DIY Recovery Groups: Activities, Events, & Sober Fun
So, You Want to Make a Recovery Group
Have you tried going to recovery groups but found their focus misaligned with your views? If you aren’t a 12-stepper you may find it difficult to find a recovery group you can connect with. If so, make your own! You may think starting your own recovery group is daunting, but if you approach it going in with realistic expectations you will be successful!
Choose a Place!
Before you can assemble your recovery warriors you’ll need a place to do it! Whether you choose your house (which may or may not be a great idea. . .) a public park (do that one instead!) your local library (you can even submit your group to the library’s event calendar), coffee shop, or favorite haunt.
Try to choose somewhere where your group will feel comfortable and relaxed. No one wants to sweat in a tiny room of sadness. Fresh air may be the best thing to accomodate a large group, and invites room for expansion. (And picnics!)
Know Your Intent: Set Goals & Activities
What do you want to accomplish with your recovery group? Most serve as a means of therapy and sharing hard times and struggles during post-rehabilitation. You can spin a unique twist on your recovery group and focus on skill building while talking about difficulties in recovery.
Coloring for Recovery
Some are reluctant to open up, but if you can distract them with an activity, they may feel more at ease. Break out the adult coloring books for emotional wellness and bring a few packs of markers or colored pencils. You can pick them up cheaply from the dollar store, or Walmart. (They have sales during back to school events.)
Collection of Art, Poetry, and All Things Creative
If you want to try something as a conjoined effort each member works on to complete a beautiful piece of artwork, consider inviting members to bring in poetry, journal entries, artwork, or anything you can think of to stick in a sketchbook. Or better yet, so everyone can share in the joy of creation, compile every work onto paper (perhaps poster board) and scan each piece onto a computer and print out a copy for everyone.
It’s almost like making your own recovery literary magazine. You can even raise public awareness by distributing the final project. try settling a goal to complete one in three months. If you’re really serious, you can even call out for submissions online through your social media accounts. (You may come into contact with people who will attend your meetings.)
Similar to constructing a literary and arts magazine for your recovery group consider bringing in scrapbook materials (cardstock, scrapbooking paper, markers, glue, cement glue, & nick nacks) for everyone to decorate- or one page per participant. At the end you can all enjoy a wonderful scrapbook brought to each meeting.
Try completing more than one!
Pick up journals from the dollar store and gift them to each of your members, or encourage them to bring their own. During each meeting ask your members to jot down notes and feelings, and to share them at the end, if applicable.
Have fun decorating the covers of said journals as a group activity while you talk about the hard stuff. Ask members to record their thoughts to share at your next meeting. Conversely, you may offer prompts for your members to respond to, helping them root out unaddressed inner conflicts and difficulties.
Some prompts may include:
- If you could say three things to your drug of choice, what would it be?
- What life circumstances lead you to using?
- What emotions made you feel so helpless you need to escape?
- What has addiction robbed from you?
- What is your plan to triumph over addiction?
- What will you reclaim from your addiction?
- What are five things you need to do before you die?
- What are three things you’ve always wanted to learn? (Find ideas for future activities here!)
- Who in your family or friends also struggled with addiction? Do you find a correlation between your own experiences?
- Do you love who you are? Why or why not?
- How will you find your way back to yourself?
How to Get the Word Out: Invite All the People!
Now that you have some ideas, make a tentative calendar to help you speed things along, and use them as fodder in your social outreach. Take to your twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts. Invite all your friends, even if they’re not in recovery. You can hug two birds with one sprig of millet (birds love millet, and shouldn’t be killed with stones!) and spread awareness about addiction to those who are closest to you and may not understand your disease.
Create a MeetUp group account and invite all of the locals! Three out of ten people have struggled (or are struggling) with substance use disorders, so you’ll hit your mark easier than you think.
Don’t forget more traditional means of getting the word out there by posting flyers on community bulletin boards and around town. Take to your email and send out a blurb about the mission of your recovery group, and proposed events to city hall, local parks, community forums, and anyone involved in your community (like the Mayor directly, the head of your local library, local coffee shops, the bookstore, and beyond).
Think out of the box, there are more people who want to help you than you realize.
Consider Enlisting a Professional
Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to ask for professional help. You may be able to find a volunteer therapist or life coach who will offer some of their time to attend you group as a guest to lead the conversation. Try reaching out to the specialists you personally worked with during treatment. Even if they don’t have the time to devote, they may know someone who does.
Ideas for Sober Events
- Waterpark adventures
- Beach going
- Book signings
- Art walks
- Library events
- Visit to a tennis court
- Go to a State Park
- Visit a museum
- Visit local haunted spots
- Meditation circles
- Fun with yoga (there may even be recovery positions)
What would you like to see in a recovery group?
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.