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Tips to Stay Sober on the Weekend

Once you’ve learned how to stay sober on the weekend and how to stop binge drinking for a little while, you might not be sure what to do with your free time. You’re no longer spending a day drinking and a day recovering from a hangover. Being bored can lead to restlessness, which can lead to old habits. For your sobriety and health, that’s not a good scenario. You should learn how to relax without alcohol.

Over time, your cravings will subside, and you will find other ways to fill your weekends. One note of caution: take care to set yourself up for success, especially in the beginning. For example, going to a bowling alley may sound fun until you’re surrounded by beer. Try to stay away from places with a strong smell of beer if you’re worried about your willpower, and surround yourself with friends who take your sobriety seriously and won’t nag you to have “just one” drink. Now, on to the fun!

How To Stay Sober On The Weekend
How to stay sober on the weekend? Weekends can be tough for those trying to stay sober. Read to learn how.

It is time to set yourself up for success. A proactive approach will have that real-life relaxation feeling so much better than the alcohol-induced version ever could. Just because you are now sober doesn’t mean you should dread the weekends. Instead, these tips on how to stay sober on the weekend will help you have a good time without sacrificing your sobriety.

Avoid Triggering Environments

You must avoid triggering environments especially immediately following alcoholism addiction treatment. You want to avoid places that could trigger cravings like clubs, bars, or your friend’s house where you used to pregame. If a friend is having a boozy birthday brunch and you are not sure you can handle it, it is okay to say no. This may mean missing out on some events, but always remember that your sobriety should be your priority. Don’t forget that, unlike your friends, you are avoiding the many downfalls of alcohol abuse, including that dreaded hangover the next day.

In the early stages of recovery, the best way to set yourself up for success is to avoid temptation as much as possible. Friends and family who have your best interests at heart will understand that you need to decline these types of social invitations. If you’re feeling pressured, it might be time to reconsider if you’re in a toxic relationship that is putting everything you’ve worked for at risk.

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Boredom is a common trigger, especially if you are an extrovert who likes to socialize. Not making plans beforehand could spell disaster. Remember that making plans for the weekend in advance will help you keep the structure and you will have something to look forward to. Regardless of what you choose to do, having a clear plan will also make it easier to gracefully decline any invitations that could put you in harm’s way.

Last-minute parties could get you in a bind or no plans may leave you alone at home and tempted to drink out of loneliness or boredom. Try to plan a sober weekend activity ahead of time so that you have at least one thing to look forward to. With other plans, you will also feel more comfortable turning down anything that could put you in a triggering and uncomfortable situation.

Find a Recurring Activity 

One of the best ways how to stay sober on the weekend is to find something that you can do every weekend. Recreational sports teams, activity groups, classes, and volunteer opportunities that meet regularly can keep you busy as well as always give you something to look forward to. You will have the added bonus of being able to meet new people.  

Here are some ideas for finding recurring activities:

  • Learn how to speak Dutch or how to upholster furniture. You’ve got free time and YouTube, allowing you to learn virtually anything. 
  • Go to the library on a regular basis and read books you just can’t put down. You’ll be surprised how well they can hold your attention, even if you weren’t big on reading as a kid. 
  • Renovate your home. Need an all-consuming project? Renovate every room in your house. You’ll be busy for months, maybe years.
  • Try a hobby from your adolescence. Did you give up on guitar lessons in your teens? Try again!
  • Plant a garden. Tending a garden, whether it’s full of vegetables or flowers, can become an all-day pursuit that will leave you tired, dirty, hungry, and oh-so-satisfied at the end of the day.
How To Stay Sober On The Weekend
How to stay sober on the weekend? Volunteer at an animal shelter

Find Good Friends

The best way how to stay sober on the weekend is to spend them with the right people. You want to avoid your pre-rehab drinking buddies who probably already have alcohol planned for their weekend. Instead, make plans with the people who are going to support your sobriety. You can also use our rehab alumni program to connect with other sober people in your area and get to know their friends as well.

Whatever your preferred method of working out and having fun, find a group of like-minded people to do it with and you’ll be motivated to go out and do it every weekend. Attend the events and parties with someone you trust and not someone who would nag you to have “just one” drink and dent your sobriety. Try to stay away from places that have a strong smell of alcohol and can trigger and recapture the past episodes.

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Stick to Your Routine

It is easy to get complacent on the weekends and let your healthy eating habits, exercise routine, and regular sleep schedule go out the window – but don’t. When you start regularly disregarding your routine on the weekends, these bad habits may overflow into the weekdays and could become your new routine. An unhealthy lifestyle may be reminiscent of your days as an alcoholic, so you may be more likely to relapse.

The way you approach your sobriety is important. When we feel like we can’t do something or aren’t allowed, we often revert to behaving like a child and get rebellious. Prohibiting yourself from doing something requires a tremendous amount of willpower that’s hard to maintain.
Instead, try reframing your decisions around alcohol. You’re not denying yourself from drinking. You are dropping a habit that no longer serves you. You’re making choices based on your dreams, goals, and best interests.

Step Away

How To Stay Sober On The Weekend
How to stay sober on the weekend? Cook more often.

Remember, your sobriety should come first, so it is perfectly fine to leave a situation if you are feeling triggered. You need to take care of yourself, and sometimes that means doing what is best for you and your sobriety, even if other people don’t like it.

Focusing on the “why” behind staying sober makes it much easier to resist temptation. Maybe you don’t want to spend your precious weekend in bed with a bad hangover. Or perhaps you want to spend more quality time with your kids. Maybe your goal is to start a hobby instead of sipping
on a bottle of wine.

It can be helpful to list all the positives you gain from staying sober, such as more time, better health, improved relationships, and saving money. Whatever the reason, keep in mind, that you’re not restricting yourself from life. Rather, you’re choosing a fuller, richer, healthier existence.

Sober Weekend Activities to Consider 

You do not need alcohol to have a great time. There are lots of sober things to do on the weekend that are still fun. Try these activities below:

  • Be a tourist. If you’re bored with your own city, drive to the nearest big city and be a tourist for a day. Do all the touristy things, even things that are out of your comfort zone.
  • Visit a local coffee shop. Locally owned coffee shops usually have live music, poetry readings, or other weekend events.
  • Game night with family or friends. It doesn’t even have to be a traditional board game. Set up a ping pong or pool competition or play video games. Have a long-distance game night by competing against each other on Xbox games.
  • Spend a day helping others and your community. Volunteering your time to help others gives you a sense of purpose and makes it easier than ever to meet new friends.
  • Reach out to a loved one. Make plans to catch up with a family member or friend you haven’t seen in a while.
  • Have a picnic. Try stargazing in your backyard or enjoy your meal at a local park.
  • Pamper yourself. If your budget allows it, splurge on a spa and professional massage. Try one of the many DIY spa treatments you’ll find online. (If you’re married or in a committed relationship, a couple’s pampering session can be a wonderful date night idea)
  • Hit the gym. Exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, and going to the gym provides an opportunity to meet new people.
  • Browse a local farmer’s market. Buy fresh produce, then cook a delicious meal for a few friends.

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Sober Activities for Adults 

Get a Part-Time Job

Don’t do this for the money. Instead, use it to keep yourself busy and connected with people. When recovering alcoholics have little to no activity, they tend to fall back on bad habits. If you don’t keep yourself busy, you’ll eventually feel more inclined to go for a drink.

Learn to Play an Instrument

This is another awesome activity you can do in your free time. Maybe you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar and feel like a rock star. Maybe you always wanted to be a drummer but didn’t find time to pursue your dream. Now would be a good time to invest in an affordable musical instrument and play it on weekends. Make it a routine to play for around an hour every weekend and you’ll be golden.

Start Jogging

Engaging in physical exercise can instantly boost your confidence and make you cope with alcohol withdrawal symptoms easier. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym if you don’t want to. Instead, find time to run for 30 minutes during weekends and you’ll reap numerous health benefits.

Not only will your cardiovascular system improve, but your brain will also release endorphins, which are the hormones of well-being and happiness. You’re basically retraining your brain to respond positively to different types of stimuli, overriding the destructive effects of alcohol.

Go to a Yoga Class

One of the best sober activities for adults is to enroll in a yoga class. If you don’t feel like going for a jog, you might want to try doing yoga. There are many physical and mental benefits of yoga for addiction recovery, including the ability to detoxify your body. Especially if you have abused alcohol in the past, yoga will help you flush out some of the toxins accumulated in your liver quicker.

How To Stay Sober On The Weekend
How to stay sober on the weekend? Start meditating.

Yoga is also beneficial for your state of mind and it’s exactly what you need during the vulnerable period after alcohol withdrawal. This therapeutic activity will help you cope with emotions easier, improve your flexibility, and maybe allow you to make some new friends.

Brain scans done on people addicted to drugs or alcohol show hyperactivity in certain parts of the brain that have a higher susceptibility to being self-interested and vulnerable to behavioral and mood disorders.

Yoga works to free the person from the idea of self. As such, yoga practitioners have greater connectivity to all parts of the brain. They can attain a form of cerebral stability that the brain of people addicted to drugs or alcohol lacks because their brain activity mainly focuses on satisfying their addiction.

Sober Activities For Couples

When you or your significant other gets help for alcohol use disorder, you’re both in recovery. That’s because substance use disorder takes a toll on relationships, and repairing the damage done is crucial for improving lives and staying sober for the long term. If you and your partner used to drink together, finding alternative activities for having a good time is vital to successful recovery. Here are sober activities for couples that provide fun and relaxation without alcohol.

  • Visit a gallery or museum. Go to your favorite gallery or museum, or find a new one you haven’t been to. Look for quirky museums in your area for a bit of unique fun.
  • Take a hike. Explore the natural world together with a hike through the woods, into the mountains, across the desert, or on an urban trail. Chances are, there’s a city, state, or national park near you that offers hiking trails.
  • One of the best sober activities for couples is to throw a party. A sober party is a fun way to spend an evening together with good friends. Whether it’s a dinner party or a casual get-together in the backyard, throwing a party with other sober people strengthens your recovery and provides fun, relaxation, and great conversation.
  • Go for a drive. When it comes to dating someone newly sober, going for a relaxing drive can be a great opportunity for having deep conversations, listening to music, or just enjoying each other’s company as you embark on an exploration adventure in the car.
  • Another fun and sober activities for couples are to visit an amusement park. If adventure is your thing, try out the coasters and other rides at your nearest amusement park for a day packed with thrills.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Alcohol Problems

Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in America, as more than 17 million people in the United States are considered to suffer from addiction to alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), publishes that over 1.5 million American adults were considered to be currently abusing a prescription drug.

To determine the most effective ways to treat individuals with moderate to severe alcohol use disorder, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of alcohol withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy 

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency. It can lead to complications such as choking, brain damage, and even death. Prompt alcohol poisoning treatments can help prevent these complications from occurring. If an alcoholic decides to stop drinking, they may alcohol experience withdrawal effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and tremors. The development of tolerance and withdrawal are indications of addiction. If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term drug abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. Sobriety starts here at We Level Up and can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

How To Stay Sober On The Weekend
Treatment and rehabilitation from drug abuse and addiction do not happen successfully overnight, but it is one of many steps towards permanent recovery.

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Sources:

[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7525354/

[2] What is Sobriety? – We Level Up NJ