Fun in Recovery

Many people are afraid to enter recovery or get sober because they worry that they won’t have fun anymore. If you used drugs recreationally or relied on them for social lubrication, you might worry that you won’t have anything to do with your friends if you’re not using.

What Does Fun in Recovery Really Mean?

Before recovery, how fun was it to get together with a group of people with whom you weren’t very connected and numb your feelings? Although the things that you did for “fun” may have numbed your emotions and dissipated stress, were they truly fulfilling and enjoyable?

When you are in recovery, you shift your priorities toward activities and behaviors that support your wellness. You learn how to tap into the things that bring you joy and make you feel good. Sometimes, these behaviors, activities and habits aren’t immediately rewarding. However, a strong recovery treatment plan helps you be present in every moment and receive joy from unexpected places.

Get Help Now

Call our admissions specialists who can help you find the best treatment center for your needs. If you need help with drug abuse or addiction recovery, we can help you.

(888) 530-9424

How Addiction Changes Your Ability to Have Fun

In many instances, people who struggle with addiction experience a diminished sense of pleasure. They don’t enjoy the same activities as they used to, and they’re not sure that they are having fun doing what they’re doing now.

One of the reasons that you lose your sense of fun in active addiction is that the substances hijack the pleasure centers in your brain. They deliver quick hits of mood enhancing chemicals, which lead your brain to crave the quickest route back to that fun time. Over time, your body stops responding to its own feel-good chemicals, and it becomes hard to have fun without the influence of drugs.

You can rebuild connections in your brain that allow you to have fun in healthy ways in recovery. As you eliminate the drugs from your body, you’ll start to produce natural chemicals that make you feel good.

Having Fun in Recovery Helps You Avoid Relapse

Doing things that you enjoy while you’re in recovery helps to diminish several of the risk factors for relapse, including the following:

Low self-efficacy

When you don’t have confidence in yourself, you may not believe that you can control your drug use. Seeking and finding fulfillment in recovery gives you the sense that you do have the capacity to make choices that serve you.


Stress is a major factor in substance abuse. In fact, drugs are often used to soothe feelings of stress and anxiety. Having fun during recovery should involve some leisure activities that are relaxing and comforting. Incorporating these into your life can reduce stress and enhance your ability to cope with powerful emotions.


Substance abuse often replaces a deep sense of emptiness that comes from boredom. Seeking activities that give you purpose and introduce you to new experiences can help you sustain your recovery.

How to Have Fun in Recovery

Fun in recovery likely looks different from what you considered fun before. In fact, doing anything sober might not feel fun in the initial stages of recovery. The 4 tips below will help you relearn what fun means to you and open yourself up to allowing it in your life.

1. Go to Therapy

Working with a mental health professional has many benefits in recovery. Participating in counseling or therapy is the first step toward having more fun.

You’ll uncover some of the root causes of addiction and identify the true emotions behind your substance use. You may notice that you used substances to reduce your emotions, not to enhance them. In doing so, you’ll realize how often your drug use blocked your ability to experience any strong emotion, including fun and enjoyment.

In therapy, you’ll learn more about working with intense emotions. As you increase your ability to regulate your feelings, you’ll also increase your capacity to feel pleasure and have fun.

2. Ease Into It With an Open Mind

In recovery, certain patterns of behavior can take some time to unwind. Your brain may be telling you “this isn’t fun” when you do a silly icebreaker in a group session or join your friends at a restaurant while sober.

Some of the activities that you do at your addiction treatment center may not feel fun at first. For example, sitting in meditation might be uncomfortable. Exercising can feel exhausting.

Take things at your own pace, and keep an open mind. Talk to your mental health providers about your intentions and your apprehensions. If social situations feel awkward in recovery, maybe you could role play different scenarios with your therapist. If sitting still to meditate makes you antsy, try a walking meditation. If you enter into new activities in a way that feels good, you’re more likely to continue doing them, and they’ll have a significant positive impact on your recovery.

3. Make Plans

Everyone has days during which they don’t feel like doing much. While taking solo time for self-care and rest is important, you shouldn’t isolate yourself. If you’re struggling with motivation to seek out enjoyable activities in recovery, schedule them into your life.

Set goals that help you maintain momentum. Maybe you need accountability from a friend who walks with you every morning, making exercising more fun. Perhaps you get a sense of gratitude when you volunteer every Thursday.

Keep these activities in your schedule, and commit to them. You’ll get a release of feel-good chemicals when you accomplish the tasks that you set out to do, and you’ll explore different ways of having fun in recovery.

4. Try New Things in Recovery

As you get more comfortable with your new lifestyle, embrace the fact that you can always learn new things. Picking up a new hobby gives you a goal and a distraction. It can help you let loose, express yourself or dedicate yourself to a self-improvement process.

You don’t have to take dramatic steps to incorporate some novelty into your life. Does signing up for an online art class sound fun to you? Try it. Do you have an urge to put on lively music and dance around your living room? Do it. Take the scenic route to work. Try a different cafe for lunch. Go to a new recovery support group.

Addiction Recovery at Burning Tree West

At Burning Tree West, we offer a wide range of treatment programs that help you build a foundation for experiencing the most fulfilling life that you can. We offer an encouraging atmosphere that focuses on nourishing you on all levels so that you can embrace fun in recovery.

Get Help Now

Call our admissions specialists who can help you find the best treatment center for your needs. If you need help with drug abuse or addiction recovery, we can help you.

(888) 530-9424