Quitting Alcohol Frees Up Lots Of Time
No matter how much you drink, one thing is consistent – drinking takes up a lot of time.
Planning if and when to drink, buying alcohol, drinking the alcohol, recovering from drinking… it’s always an event!
One thing that floored me every time I broke from drinking was how much more free time I seemed to have.
If you don’t plan how you will fill this time, you may find yourself bored and more susceptible to relapse. And that’s no fun.
To help point you in the right direction, I’ve put together a quick list of 11 ways to spend your newfound alcohol-free time.
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1. Take up a new physical activity
This is so amazing because of its multiple benefits. Not only do you fill up your free time, but you work on your appearance, health and maybe meet new people too!
In early sobriety, I fell in love with yoga and group fitness classes at my gym. Yoga helped ease my mind and got me more in tune with my body. The fitness classes were challenging and fun, and I met some really cool new people who shared similar interests.
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Is there any sport you considered trying in the past? The money saved on liquor could go toward a Groupon for a couple training session as a little reward for making such a great change!
2. Learn to cook interesting meals
Cooking differently can take up tons of your newfound free time and has multiple benefits, too.
Browsing new recipes, shopping for ingredients, learning new techniques and even beautiful plating are all time-consuming. Additional benefits of eating cleaner and losing weight only add to the deliciousness of this idea. You can even host a dinner party and invite friends or family to sample your new creations!
And check this out… If you get really good, you can whip up an exciting, romantic meal for your significant other. This works wonders for getting them to support your sobriety if they still drink.
My thing is “Fancy Fridays”. A few Fridays a month I’ll pick a new region, make a unique meal inspired by that place, and prepare or serve it while playing music local to that area.
My husband LOVES me sober.
I’m just sayin’.
3. Become a tourist in your own town
Are there places in your city that tourists might visit, but you’ve never gone? Why not use some of that booze-free time to try them out one day?
I’m guilty of this. I live in Los Angeles and have never seen the Hollywood sign! That’s totally on my list of things to do.
I bet there’s at least one or two things anybody could stand to check out where they live.
4. Deep clean your home
This may not sound “fun”, but it can be! Over time it’s so easy to collect things we don’t need. What you find waaaaaay in the back of that closet or at the bottom of that “junk drawer” might surprise you!
Once things are fresh and organized you will feel amazing and have so much more mental clarity too, I promise.
Even if you’re really organized, there’s still probably some area you can go a little deeper with. Underneath sinks, medicine cabinets, garages, purses, the trunk of your car… anywhere is fair game!
Nothing beats a fresh, clean home when you make such a sweeping change as giving up alcohol.
5. Find new books or audiobooks to enjoy
Since I gave up alcohol over 100 days ago, I have become obsessed with audiobooks! I imagine regular books would take up more free time. But it works great to combine listening to good audiobooks while doing other things. Like cooking while listening? Doubly productive. One of my faves is this one — sobriety memoirs are great listening to help further your goals.
6. Plan an outing or vacation
This is one of my favorites! Calculating a rough estimate of the money I save in sobriety, it’s at least $500/month. The thought of putting that toward a nice event or vacation is so appealing! And it really stimulates your mind to plan things out for the future, too. What a lovely way to reward yourself for a job well-done.
7. Volunteer for a cause you support
A common trait of problem drinkers is selfishness. One way to escape that negative aspect of your old life would be to go forward with an attitude of selflessness. Why not donate some of that newfound free time to others?
8. Get extra sleep
Really good, deep sleep is so delicious and healing. We think drinking puts us into heavy sleep but passing out does not count! If you can, sleep more. It’s amazing.
9. Take an e-course
There are so many good online courses on a variety of topics. Do something related to your career, or something that interests you, just for fun!
Udemy.com always has great sales for new subscribers. Try something completely different. You never know what you might find!
10. Start a side hustle
Starting a side hustle is probably the single best thing you can do with your time. This one thing has changed my life.
I’ll go into more detail later, so you can learn more if interested. But in a nutshell, my side hustle eventually became my only hustle, freeing up more time to follow my passions and interests.
Finding something you’re interested in that takes up all your free time and has a potentially big payoff, in the end, is A-1!
11. Start a sobriety blog
Finally, I may be biased (obviously), but I think starting a sobriety blog is the perfect way to spend your free time, especially in early sobriety. This is for several reasons:
- You are writing down your thoughts and feelings about the very thing you are going through
- It gives you the chance to connect with others in a similar situation
- Learning new skills can only benefit you in the long-run
- You have an amazing vault of your journey to look back on, so you can see how far you’ve come
- You might be able to help others by sharing your story
While I’ve chosen to blog publicly, you can totally make an anonymous blog and still connect with others in the online recovery space.
For introverts, this is the perfect way to find a tribe of understanding and supportive people without having to physically attend meetings or events. It can be insanely therapeutic and helpful to know you aren’t alone.
11 Ways To Spend Your Alcohol-Free Time
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of suggestions for how to spend your free time once you’re sober. Being constructive rather than destructive is so important during those early days when everything is really confusing. Click To Tweet
While there are so many outstanding benefits to reducing your alcohol intake, anyone who has done it for any length of time can attest to the fact that it’s not always so easy. If you are concerned that you might need to slow down your drinking but aren’t sure how you’ll ever win your battle with alcohol, you’ll need a plan.
Get one in place sooner than later, and Easy Street just might be your personal road to recovery.