How to Have Fun Without Drugs & Alcohol

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When you're in the habit of doing something a certain way, it can be very difficult to try something different, even when you know it would be better for you. A lot of people take drugs and alcohol as a means of numbing pain, escaping from something, relaxing with their friends and/or meeting some other need. It often forms an addiction, and people then do it because they can't stop or they don't know how else to meet their needs (check this article out for more information). But there are other ways to do this and have fun - ways that don't lead to throwing up, debt, headaches and other health issues.

If you want to find other ways to have fun, think about these 7 things:

1. Stay away from triggers.

If you like to drink but need to stop, don't agree to hang out at the pub with your friends or go to parties where you know there will be alcohol/drugs. Alcohol, as with many other drugs, is responsible for a lot of health issues including brain, liver and heart damage. If you're vulnerable to drugs and alcohol, avoid places where you'll know they'll be easy to access.

2. Hang out with the right friends.

Alcohol and drugs are often taken socially, so when it comes to finding other ways to have fun it's important to hang out with friends who aren't going to be drinking and taking drugs in front of you. Find people who have the same values as you and who have fun in other ways - we become like the people we hang out with, so choose your friends wisely and make sure they support your decision to stay sober/clean.

3. Find out what you like to do.

Was there something you used to do for fun before you took up drinking/drugs? If so, that may be a good place to start in terms of having fun in other ways. Or, check out different hobbies/sports that you can do (art, writing, music, a sport, outdoor activities etc) and even get a friend involved. Being bored will give you time to think about drugs and alcohol and may even increase your longing for them, so keep busy doing something positive and healthy.

4. Plan fun events.

Having something exciting (drug and alcohol free) to look forward to always helps. Think of something fun and healthy that you'd really like to do, and ask your friends to come along. Or, check out what events are already happening and make plans to go. By filling your life with fun and meaningful events, even if it's just going to the movies with your friends, you give yourself the opportunity to enjoy natural highs.

5. Notice how you feel.

Pay attention to how you feel when you're out having fun without drugs and alcohol. Unless you're ill in another way (e.g. a virus), there's no headache, no 'low', no vomiting, no regrets about the things you did while you were out of it, and no guilt. While it may have been hard to get through at the time, by doing something else for fun you'll be able to remember it in the morning and feel healthier about yourself. (Of course, it is usually different for long term addictions in which withdrawal symptoms may persist, making it difficult to enjoy life until your body detoxes, but having fun in other ways after this process will still help to make a difference).

6. Get support and be accountable to someone.

Everyone needs help some times. If you're struggling to enjoy life because of a drug or alcohol addiction, seek support not only from friends but professionals. Don't try to do everything on your own or make unrealistic promises to yourself that will ultimately cause a sense of failure - set small goals and walk the journey with someone.

It may not be easy, but it is definitely possible to have fun without drugs and alcohol, and by trying out the above and finding help to get you through, you may soon discover a life that is much more enjoyable and healthy.