50 Fun Realistic Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Are you in recovery and searching for fun things to do instead of drugs? Same. But I grew tired of the lists with activities like parasailing and white water rafting for alternatives to getting high. Maybe those things are fun but not realistic options for daily deterrents to alcohol abuse and drug addiction. So what activities will make you feel good without using drugs? Many people relieve stress by learning new things and spending quality time with loved ones.

So whether you’re a recovering alcoholic or an addict in active addiction, I hope you find something on this list of things to do that entertains you. Please remember that there are outpatient treatment programs and inpatient treatment facilities if you’re struggling with addiction and need help. The first step is admitting it to yourself and someone else so you can get the services you need to get clean and healthy. Here are fifty fun alternatives to active drug addiction and alcohol abuse. You’ve got this.

Fun Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Finding fun things to do instead of drugs is critical to maintaining a relapse prevention plan. Replacing drugs and alcohol with sober activities is your first step toward success.

1. Try a New Healthy Recipe

Finding fun things to do instead of drugs is critical to maintaining a relapse prevention plan. Replacing drugs and alcohol with sober activities is your first step toward success. In addition, something is satisfying about nourishing your body after depleting it of so much. Is there something you’ve never tried but want to know how it tastes? Take time to enjoy the preparation before savoring the tasty reward. Make healthier choices, try a new recipe, and enjoy a good meal.

2. Enjoy a Hobby

Do you have a hobby? Great! Indulge it. If you don’t have a hobby, then find one. What type of activities do you enjoy? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never made time to try? Spending time doing something you’re passionate about is a brilliant part of recovery. It distracts your mind from obsessing about substance use, especially in the beginning stages of recovery. That is a critical time for developing new habits and hobbies.

3. Have Lunch with a Friend

Catch up with a friend or family member over lunch or dinner. Without a doubt, we live in a predominantly virtual world and often put off spending real time with people. So take time to reconnect with a loved one in person. Alternatively, you can pack a lunch and visit a park together.

4. Arts and Crafts

Do you enjoy doing arts and crafts? I do! Consider taking a painting or ceramics class to spark creativity. Or choose from hundreds of adult crafting activities, including candle making, macrame, and wood burning.

5. Go on an Adventure

All right. So there’s still room on this list to take up parasailing or white water rafting. Go on an adventure. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do or see? Discovering new and unfamiliar territory surrounding your home is a fun adventure. Furthermore, it’s easy to make these adventures kid-friendly. For example, visit a museum or take them to a zoo. Other local experiences include National parks and tourist destinations. In other words, become a tourist in your state and uncover new truths about your home.

6. Learn Something New

Find something new to engage your mind and time. Learning new things can help keep your mind occupied from obsessing about relapse. What do you want to learn? You can learn a new language, automotive care, crafting, or a new trade skill set. YouTube is your best friend for do-it-yourself tutorials.

7. Watch a Documentary

In the same fashion as learning, watch a documentary. There are two types of documentaries that are my go-to. Firstly, the ones that give me a window to peek into someone else’s story. Sometimes spending a couple of hours in someone else’s shoes helps put perspective on your own walk in life. Secondly, the documentary educates you about things you wouldn’t otherwise know. For example, how things work. Or discover new social issues that you should be informed about.

8. Throw a Drug and Alcohol-Free Party

Celebrate recovery by throwing a drug and alcohol-free party. Have you been to a party without substances? My only sober party experiences were baby showers. So what does that party look like to you? Do you want to host a game night or have a movie marathon? Will your party have a theme? Personally, a The Office-themed party sounds incredible. Can you imagine sober karaoke fun and handing out Dundies to your best friends? That sounds like a good time.

9. Make a Scrapbook

Create a scrapbook of fun-filled sober memories. Or perhaps a family scrapbook to gift to your children one day. Making a scrapbook is a fun, artistic expression of love. 


Exercising Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Exercising is excellent for both your physical and mental health. Exercising releases endorphins that energize you and make you feel better. Do you already exercise? Or are you ready to start feeling better? Great! Here are a few exercise things to do instead of drugs to boost a natural high while taking care of your body. Also, having a sober exercise buddy may make this more fun.

10. Take a Walk

Walking is the perfect way to get fresh air and clear your head. Walk around the neighborhood. Or venture to the nearest hiking trail and explore the world around you.

11. Go for a Bike Ride

Alternatively, take a nice bike ride and enjoy the sunshine on your face. Do you remember riding bikes all over the neighborhood as a kid? Take a bike ride down memory lane or explore bike trails in the community.

12. Start Your Day with Yoga

Yoga is a life-changing practice that is the perfect way to start your day. It focuses on breathing and stretching. Experience immediate relief of back, neck, and shoulder pain. Also, yoga relieves stress and tension in your body. There are thousands of free yoga routines on YouTube. But I genuinely enjoy Yoga with Adriene. Grab a thicker yoga mat for comfort. Additionally, if you’re heavier or uncoordinated (like myself), these yoga accessories have been helpful for beginning practices.

13. Get on the Machines

Get a gym membership or grab a couple of machines for at-home workouts. Also, to strengthen your core, you must try the Side Shaper. It only takes five minutes to feel like you’ve done a lifetime of crunches. It’s excellent at boosting endorphins. Additionally, it feels incredible doing something positive for my health after years of drug abuse. 


Mental Health Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Taking care of your mental health is imperative for success with sobriety. In fact, untreated and undiagnosed mental health disorders hugely impact a person’s drug and alcohol abuse.

14. Go to a Meeting

Firstly, are you a 12-stepper? Then, attend a meeting. They are available in person and online and are a great way to meet sober people who understand the battle with substance abuse. Did you know there are meetings for everyone, including women-only, LGBTQIA+, and men’s groups? Furthermore, there are meetings designed around specific substance abuse. Find a group of your peers to support you in overcoming drug addiction.

15. Work the Steps

Secondly, if you’re involved in a 12-step program, you must do the step work. Attending meetings is only one aspect of a 12-step program. It’s not a miracle cure. There are dozens of 12-Step Workbooks to do the step work. 

16. Keep a Sobriety Journal

Lastly, keeping a sobriety journal is a fantastic way to process emotions, note progress, and experience personal reflections. In addition, it documents your road to recovery. Many sober journals also include gratitude sections.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you. And give thanks continuously. And because all things have to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

17. Read a Self-Help Book

Are there areas of yourself that you want to work on? Me too. It’s common for addicts to suffer from disorders including PTSD, BPD, and BP. Among others. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook and The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for learning mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation are therapists recommended. Spending time understanding and working through your issues is crucial for recovery, and will give you the best defense against relapse.

18. Talk to a Therapist

Start the healing process. Society is finally embracing therapy and disowning the negative stigma formerly attached to it. And now, it’s easier than ever to speak with a licensed therapist with Online Therapy options. Therapy is a vital part of recovery for many people. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health are leading factors in drug and alcohol abuse. So don’t be the statistic and get professional help for trauma and underlying conditions.

19. Take a Day Off

Sometimes the best thing you can do for mental health is unplug from the world around you. Take a day off. What does that look like to you? Do you ever take a day to yourself? It’s much needed and deserved. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is what you need to refocus and move forward.

20. Start Your Day with Intention

Starting your day with intention ensures a positive start to your day. Do you have a difficult time with responsibilities? I do, and when accompanied by depression, there are days I don’t get anything done. However, starting my day with intention is an activity that has given me hope. During the beginning stages of this practice, choose one thing you intend to do that day. It can be anything from showering to doing laundry. Or making that dreaded phone call. There is an incredible sense of accomplishment, which often sparks motivation to do more after you master one intention, work up to two, and so on.

Self-Care Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Self-care is an essential element of mental wellness, but its often neglected, which can lead to feeling worn out. Don’t let that happen to you. Instead, take care of yourself, so you don’t need to escape. So what does self-care look like to you? Self-care is anything that cares for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. It can be a soak in a hot tub with bath bomb fizzies. Or taking five deep breaths. Here are a handful of self-care things to do instead of drugs.

21. Sobriety Coloring for Adults

Adult coloring is a great way to slow down and practice mindfulness. There are tons of fantastic sobriety coloring books to engage creativity. Including swear words and 12-step slogans, with mandalas and other designs. 

22. Binge a Favorite Show

Sometimes ordering take-out and binging your favorite comfort show is the self-care you need. Watching the same television shows over and over is therapeutic for people with anxiety disorders.

23. Take a Social Media Hiatus

Deactivate social media accounts for a 30-90 day social media hiatus. Also, delete the apps from your phone to help keep temptation away. Social media is detrimental to mental well-being. You may feel much better without it and opt never to go back.

24. Get a Massage

Relax your muscles and mind with a full body massage. Nothing feels better than having the tension and stress massaged from your shoulders. The deep tissue massage is perfect for those with back pain. But be sure to drink plenty of water after to flush the toxins.

25. Have a Spa Day

Treat yourself to a spa day. What does that look like to you? For me, it includes the massage, manicure, and pedicure. Also, getting your hair done always boosts confidence and glow.

26. Create a Vision Board

Grab a cork bulletin board and create your vision. What do you wish to manifest in your life? Health, wealth, or maybe travel? Include these on your board. You can get creative with both images and text. Also, have goals and intentions. Put your energy into your vision board and manifest incredible things.

27. Go for a Drive

Do you enjoy going for drives? Then this is self-care for you. I love taking long drives into nature. Driving is a great way to clear your head and enjoy music.


Musical Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Are you a musical person? Music is the language of the soul. So there are several musical things to do instead of drugs on this list.

28. Create a Music Playlist

Speaking of the perfect playlist for that long drive, what will you put on yours? Perhaps, create several playlists to encompass each of your moods?

29. Listen to Music

After you create the playlists, listen to them. Alternatively, Pandora is a great way to listen to a random or catered selection of musical hits. Alternatively, make YouTube playlists and watch music videos.

30. Sing Like No-One is Listening

Do you love to sing? It’s good for the soul. Sing like no one is listening and get that spiritual release. Alternatively, grab the mic for karaoke and let everyone marvel at your pipes. 

31. Play an Instrument

Do you play an instrument? Dedicate time to playing beautiful music in your recovery. Alternatively, learning how to play an instrument could be your learning something new endeavor on the list.

Cleaning Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Do you enjoy cleaning? I do not. However, I also don’t enjoy being surrounded by mess and clutter. Clutter can cause or worsen anxiety and depression, two things leading to drug use. So here are a few ways to stay on top of that mess.

32. Clean House Top to Bottom

Take pride in your home by cleaning it from top to bottom. Practice gratitude while putting things away and getting others in order. Thank God for giving you a roof over your head. Many people in active addiction don’t have that basic need.

33. Eliminate Clutter

Eliminating clutter is a freeing experience. You can feel the anxiety and stress going away with each pile cleared. Nothing beats organized closets and clean countertops.

34. Clean Your Car

The car is the thorn in my side, especially with two children. However, I think most mothers can relate to the backseat being a mess. So take time to detail the inside of your vehicle. Invest in a car vacuum and make it a habit to keep a clean car.

Spiritual Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Participating in spiritual things to do instead of drugs is a vital element of my recovery. So I absolutely believe this to be true for you too. Here are a few spiritual practices to do instead of alcohol and drugs.

35. Get Into Nature

One of the best spiritual awakenings can be spending time in nature. Relishing in the majesty of creation always rejuvenates my soul. Do you have access to the ocean, mountains, forest, or a beautiful waterfall? Without a doubt, make the trip. Alternatively, visiting hiking trails is a way to get into nature.

36. Meditation

Meditation is another beautiful spiritual practice. Although, it can take some practice before you experience its release. Firstly, discover which beginner guide to meditation speaks to you. Secondly, get yourself a comfortable meditation cushion. A meditation cushion is ideal for ensuring a steady and consistent practice while encouraging you to retain a healthy posture. Lastly, it relieves pressure on your back, knees, and ankles.

37. Prayer

Prayer is the ultimate spiritual connection to God. It’s the communication that allows you to make your wishes clear and release any guilt or pain. Let it go. Prayer is the pathway to forgiveness, the ultimate gift, and blessings.

38. Take Care of a Plant

Do you have a green thumb? There’s no time like the present to care for a plant. Several rehabilitation programs encourage gardening for people in recovery. Gardening can increase concentration and enhance mental functions. Additionally, working with nature decreases anxiety and depression. I’m in love with Bonsai Tree starter kits.

39. Take Care of an Animal

Alternatively, care for an animal. Several types of small pets require a loving home. Check out your local animal shelter to see what adoption entails. Caring for animals is excellent for the soul but needs work and commitment. So don’t bite off more than you can chew. Little puppy pun there.

40. Prayer Journaling

Keeping a prayer journal is a fun way to communicate with God. The bonus to writing your prayers down is the ability to reflect on them later. It’s encouraging to see where God has listened and blessed you.

Related – 7 Remarkable Benefits of Prayer Journaling in Recovery

41. Practice Acts of Kindness

Practicing acts of kindness is great for both your mental and spiritual health. Did you know that charitable acts stimulate the feel-good circuits in your brain? Your brain releases endorphins to reward your good-hearted charity.

42. Listen to a Spiritual Podcast

Check out a spiritual podcast for real things to do instead of drugs. Sometimes listening to a good podcast feeds the soul. Find praise and worship, story-telling, and educational podcasts to do instead of drugs.

43. Read a Spiritual Book

Alternatively, read a spiritual book. In addition to self-help, spiritual books can give you the tools you need to overcome a situation and provide you with hope.

44. Go to Church

Some people find community and fellowship at church. Did you know that many churches host Celebrate Recovery groups? It’s a Christian alternative to the 12-Steps program, based on eight principles from the Beatitudes. 

45. Practice Tai-Chi

Tai Chi is a spiritual healing practice. Like yoga, it focuses on breathing, flexibility, and a sense of well-being. There are hundreds of free Tai Chi video tutorials on YouTube. However, you may want to invest in a book to understand the principles.


Donation Things To Do Instead of Drugs

Indeed, helping other people is a way of helping yourself. But, of course, that shouldn’t be your only motivation for giving back. How much have you taken? Has anyone helped you along your way? Finding ways to pay it forward is my favorite part of recovery. So here are a few donating things to do instead of drugs. 

46. Donate Time

Donating your time is one of the most generous donations you can give. Places that often need volunteers include the food bank, an animal shelter, nursing homes, and homeless shelters. Other places to volunteer are community centers, libraries, and parks.

47. Donate Belongings

One of the biggest joys in cleaning and eliminating clutter is creating a donation box to bless others. First, however, make sure to research where you donate. For example, Goodwill and the Salvation Army are the worst donations places.

48. Donate Money

There are thousands of ways to donate money, but be mindful of where you give. Research charities to see how much of your donation honestly goes to the cause you’re supporting. Additionally, making personal donations to friends or family in need is a gracious charitable act. Do you have an opportunity to support a loved one with summer camp, higher education, or a sports program? Consider blessing them before gifting cash to random charities. Be a positive influence in someone else’s life.

49. Donate Blood

Another valuable way you can help is by donating blood. In this instance, you’re honestly saving a life. You may be saving up to three lives with each donation. Visit the Red Cross Blood Services to find a location for you to donate blood. However, this might not be it if you’re new to recovery and a former IV drug user.

50. Donate Hair

Last but not least, donate your hair. There are several reputable organizations to donate your hair, including Wigs for Kids and Locks of Love.

That concludes this list of fantastically realistic things to do instead of drugs. Were you inspired or left wanting more? Please add additional sober activity ideas to the comments below. Also, will you hit that social share button for me and spread the love? Thank you. those genuinely make my day.

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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.

29 thoughts on “50 Fun Realistic Things To Do Instead of Drugs”

  1. It’s easy to say don’t do drugs, but what should you do instead? I know this will help someone. Thanks for this amazing list of things to do instead of drugs! My fave is to read a self-help book.

  2. Thanks for exploring this list of things to do instead of drugs. Self-help books are my favorite. They’ve helped me grow and mature through so much.

  3. This is SUCH a fantastic list! I’m so glad you shared it. I really love that you included seeing a therapist. So many people use drugs – and alcohol – to try to address their problems.

  4. There are so many great things to do instead of drugs here. There are so many things you can do to feel better and have fun that don’t involve drugs and alcohol. I think it’s so important for people to remember that. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I really love the mindset of this article. These are all easily achievable ways to live in the now. Much more realistic. Love this read.

  6. I think these are all great ways to do something besides drugs and alcohol! I know I enjoy a lot of these things! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Drugs are a definite no. I’ve never tried it and I was never interested to do so. There are many worthwhile things to do such as the ones in your list instead of trying drugs.

  8. This is great and a super helpful post. Even for people who are not in recovery this list has so many things to do. I appreciate the health aspects.

  9. I have to say I love the title of this blog! Very witty but also on the ball. Great suggestions of things to do instead of drugs. I’d rather do any of these than hard drugs any day!

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