How Can I have Fun without Drugs or Alcohol?

I’ve had many clients say to me , “It’s impossible for me to have fun without being high or drunk or being sober is so boring.”   At first yes it probably is boring to do things without being high, I mean if being high didn’t make you feel good, people wouldn’t do it.   There is  good news there are a number of strategies and resources at your disposal that can help you limit your substance use and get involved in substance-free activities where you can have a good time.   You don’t have to set out on this challenge alone– it’s okay to reach out to a supportive friend, relative, or a professional, who can help you stay on course.

As you begin to reduce your substance use, take some time to reflect on what makes you feel happy and fulfilled. Sharpening your awareness of your social, professional, and spiritual interests can go a long way towards finding activities that excite you and people who share your interests outside of substance use. Consider these suggestions to get you started: organizations that work toward a cause in which you strongly believe, athletic groups, political campaigns, reading circles, writing and theatrical clubs When you find what you’re into, you might also invite your current group of friends to join you in some fun without substances. Getting involved in these types of activities may also pave the way to new friendships that don’t revolve around on using substances. Here are more ideas you can enjoy  by yourself or with others.

  •  Work out at the gym, try a new group exercise class, or plan to go running or walking outside.
  •  Visit museums or take a trip to a zoo or aquarium (any of which may offer discounted admission for students or on certain days).
  •  Try being a tourist in your own city and find the hidden treasures  by exploring new neighborhoods.
  •  Try perusing websites like meetup.com to find other people in your area that share your interests. If you don’t find a group that you’re into, you can have like-minded individuals seeking you out by creating a special-interest group of your own.

It’s also understandable that you may want to still see your friends who still use.  If they were even your friends in the first place. Most of the time, you are useless to your addict friends if you quit..  It is possible to avoid the temptations of  alcohol or other substances.. By engaging in some pre-planning before a night out, you can think ahead about how much you want to consume (if at all) and how to politely decline offers of alcohol or anything else  that might come your way. Start by thinking about how you’d ideally like to handle a situation when someone offers or encourages you to have a drink or take a hit. Some responses could include: “Thanks, but I’m cutting back for a while,” or “No, I have a drug test tomorrow.” It may also help to let others know that you’ve set a personal limit for the night or have stopped using if you find that helps you stick to your plan.  There are also activities you can do that may help you check in with your internal state and strengthen your resolve to limit your substance use. Learning yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and other relaxation techniques have helped many on the same road to coping  with stress resulting from this change in lifestyle, as well as provide motivation for improving mind-body health.

Remember, reducing any degree of psychological or physical dependence on substances takes time, and can be achieved through measured reductions in use.   In addition to filling your time with other activities and interests, it’s a good idea to  consider speaking with a counselor or therapist.  A therapist or counselor can help you define specific goals regarding your use, including how much you’d like to cut back and at what pace, which may make for a transition.

Best of luck on the road to personal change

When your friend is using drugs

Finding out that your friend  is using drugs can be very troubling because you might feel unable to help them however there are ways you can be supportive and helpful and hopefully your friend will get the help they need to move onto the road to recovery.

Many times our friends won’t appreciate our advice  especially if they are using drugs however telling  the truth to help someone close to you is part of being a real friend, even when it’s hard to do.

  • Find out if your friend is experimenting with drugs, or if he may be addicted. If your friend is addicted they will need extra support.
  • Understand that addiction is a brain disease. Just like you wouldn’t expect someone with cancer to be able to heal herself without the help of a doctor, the right treatment, and support from family and friends, you can’t expect your friend to heal herself from addiction without support and help.
  • Know that it is never easy for anyone to admit that they have a drug problem. Try  to be patient and not give up easily.
  • Listen. If he talks to you, just be there for him. Admitting a problem and talking to someone about it  is very hard,  listen to what he has to say about his drug use without making judgments.
  • Encourage. If you and your friend are under 18, suggest that she talk to an adult she trusts – a coach or teacher, a school counselor, a relative, or a doctor.
  • Inform. When he’s ready to make a change and seek treatment, help him find a doctor, therapist, support group, or treatment program.
  • Support. Don’t give up on your friend, even if she isn’t ready to get help. Keep reaching out. Encourage them to get treatment, and support them along the way – that’s the best way to help someone you care about who is struggling with addiction.
  • It’s tough having a friend with addiction issues, it’s important to get support for yourself  if you need it.

When the people we care about make bad choices, it can be frustrating, confusing, and  depressing.  Remember  we should be there for our friends, and offer support as they journey onto recovery.