? What would you like to change about the world? Is it racism? Climate change? Homelessness? Being part of an activist group can give us real purpose – and purpose is the ultimate distraction from addiction. Take a look on Google and social media to find local groups to get involved with. 
  • Reconnecting with nature – nature is so important for our wellbeing, but we’re often pretty disconnected from it. If you feel some time connecting with nature could fill the gap of drink and drugs, try going for a hike, join a foraging walk, go camping, or plant some seeds!
  • A creative hobby – if you can find a creative hobby that really feels like you, this can become as addictive as the booze and drugs you’re trying to kick – just without the consequences. Now’s the time to start that band, to join a life drawing class, to sign up to a photography course. 
  • Sign up to an organised sports challenge – whether this is a 5k park run, a tough mudder, or a full-on marathon, these events where you’re working towards something can be a major motivator to stay off drink and drugs. 

All my mates are still partying – what do I do? 

If your friendship group is big on partying this can be really tricky – you may find you’re happy to continue hanging out with your friends sober or you may decide you need to take a break from them. It’s tough taking a break from friends, but try to put yourself first and think about what’s best for you. You could try:

  • Reaching out to friends who you know aren’t so big into partying 
  • Arranging to see your friends in the daytime or for an activity where you know drinking or taking drugs isn’t an option 
  • Talking to your friends and explaining why you’ve decided to go sober, or take a break from partying. They should respect your decision and be supportive of this. If not, perhaps that’s your cue to take a break from them

I miss feeling high 

There’s no denying that drinking and drugs can be fun and when we first go sober, it can feel like there’s something missing. 

But did you know, the happy brain chemicals that drink and drugs release can also be released without substances – clever brains. The following things have been scientifically proven to make us feel naturally ‘high’. 

  • Dancing. Just because you’re not on the drink and drugs, doesn’t mean you can’t go dancing. Try sober clubbing, a dance class or simply letting loose in your kitchen/bedroom/living room to your favourite tunes. 
  • Exercising. Getting in a sweat is one of the easiest ways to release those happy brain chemicals. Try starting your day with a run, a swim or a yoga class – that feel-good factor will be carried through your day. 
  • Laughing. Laughing is the ultimate trick for releasing happy brain chemicals – it’s been proven to lower stress and even help people overcome depression and anxiety. Seek out your funniest friend, reminisce about something that really got you lolling and don’t underestimate the power of watching something funny on telly. 
  • Volunteering. It’s been proven that doing things for others can make us feel good. Have a look at your local volunteer groups and see what takes your fancy (check out The Mix’s volunteering roles)

Hopefully you can see that going sober doesn’t have to mean having a dry life in every sense of the word. This is your time to explore life, to find the things that make you feel happy and whole (without a comedown at the end of it). 

If you want some more tips on how to go sober and the benefits it can have, take a look at this real life story.

Next Steps

  • Release offers free and confidential advice on everything to do with drugs and drugs law. 0845 4500 215
  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Addaction helps people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Olivia Capadose

Updated on 06-Jul-2022

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