Drinking is everywhere. Highly populated areas, urban areas, and college town areas are likely to have more bars per capita than any other type of area. Escaping drinking is a difficult task, if going out and having fun is still a priority. For many alcoholics, drinking was fun. Learning how to replace drinking with other fun activities is challenging for multiple reasons.
First, in early recovery especially, the brain is suffering from what feels like a shortage of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for making drinking feel good. Alcohol produces dopamine. Alcoholism produces a lot of dopamine, consistently. Sobriety does not mean the end of dopamine production, but it does mean the end of dopamine overproduction. Adjusting to normalized levels of dopamine can lead to feels of lethargy, depression, and boredom.
Second, alcohol acts as a ‘social lubricant’. Alcoholism develops for some out of a hidden need to feel more confident and included. Alcohol helps people loosen up and persuades them that this is the “real” them.
Third, fun drinking that turns into alcoholism usually doesn’t end in a party. Getting more drunk than friends, getting in trouble, causing harm, hurting loved ones, financial instability, impaired health and brain function…the list can go on.
Life can and will be fun again without alcohol, even when the immediate environment promotes otherwise. With some creative thinking, any time can be turned into a good time.
Some people simply cannot go back to a bar. Others can go for the right reasons, but it may take years to be comfortable there. Today, trendy bars are including more fun than just booze and dancing. Team games, trivia, art, and other interactive activities are becoming a normal part of a bar scene.
There are plenty of events that aren’t alcohol-focused. Alcohol is a common bond, so it will likely be present in most places. Look for other fun events like roller skating, bowling, and other activities. Don’t be afraid to try new things, feel a little awkward, or even look silly doing it. Getting out of a comfort zone can lead to a memorable night.
Sunlight hours provide endless opportunities. Look for what nature has to offer. Water activities, bike rides, land activities, or even going for a long walk, are ways to enjoy a day outside without drinking.
Sound Recovery Solutions helps the men in our intensive outpatient programs for drug and alcohol build a set of practical life skills so that no challenge goes unmet. Life is met to be lived. Learn how to do it with us. For more information call 561-666-7427 today. We’re ready to help you change your life.