When people first get clean and sober, they often think that life will be boring.
They cannot imagine having any fun without being high or drunk, yet being an addict was no fun at all. Real fun in life comes to us when we are aware of what we are doing and make conscious choices that we will remember. There are many ways to have fun with your family, and they will enjoy it even more now that you are clean and sober!
Here are some ideas:
- Movie Night – You can find a movie that is playing that you will all enjoy. Going out to the movies can be pricey, but it is still probably less that the money that would have been spent on drugs or alcohol. You can even have movie night at home. Every Friday, I would have movie night with my children. We would lay a sheet out on the living room floor, and I’d make up a tray of snacks, letting them skip dinner. (I would try to sneak some healthy snacks on the tray). This was a treat for them because they got to eat snacks for dinner, and were permitted to eat in the living room. It was also a treat for me because I did not have to cook dinner, and was able to relax for two hours and just enjoy my children.
- Hiking – There are plenty of park areas and lots of places to explore, no matter where you live. It does not cost any money to throw on some hiking boots or sneakers and go for an adventure with the ones you love. Bring a camera and take some pictures!
- Join a gym – Go to the gym with your family. Even if your children are young, there are plenty of activities that you can do together, and gyms are open in all kinds of weather. It is a great way to burn up steam and it will tire the kids out. They will take that long nap when you get home, so that you and your spouse can have some quiet time. The YMCA is a great place to be a member. If funds are tight due to problems that arose due to your addiction, fret not. The YMCA has a scholarship program that allows people to become a member and pay according to income. Just ask anyone at the front desk. The paper is simple to fill out; all you need is last year’s income tax return. It takes about two weeks for them to process it, and they will give you a break. You and your family will be able to enjoy full membership at an affordable rate. They offer all kinds of classes, from swimming to yoga, to competitive sports. They accommodate people of all ages. You can time it so that you can take a class you enjoy while your children are in a class they enjoy. They even have childcare if you would like to take a class with your spouse. Look into it, you have nothing to lose!
- Grow a garden – This may sound corny, but I always have fun with my family when we grow our garden. Even if you live in an apartment, you can try growing some vegetables, herbs or fruit trees indoors. Starting early is the most fun, and the most economical. Save old egg cartons (the cardboard ones) for growing your plants from seed. Just lay out some newspaper over the floor, break out the seeds, the bag of soil, and the egg cartons. If you have a few children like I do, it works better to put each child in charge of their own plants—they love it and take care of them better. Simply sprinkle some dirt into each egg holder, sprinkle two to three seeds in each compartment, then cover it with dirt. Close the egg container to keep the moisture in, and keep it moist. Once the seeds begin to sprout, open the lid and place it in a sunny area. When the plants have reached a few inches in height, they will be ready to plant outside. I use the cardboard egg cartons because they are biodegradable. Break each section off and plant the whole thing in the dirt. There is no need to pull the plant out and risk damaging the tender roots. My children are usually excited for their plants to be placed outside to grow, so the chore of tilling the dirt and weeding the garden has never been much of an issue. Gardens are a good way to bond with your family, get some sun, get some exercise, and eat healthy foods. Watch and see how proud your children will be when their plants produce fruits and vegetables for the family to enjoy!
- Try new recipes – Looking for and trying new recipes can be a lot of fun. Everyone eats, and if you are a parent you have to cook anyway, so why not involve the kids and your partner? Children enjoy playing with food, and it is a good way to teach them how to cook. Planning meals together and eating as a family brings people closer and helps keep families together.
- Do a project together – This can be anything from building a bird house to remodeling a room. Get the entire family involved. You can learn something new, and everyone has their strengths to add. For instance, I am horrible at electronics, but my son is excellent at putting things together. My daughter is artistic, and my other son loves to read. Figure out everyone’s strong points, and the project will be fun and turn out great!
- Try a new activity – Do something new that you have never done before, or have not done for a long time. This can be anything from ice-skating, horse back riding, skiing to canoeing. When I got sober, I started taking my children ice-skating once a month. It was fun as we all tried to stay on our feet, and throughout the winter got better and more confident. Getting out there and doing something new is exhilarating and you can get lots of laughs from trying! It’s a great way to get moving and to have an activity to look forward to. Bonding with your family comes naturally when you are enjoying activities together.
- Go to the zoo – There are plenty of zoos in all areas in the United States. Most children love the zoo. I am not a great fan of zoos because I feel sorry for the animals held in captivity. There are many nature reserve areas you can visit with your family. These centers keep the animals in their natural habitat and are informative and a nice way to spend the day.
- Go to cafés – Cafés are popping up all over the place, taking the place of alcoholic bars. The days of hanging out at a bar, getting drunk while listening to live music are over, but so are the hangovers and the shame. Cafés are now the ‘in’ thing, and you can take your children and enjoy live music with your family. Most cafés offer smoothies and decaffeinated beverages, so your young ones can enjoy a drink, too!
- Go on an adventure – Take out a map or look up an area online, and go visit a town or city because you like the name. Let the entire family be in on choosing where to go. It’s a great way to see someplace new, learn new things, and spend time with the people you love.
Putting down the drug or drink is the first step. It is important to incorporate having fun into your daily life. There are many places to go and things to do once you have the time and money that would have been spent destroying yourself. Get creative, make plans, and go enjoy the world with your family!