50 Fantastically Realistic Things to do Instead of Drugs

Are you in recovery and searching for fun things to do instead of drugs? Same. But I am tired of the lists with activities like parasailing and white water rafting. Maybe those things are fun. But not realistic options for daily deterrents to drugs and alcohol.

Especially if you’re a stay-at-home mother like me. So I created a list of fantastically realistic things to do instead of drugs. Indeed, with the hopes of helping others find joy in their sobriety.

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Fun Things to do Instead of Drugs

Finding fun things to do instead of drugs is critical to maintaining a relapse prevention plan. Replacing drugs and alcohol with sober activities is your first step towards success.

1. Try a New Healthy Recipe

Something is satisfying about nourishing your body after depleting it for so long. Make healthy choices and try a new recipe.

2. Enjoy a Hobby

Do you have a hobby? Great! Indulge it. If you don’t have a hobby then find one. What type of activities do you enjoy? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Spending time doing something you’re passionate about is a brilliant part of recovery.

3. Have Lunch with a Friend

Catch up with a friend over lunch or dinner. Without a doubt, we live in a predominantly virtual world and often put off spending real time. Take time to reconnect with a friend in person.

4. Arts and Crafts

Do you enjoy doing arts and crafts? I do! Consider taking a painting or ceramics class to spark creativity. Or choose from hundreds of crafting activities for adults.

5. Go on an Adventure

Alright. So there’s still room on this list to take up parasailing or white water rafting. Go on an adventure! Of course, this can mean a multitude of things.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Or someplace you’ve always wanted to see? So what’s stopping you?

Exploring unfamiliar territory surrounding your home is a fun adventure. Furthermore, it’s easy to make these adventures kid-friendly. For example, zoos, National parks, and tourist destinations. In other words, become a tourist in your own state.

6. Play Games

Playing games is a fun sober activity. What games do you enjoy playing? Choose from cards, dice, and board games. As well as thousands of video games. I’m a PlayStation girl myself.

7. Watch a Documentary

In the same fashion as learning something new, watch a documentary. There are two types of documentaries that are my go-to. Firstly, ones that give me a window to peek into someone else’s story. Sometimes spending a couple of hours in someone else’s shoes helps put perspective on your own walk in life.

Secondly, the documentary’s that educate you about things you wouldn’t otherwise know. For example, how things work. Or social issues that you should be informed about.

8. Throw a Drug and Alcohol-Free Party

Celebrate recovery by throwing a drug and alcohol-free party. Have you been to a party without substances? My only sober party experiences were baby showers.

So what does that party look like to you? Do you want to host a game night? Or have a movie marathon? Will your party have a theme?

Personally, a The Office-themed party sounds incredible. Can you imagine sober karaoke fun and handing out Dundies to your best friends? Count me in!

9. Make a Scrapbook

Create a scrapbook of fun-filled sober memories. Or perhaps a family scrapbook to gift to your children one day. Making a scrapbook is a fun, artistic expression of love.

Exercising Things to do Instead of Drugs

Exercising is great for both your physical and mental health. Embrace that natural release of endorphins. As well as feel overall better about yourself. Do you already exercise? Or are you ready to find your groove? Great! Here are a few exercising things to do instead of drugs to boost a natural high.

10. Take a Walk

Taking a walk is the perfect way to get fresh air and clear your head. Walk around the neighborhood. Or venture to the nearest hiking trail.

11. Go for a Bike Ride

Alternatively, take a nice bike ride and enjoy the sunshine on your face. Do you remember riding bikes all over the neighborhood as a kid? Take a bike ride down memory lane. Explore bike trails in the community.

12. Start Your Day with Yoga

Yoga is a life-changing practice that is the perfect way to start your day. It focuses on breathing and stretching exercises that open you up. And makes you feel incredible. Find immediate back, neck, and shoulder pain relief. There are thousands of free yoga routines on YouTube. But I genuinely enjoy Yoga with Adriene.

Grab a thicker yoga mat for comfort. Additionally, if you’re a bigger person like myself, these yoga accessories have been helpful for beginning practices.

13. Get on the Machines

Get a gym membership or grab a couple machines for at-home workouts. Due to Covid, I opted for the latter. My exercise bike is a great cardio workout. I prefer it to treadmills. But to strengthen your core, you gotta try the Side Shaper! It only takes five minutes to feel like you’ve done a lifetime of crunches.


They are both awesome at boosting endorphins and making me sweat. Additionally, it feels amazing doing something positive for my health after all the years of drug abuse.

Mental Health Things to do Instead of Drugs

Taking care of your mental health is imperative for success with sobriety. In fact, untreated and undiagnosed mental health disorders hugely impact a person’s drug and alcohol abuse.

14. Go to a Meeting

Firstly, attend a meeting. They are available in person and online. Did you know that there are meetings for everyone? Such as women only, LGBTQIA+, and men’s groups. Furthermore, there are meetings designed around specific substance abuse. To ensure you find a group of your peers to gain support from.

15. Work the Steps

Secondly, if you’re involved in a 12-step program, you must do the step work. Attending meetings is only one aspect of a 12-step program. There are dozens of 12-Step Workbooks to do the step work with. But here are the NA and AA books and workbooks.

NA Book Collection
NA Step Workbook
AA The Big Book
AA 12-Step Workbook

16. Keep a Sobriety Journal

Lastly, keeping a sobriety journal is a fantastic way to process emotions, note progress, and keep personal reflections. As well as to document your road to recovery. Many sober journals also include gratitude sections.

Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you. And give thanks continuously. And because all things have to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Related: The Best Sober Journal to Inspire & Motivate Personal Growth

17. Read a Self-Help Book

Are there areas of yourself that you want to work on? Me too. It’s common for addicts to suffer from disorders including PTSD, BPD, and BP. Among others.

In fact, I have an Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. As well as The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for learning mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation. Spending time understanding and working through your issues is crucial for recovery. And will give you the best defense against relapse.

18. Talk to a Therapist

Start the healing process. Society is finally embracing therapy and disowning the negative stigma formerly attached to it. And now it’s easier than ever to speak with a licensed therapist with Online Therapy options.

Therapy is a vital part of recovery for many. Undiagnosed and untreated mental health are leading factors to drug and alcohol abuse.


19. Take a Day Off

Sometimes the best thing you can do for mental health is unplugging from the world around you. Take a day off. What does that look like to you? Do you ever take a day to yourself? It’s much needed and deserved. Sometimes doing absolutely nothing is exactly what you need to refocus and move forward.

20. Start Your Day with Intention

Starting your day with intention ensures a positive start to your day. Do you have a difficult time with responsibilities? I do. That accompanied by depression, and there are days I don’t get anything done.

However, starting my day with intention is an activity that has given me hope. During the beginning stages of this practice, choose one thing that you intend to do that day. It can be anything from showering to doing laundry. Or making that dreaded phone call. There is an incredible sense of accomplishment, and it often sparks motivation to do more.

Self-Care Things to do Instead of Drugs

Self-care is an important element of good mental health. But it’s often neglected, and that can lead to feeling worn out. Don’t let that happen to you. Take care of yourself so that you don’t need to escape.

What does self-care look like to you? Self-care is anything that cares for your physical, mental, and spiritual health. It can be a soak in a hot tub with bath bomb fizzies. Or taking five deep breaths. Here are a handful of ideas to take care of you.

21. Sobriety Adult Coloring

Adult coloring is a great way to slow down and practice mindfulness. There are tons of amazing sobriety coloring books to get creative with. Including swear words and 12-step slogans, with mandalas and other designs.

Related: 27 Fabulous Sobriety Coloring Books to Encourage Hope

22. Binge a Favorite Show

Sometimes ordering take-out and binging your favorite comfort show is the self-care that you need. In fact, watching the same shows over and over is therapeutic for people with anxiety disorders.

23. Take a Social Media Hiatus

Deactivate social media accounts for a 30-90 day social media hiatus. Also, delete the apps from your phone. This helps keep temptation at bay. However, the habit of reaching for your phone takes a little time to pass.

Social media is detrimental to mental health and wellbeing. You may find that you feel much better without it and opt to never go back.

24. Get a Massage

Relax your muscles and mind with a full body massage. Nothing feels better than having the tension and stress massaged from your shoulders. The deep tissue massage is perfect for those with back pain. But be sure to drink plenty of water after to flush the toxins.

25. Have a Spa Day

Treat yourself to a spa day. What does that look like to you? For me, it includes the massage already discussed. As well as a manicure and pedicure. However, getting your hair done is always a boost of confidence and glow.

26. Create a Vision Board

Grab a cork bulletin board and create your vision. what do you wish to manifest into your life? Health, wealth, or maybe travel? Include these on your board. You can get creative with both images and text. Also, include goals and intentions. Put your energy into your vision and manifest great things.

27. Go for a Drive

Do you enjoy going for drives? Then this is self-care for you. I love taking long drives into nature. They pair perfectly with music playlists.


Musical Things to do Instead of Drugs

Are you a musical person? Me too! Music is the language of my soul. So I included several musical things to do instead of drugs on this list.

28. Create a Music Playlist

Speaking of the perfect playlist for that long drive, what will you put on yours? Perhaps, create several playlists to encompass each of your moods?

29. Listen to Music

After you create the playlists, listen to them. Alternatively, Pandora is a great way to listen to a random or catered selection of musical hits. Also, it’s fun to check out music videos on YouTube. Furthermore, you can create playlists on YouTube too!

30. Sing Like No-One is Listening

Do you love to sing? It’s so good for the soul. Sing like no one is listening and get that spiritual release. Alternatively, grab the mic for karaoke and let everyone marvel at your pipes.

31. Play an Instrument

Do you play an instrument? I don’t. But I imagine that it’s a wonderful activity to let go and have fun. Additionally, learning how to play an instrument could be your learning something new endeavor on the list.

Cleaning Things to do Instead of Drugs

Do you enjoy cleaning? I do not. However, I also don’t enjoy being surrounded by mess and clutter. In fact, clutter has been linked to anxiety and depression. Two things that can lead to drug use. So here are a few ways to stay on top of that mess.

32. Clean House Top to Bottom

Take pride in your home by cleaning it top to bottom. Find household cleansers that smell good and scrub away.

33. Eliminate Clutter

Eliminating clutter is a freeing experience. You can feel the anxiety and stress going away with each pile cleared. Nothing beats organized closets and clean countertops.

34. Clean Your Car

The car is the thorn in my side. Especially with two children! I think most mothers can relate to the backseat being trashed in an instant. So take time to detail the inside of your vehicle. Also, don’t forget to bless with a fresh new scent. That’s my favorite part of this chore.

Related: 8 Steps for Effectively Managing Triggers in Recovery

Spiritual Things to do Instead of Drugs

Participating in spiritual things to do instead of drugs is a vital element to my recovery. So I absolutely believe this to be true for you too. Here are a few spiritual practices to do instead of alcohol and drugs.

35. Get Into Nature

One of the best spiritual awakenings can be spending time in nature. Relishing in the majesty of creation always rejuvenates my soul. Do you have access to the ocean, mountains, forest, or a beautiful waterfall? Without a doubt, make the trip. Alternatively, visiting hiking trails is a way to get into nature.

Snoqualmie Falls, WA

36. Meditation

Meditation is another wonderful spiritual practice. Although, it can take some practice before you experience its release. Firstly, discover which beginner guide to meditation speaks to you. Secondly, get yourself a comfortable meditation cushion.

A meditation cushion is ideal for ensuring a steady and consistent practice. As well as encouraging you to retain healthy posture. Lastly, they relieve pressure on your back, knees, and ankles.

37. Prayer

Prayer is the ultimate spiritual connection to God. It’s the communication that allows you to make your wishes clear. As well as for releasing any guilt or pain your holding on to. Additionally, prayer is the pathway to forgiveness. Which is the ultimate gift and blessing.

38. Take Care of a Plant

Do you have a green thumb? There’s no time like the present to care for a plant. In fact, several rehabilitation programs encourage gardening for people in recovery. Gardening can increase concentration and enhance mental functions. Additionally, working with nature decreases anxiety and depression.

39. Take Care of an Animal

Alternatively, care for an animal. Several types of small pets require a loving home. Check out your local shelter to see what adoption entails. But be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Little puppy pun there. Caring for animals can be wonderful for the soul.

40. Prayer Journaling

Keeping a prayer journal is a fun way to communicate with God. The bonus to writing your prayers down is the ability to reflect on them later. It’s encouraging to see where God has listened and blessed you.

41. Practice Acts of Kindness

Practicing acts of kindness is great for both your mental and spiritual health. Did you know that the feel-good circuits in your brain are stimulated by charitable acts? Additionally, your brain releases endorphins to reward your charity.

42. Listen to a Spiritual Podcast

Check out a spiritual podcast for realistic things to do instead of drugs. Sometimes listening to a good podcast feeds the soul.

43. Read a Spiritual Book

Alternatively, read a spiritual book. In addition to self-help, spiritual books can provide you with the tools you need to overcome a situation. As well as they can give you hope. I really enjoyed The Shack and Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames. But I have a collection of C.S. Lewis books on my list. I’ve heard incredible things about them.

44. Go to Church

Some people find community and fellowship at church. Did you know that many churches host Celebrate Recovery groups? It’s a Christian alternative to the 12-Steps program. Based on eight principles from the Beatitudes.

45. Practice Tai-Chi

Tai-Chi is a spiritually healing practice. Like yoga, it focuses on breathing, flexibility, and a sense of well-being. There are hundreds of free Tai-Chi video tutorials on YouTube. However, to understand the principles, you may want to invest in a book.

Donation Things to do Instead of Drugs

Indeed, helping other people is a way of helping yourself. Of course, that shouldn’t be your only motivation for giving back. How much have you taken? Has anyone helped you along your way? Finding ways to pay it forward is my favorite part of recovery. So here are a few donating things to do instead of drugs.

46. Donate Time

Donating your time is one of the most generous donations you can give. Places that often need volunteers include food banks, animal shelters, nursing homes, and homeless shelters. As well as libraries, community centers, and parks.

47. Donate Belongings

One of the biggest joys in cleaning and eliminating clutter is creating a donation box to bless others. However, make sure to research where you donate to. For example, Goodwill and the Salvation Army, are rated as the worst places to donate.

48. Donate Money

There are thousands of ways to donate money. But be diligent with where you donate. Research charities to see how much of your donation honestly goes to the cause you’re supporting.

Additionally, making personal donations to friends or family in need is a gracious charitable act. Do you have an opportunity to support someone with a summer camp, higher education, or sports program? Do it!

49. Donate Blood

Another valuable way you can help is by donating blood. In this instance, you’re literally saving a life. In fact, you may be saving up to three lives with each donation. Visit the Red Cross Blood Services to find a location for you to donate at.

50. Donate Hair

Last but not least, donate your hair. There are several reputable organizations to donate your hair. Such as Wigs for Kids and Locks of Love.

That concludes this list of fantastically realistic things to do instead of drugs. Were you inspired or left wanting more? Please add additional sober activity ideas to the comments below. Also, will you hit that social share button for me? Thanks! Those always make me smile.

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Elizabeth Ervin

Elizabeth Ervin is studying to become a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor. She overcame heroin addiction and is passionate about helping others with recovery. She writes regularly about addiction, recovery, and mental health at

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  1. It’s easy to say don’t do drugs, but what should you do instead? I know this will help someone. Thanks for this amazing list of things to do instead of drugs! My fave is to read a self-help book.

    1. Thanks for exploring this list of things to do instead of drugs. Self-help books are my favorite. They’ve helped me grow and mature through so much.

  2. This is SUCH a fantastic list! I’m so glad you shared it. I really love that you included seeing a therapist. So many people use drugs – and alcohol – to try to address their problems.

  3. There are so many great things to do instead of drugs here. There are so many things you can do to feel better and have fun that don’t involve drugs and alcohol. I think it’s so important for people to remember that. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I think these are all great ways to do something besides drugs and alcohol! I know I enjoy a lot of these things! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Drugs are a definite no. I’ve never tried it and I was never interested to do so. There are many worthwhile things to do such as the ones in your list instead of trying drugs.

  6. This is great and a super helpful post. Even for people who are not in recovery this list has so many things to do. I appreciate the health aspects.

  7. I have to say I love the title of this blog! Very witty but also on the ball. Great suggestions of things to do instead of drugs. I’d rather do any of these than hard drugs any day!

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