Today's post is the last in a series of articles about drug and alcohol addiction and recovery. I hope you've found inspiration, helpful information and useful resources in the series so far. This last post is intended to help those who've found recovery and are thinking "Okay, I got sober, now what?" Please enjoy Part Four of this Four-Part Addiction and Recovery Series...
As a young adult in Los Angeles, it can feel like all social activities revolve around drinking – that’s because most of them do! And it’s not just bars and clubs anymore, as you’ve probably noticed, many brunch places are offering bottomless mimosa specials, encouraging binge drinking in the morning and it’s not uncommon for groups of friends to order pitchers of beer at lunch. For someone trying to live a sober lifestyle – due to recovery from addiction or for other reasons – this can make it challenging to go out with friends for social outings without finding themselves completely triggered. I totally understand this feeling – I decided to give up drinking for health reasons about 2 years ago – and have developed the following list based on lifestyle changes that I made to support my decision:
1 | Plan a beach day
Southern California is known for its beautiful beaches, so why not take advantage of them? Recommending a beach day to your friends can be a great opportunity to spend time outdoors, engage in some fun play, get active and load up on some vitamin D. And with so much fun to be had at the beach, there’s really no need to involve alcohol. Here is a great list of the best beaches in L.A. to check out. Not sure what to do when you get there? Take a look at this exhaustive list of fun activities to do at the beach.
2 | Hit a trail
One of my favorite social activities to do in Los Angeles is hiking. Most people don’t associate L.A. with nature, mountains, trees and trails...but guess what? There’s an awesome hiking scene here, if you know where to look! Not only do we have some urban hikes right in the middle of the city, but just a short drive away we also have more challenging and remote hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains. Since drinking and hiking are a challenging combo, most people will be happy to hit the trails sober! There will always be those people who want to go out drinking afterwards to celebrate or open a beer at the summit, but it’s easy to say you need to hydrate with water, instead. My favorite post-hike drink is coconut water, which I keep chilled in the car in a cooler.
3 | Go bowling, find an arcade or play mini-golf
I’m a total sucker for games. They hit some of the main food-groups for me in terms of fun – they’re social, they’re active and they can get a little competitive, too! Some of these venues can have a bar attached to them, but since the group’s main focus is on the game, it’s easier to abstain. If things get a bit rowdy and you find yourself triggered, you can excuse yourself at any time! My favorite places to go are X-Lanes and Castle Park.
4 | Have a picnic
A fun, social idea that’s also more cost-effective than going out to eat is having a picnic! Invite a group of friends out to a park on a nice day and have a potluck-style lunch, where everyone brings something to contribute. Since drinking in parks is illegal, hopefully no one will bring alcohol to begin with. But to ensure that you have something non-alcoholic to drink, you can bring a cooler with healthy drinks in it. This will also give others the opportunity to abstain, as well. Check out this great compilation of best picnic spots in L.A.
5 | Check out a MeetUp group
If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know I’m a huge proponent of MeetUp for many reasons! It’s a great resource for making friends, developing new skills, getting fit, networking for your business and participating in your preferred hobbies. An added bonus to the groups is that there are limitless activities that don’t involve any drinking. Also, the people I’ve met though MeetUp have been high-quality friends and colleagues. I recommend you give it a shot!
I hope these tips have given you a jolt of inspiration for your social life outside of drinking. What I find most important about this process is finding a group of folks who are interested in living an intentional life that doesn’t rely on substances for fun. The friends I’ve made in these circles don’t judge my decision to not drink, and in fact support the healthy lifestyle that it’s a part of. Are you on a journey towards eliminating or reducing alcohol consumption? What has worked for you in terms of social outings? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.
For those of you who read this entire series on Addiction and Recovery, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. If there was anything particularly useful, I'd like to know. If there was anything missing that you'd still like clarification on, I'd be more than happy to answer your questions and respond to your comments. Thanks in advance!
about the author
Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.