We all have our reasons for going alcohol-free. Some abstain from alcohol for their mental health, others may be pregnant or living a life of sobriety, and some folks just don’t enjoy drinking alcohol. If you are new to being sober or sober-curious, you may be wondering, How can I have fun without drinking?
The good news is that there are plenty of sober activities and options for things to do instead of drink. Life doesn’t have to be boring just because your free time doesn’t include alcohol use. We’ve compiled a list of things for you to try during your next dry month or to include in your current sober lifestyle.
Ways to Relax
Clocking out of the office and heading to the local happy hour is a very popular way to relax after a grueling workday. Skipping that glass of wine for some self-care can be a great way to kick off a dry January (or any month!) and give your body and mind the care they deserve.
What is there to do instead of drinking to relax? There are plenty of ways to relax without alcohol, including massage, yoga, unwinding with a book or podcast, or journaling.
1. Spa & Wellness Day
Nothing is more relaxing than a day at the spa! Instead of buying drinks every evening at the bar, take the money you save and treat yourself to a massage or facial.
2. Listen to a Podcast
Depending on the subject matter, podcasts can be a great way to wind down on your commute home or after a long day. Podcasts are meant to provide a break from reality and give your brain a pause, they can even be quite inspiring. If you can’t find one that you’re interested in, you can also try a playlist of calming sounds or music.
3. Try Journaling
Journaling is a proven way to release stress, and you don’t need to have a drink to write! According to the American Psychological Association, there are therapeutic benefits to writing, and studies have shown that it boosts immune systems, as well as minds.
Things to Occupy Your Mind
We spend so much of our extra time on weekends and evenings at the bar, only to have the following day be clouded in a headache. Whatever your relationship with alcohol looks like, it can be beneficial to find something new to occupy your mind.
Meditation connections your mind and body. It takes practice but meditation brings peace and calm to the mind, while at the same time enhancing focus and physical and emotional well-being.
5. Learn a New Language
Parlez-vous français? No? Learning a new language improves cognitive function. And who knows? Maybe that trip abroad is closer than you think with the money you’re saving during your dry month!
6. Read a Book
Let your imagination paint the scene as you read through a novel. Reading improves your cognitive function, builds your vocabulary, and has also helped fight depression! If fiction stories aren’t for you, a non-fiction book can help you learn a new skill or gain insight on a new topic. Free sites like GoodReads can help you find your next page-turner.
Sober Social Activities
Drinking is a social activity for many people, so it may feel like a challenge to give it up. But you and your friends don’t have to involve drinking to have a good time. Here are some ways to maintain a social calendar while you’re exploring sobriety.
7. Explore a New Hobby
During the pandemic, we were able to explore some hobbies solo, and our curiosity has led to classes related to specialized hobbies popping up all over. You can learn a new recipe at a cooking class with your friends, head to the local plant shop for a gardening seminar, or explore your creative side at a pottery studio.
Making a difference in the lives of others is not only a social activity, but a rewarding and soul-enriching activity too. Try helping out at your local soup kitchen, walking dogs at the animal shelter, or organizing the shelves at the food bank. Volunteering gives a sense of purpose and non-profits are always grateful for extra hands.
Not sure where to start? Check out VolunteerMatch.org for opportunities.
9. Join a Gym or Fitness Class
Get double the health benefits from ditching the bottle of wine and joining a fitness club. Gyms aren’t for everyone, but there are plenty of exercise options out there. Try a new martial art like boxing or jiu jitsu, or join a running club and be social while you get your sweat on.
10. Have Game Night
Who doesn’t love game night? The board game scene has really taken off. Invite your friends over on Friday night for a sober party with your favorite board games, or have a poker night with non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of snacks!
If you want to try a new game, there are tons of board game review channels on YouTube, and sites dedicated to rating games. BoardGameGeek is a great resource for finding new games with how-to videos and player recommendations.
11. Check out Live Entertainment
Not drinking doesn’t mean not going out on a Friday or Saturday night. Grab tickets to a comedy show, sporting event, or go see a live band!
What are some fun things to do with friends without drinking? There are plenty of fun sober things to do with friends! Some of our favorite sober social activities include:
- Try new hobbies
- Sign up for a fitness class
- Play some games
- Go to some live events
- Learn to make mocktails for a sober party
If your friends aren’t as sober-curious as you are, the classes and volunteering options come with the bonus of meeting new people.
Alcohol-Free Outdoor Activities
Spending some time in nature is always a great way to recenter yourself. Nature is wonderful as is, so no need for alcohol to tag along on these adventures.
12. Explore Your Town
Trek around your town and take in the little things that you may often pass right by in your daily routine. Walking or taking a bike ride lets you get fresh air and appreciate your home’s unique traits.
13. Try Camping
Sleep under the stars for a night or two. Camping is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. See if you can recreate that new recipe from the cooking class over an open fire! We promise there’s a campground near you. Recreation.gov can help you find the perfect park!
14. Go Hiking
Get exercise and while getting to know Mother Earth! Hiking trails range in difficulty from flat greenways to rocky inclines on mountainsides. You can also choose the length you want to hike. You may even find a local foraging class to learn a bit more about the area you’re traversing!
What to Do at Night
This section is for those who have a tough time falling asleep at night. Taking a pause from alcohol may be the start of breaking bad habits, like that extra glass or two before bed.
15. Try a Bedtime Tea
While black and green teas are associated with caffeine, there are many herbal teas that have been used as natural sleep wellness remedies for decades. Find some comfort in a glass of chamomile or valerian root tea.
16. Stick to a Routine
Have a routine to follow before bed. Disconnect from social media and put down the electronics. Try breathing, llight yoga, or some aromatherapy. After a week or so, your body will start to recognize the bedtime routine and you’ll feel sleepy in no time.
17. Draw a Warm Bath
A warm bath an hour before bed can make you feel relaxed and tired. The water heats up your body and as you cool down the temperature drop mimics the same temperature drop that happens during melatonin production.
18. Check Out a Sleep App
We know we just said to put away the electronics at bedtime, but hear us out. If you need some background noise to fall asleep, there are some apps designed to help! This roundup from Sleep Foundation will set you on the right track to finding the perfect white noise — or meditation, or bedtime story — to send you off to sleep.
Things to Help You Stay On Track
Whether you are sober-curious, abstaining from alcohol, or joining Surely’s Dry Month Challenge, it can be tough at times to stay on track. Here are some things you can do to stay focused on your sobriety goals!
19. Transform Your Space
Make your house your home. Use the extra time to make a vision board and transform your space into your sanctuary. How you transform your space is up to you. You can declutter or invest in new decor, whatever you need to do in order to associate your space with happy thoughts.
20. Craft Your Own Mocktails
What happens if you get a craving? Try a mocktail! You can craft your own mocktails at home or try grabbing a can of Surely’s Non-Alcoholic Rose Spritz!
21. Splurge on Dessert
Going out to dinner with friends can be rough when everyone else is enjoying their cocktails. Treat yourself to that special dessert or your favorite appetizer instead of indulging in an alcoholic beverage.
22. Call a Loved One
If you are having a hard time with your dry month, dont’ hesitate to phone a friemd. Having a chat and catching up with an old friend or family member can end up cheering both of you up. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction or need help finding a treatment center, contact these support providers:
Are You Ready?
Your reasons for abstaining from alcohol are your own and they are valid. Just know there are plenty of entertaining activities to replace the time spent drinking — or recovering after a night of drinking. A break from alcohol can allow you to build a better relationship with yourself, recognize your habits, and lead to more mindful drinking if you decide to break your sobriety.
If you love wine, you can skip the alcohol without skipping the wine thanks to Surely! Want the antioxidant boost without the headache? Try our pinot noir, or if you’re more of a bubbles fan, grab our 4 pack of canned brut.