- Feb 18
- AddictionAddiction TherapyRecovery
When you begin recovery, it can seem like you have nothing to do with your time. If all of your recent hobbies involved drugs or alcohol, you might feel isolated from friends you used to drink with or activities you enjoyed while drinking alcohol or using substances. You can have fun and enjoy a variety of activities without drugs or alcohol, and it’s important to fill your time with hobbies that are enjoyable and meaningful to you during recovery.
The Benefits of Sober Hobbies
Isolation during recovery is dangerous because it can cause you to dwell on negative thoughts. Staying isolated could lead to depression and increase the risk of relapse, so it’s important to find meaningful ways to spend your time. Finding sober hobbies can help you stay sober and enjoy recovery.
Learning new skills, spending time outdoors or enjoying a sober night out with friends can help you enjoy a fulfilling life and find happiness in recovery. There are a number of recovery hobbies in Chicago that can help you do the following:
Strengthen Your Sober Relationships
Enjoying sober hobbies can help you strengthen your relationships with sober friends and family. During recovery, it’s important to avoid the people and activities that could trigger cravings or a relapse. It’s helpful to connect with sober friends and family who will support your recovery journey and spend time with the people who will engage in healthy activities with you. By engaging in healthy hobbies, you can spend time with friends and family and strengthen your relationships with them.
Enjoy Old Sober Hobbies
Drugs and alcohol prevent you from enjoying hobbies and activities that used to be important to you. Whether it’s a skill you were good at, a community group you enjoyed or outdoor hobbies that made you feel good, drugs or alcohol most likely separated you from the people and activities you used to love.
By engaging in sober hobbies, you can reconnect with groups and activities you enjoyed before drugs or alcohol got in the way. The time you used to spend drinking or using drugs is now free to fill with activities that matter to you.
Improve Your Physical and Mental Health
A substance use disorder can have severe effects on your physical and mental health. From malnutrition to kidney problems, there are various ways drugs or alcohol harm your body and mind. Recovering from drug or alcohol use improves your health and helps you feel better overall, but participating in sober activities can help you feel even healthier during recovery.
You can start eating a more nutritious diet and engage in more physical activity to improve your physical health. This will help you feel healthier, but it will also help you avoid relapse because you enjoy how good you feel as you become healthier. You will enjoy higher energy levels and clearer skin, as well as better sleep patterns. Enjoying sober hobbies helps you strengthen your mental health because they keep you from staying isolated and help you connect with others who support you.
15 Sober Hobbies You Can Take Up in Chicago
There are plenty of hobbies you can take up in Chicago during recovery that can help you get back to a fulfilling life. Chicago is a bustling city with a wide variety of things to do, and you are sure to find a hobby you love if you search for activities you enjoy and are willing to try some new things along the way. Try some of the following activities to discover the recovery hobbies in Chicago that are right for you:
1. Learn to Cook
Cooking is an enjoyable and practical skill. You can enjoy making old recipes or have fun learning some new ones, and it’s a great way to improve your physical health. You can have fun searching for healthy recipes, trying new foods and feeling a sense of accomplishment when you prepare a delicious meal that also makes your body feel stronger.
Cooking is also a great way to strengthen sober relationships because you can host sober gatherings for friends and family and show off your new cooking skills. You can also attend cooking classes to learn new skills with sober friends or loved ones.
2. Start Writing
Writing is an excellent outlet for expressing and learning about yourself. Through writing, you can work through negative thoughts or reflect on positive things happening in your life. You can also use writing as a creative outlet to help others going through the same struggles you are going through or have overcome.
You can write poetry, stories or helpful blog posts or attempt to write the novel you always dreamed of writing. You don’t have to write anything fancy — even writing your thoughts in a journal can be very therapeutic and helpful during recovery. Writing is a great way to work through what you’re going through in life or distract yourself in a healthy way.
Various organizations offer writing workshops to people of all ages, such as the Stories Matter Foundation. This foundation in Chicago holds writing workshops for children and adults that allow people to practice forms of writing such as creative writing, therapeutic writing and more.
3. Play or Enjoy Music
Music is another therapeutic outlet for your feelings. Music therapy is common in many groups, and it can be done with instruments or your voice. Music is a great way to express yourself, and learning a new instrument can give you a sense of accomplishment. You can find music lessons in Chicago for a variety of instruments and enroll in a class that interests you.
You can also enjoy music by attending live music events in your area. Attend a concert by your favorite artist, visit an all-ages music festival or check out local singers or bands that are just starting their music career. This is a great way to enjoy time out with friends or family, and you might discover some new favorite artists.
4. Enjoy Sober Nights Out
Staying sober doesn’t mean you have to miss out on fun nights. There is a wide variety of activities you can do without drugs or alcohol. Enjoy some good laughs at a comedy club, or try your hand at ax throwing. You can also invite a group of friends to enjoy the thrilling challenge of solving puzzles and riddles to get out of an escape room.
Expand your experiences by trying new food at local restaurants, learning about history in museums or discovering new art at local galleries. You can even participate at entertainment venues by singing at a karaoke event or reading poetry at an open mic night. Even making plans to see new movies when they release is a great way to get out of your house and keep busy.
The more you enjoy sober nights out, the more you will realize that a sober life is more fulfilling than a life spent on drugs or alcohol. Planning fun nights out can give you things to look forward to and opportunities to spend time with the people who support your recovery.
5. Attend Sporting Events
Sporting events are great ways to spend your time if you’re a sports fan. You can cheer on your favorite Chicago team, enjoy great food and bond with other sports fans. Since sporting events and tailgating parties often involve alcohol, it can be helpful to attend sporting events with sober friends or opt to sit in nonalcoholic sections of the event center to avoid cravings and triggers.
You can also host your own drug and alcohol-free tailgate parties to show off some cooking skills and enjoy time with your support system or sober friends. If you used to drink alcohol or use drugs during sporting events or tailgate parties, it’s important to be mindful of triggers and plan ways to stay sober at these events when you feel you are ready to attend them again.
6. Volunteer for Local Organizations
Volunteering is a great way to stay busy and feel a sense of accomplishment as you contribute to your community. You can help out at a local animal shelter or volunteer at a food bank. You can even volunteer at recovery centers and offer to help others struggling with things you have overcome. There are so many ways to give back to your community, and volunteering is a great way to meet new people.
7. Practice Martial Arts
Martial arts are great physical activities, and they can build your confidence. Martial arts require focus, which can help keep your mind off of negative thoughts or any triggers that could lead to relapse. They also provide a sense of accomplishment as you learn new skills, so they’re great activities to help build your self-esteem and feel proud of reaching goals. Mixed martial arts gyms, like Chicago Mixed Martial Arts, offer classes in disciplines such as jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and more.
8. Practice Yoga
Yoga is great for your body, brain and emotions. Yoga can help you strengthen your focus, relax your mind and stretch your muscles. Yoga also helps you learn how to connect to your inner self, which is why it is often included in many treatment programs. You can join a yoga class in Chicago to learn from an instructor, and it’s also a great way to meet new people.
9. Rock Climb
Rock climbing is a skill that is fun to learn and good for your health. It helps you strengthen muscles and focus because it requires concentrating on the rock or rock wall, analyzing climbing patterns and planning each move carefully. You can find local groups to join in outdoor climbing excursions or visit an indoor climbing gym to take lessons or practice climbing.
10. Exercise Outdoors
Exercise is helpful in maintaining sobriety. It’s a great way to improve strength and overall health, and exercising outdoors is also great for your mental health. The sun gives off vitamin D, which is essential for your mental health. Without it, you are more likely to experience depression. Getting out in the sunshine and enjoying some workouts you like can help prevent or manage depression symptoms.
Enjoying a nice walk or run around Chicago on a sunny day can help you feel healthy, energized and happy. Participating in group workouts, swimming or joining recreational sports teams are other physical activities you can enjoy outdoors.
11. Hike Local Trails
Hiking is another physical activity you can enjoy while soaking up some sunshine. It is a great way to explore the outdoors and discover nature. Look for wildlife on trails at a nature park like the North Park Village Nature Center or enjoy the views of a lakefront trail.
Hiking is a hobby you can enjoy by yourself or with a group. It’s an activity that is both physically energizing and mentally relaxing at the same time. Being surrounded by nature is a great way to clear your head and feel a sense of calm. Researchers have found that being in nature can reduce stress and rejuvenate the brain.
12. Try Cycling
Chicago is home to various cycling trails. Some trails are located in the Chicago suburbs, and some even extend into the natural forest preserves of northern Illinois. Cycling can include bicycling, unicycling or tricycling. Similar to hiking, cycling gives you the opportunity to explore nature, get physical exercise and soak in some sunshine. It is also an activity you can enjoy alone or with other sober friends.
13. Rent or Buy a Kayak
Kayaking is a great activity if you enjoy an adventure. The western suburbs of Chicago are home to many lakes, rivers and creeks with plenty of space to explore. Kayaking can let you explore beautiful shorelines and parks that can only be experienced from the water. You can rent kayaks from many companies and nature parks, or you can purchase your own kayak if you plan to kayak regularly.
14. Practice Archery
Archery is an activity that requires focus and skill, so it’s another great hobby to engage in if you want to feel a sense of accomplishment. Archery includes target shooting, contest shooting and hunting, so there are different ways to use this skill. There are a variety of clubs and areas in the western suburbs of Chicago to learn and practice target shooting.
15. Play Frisbee Golf
Frisbee golf is similar to golf, but it’s a game that requires throwing discs into baskets set up in a park. Many parks in Chicago include 18-par courses. Frisbee golf is a great way to get out in the sunshine, explore local parks and enjoy some healthy competition with friends. It’s also a good form of light physical exercise.
Find Support During Recovery
Finding sober hobbies and activities is important for a successful recovery. Sober hobbies can help you avoid isolation, strengthen relationships, improve health, rediscover things you love and get back to living a fulfilling life. Chicago provides a variety of sober hobbies for people to take part in, so it’s possible to find multiple activities you find enjoyable and meaningful.
If you or a loved one struggles with a substance use disorder, contact Gateway Foundation to learn more about how we can help you through the recovery process. We provide quality treatment, compassionate staff, various programs and lifelong support for the recovery process. We are committed to helping people get back to their families, jobs and communities.