15 Popular Sober Hangouts You Can Find Anywhere
With or without friends, check out these sober hangouts! Remember the key to sobriety is staying active and engaged. The more you explore the more you are exposed to something new, which can help you meet awesome people you’ll never meet being a hermit at home.
(If you’re not in recovery yourself, you can still benefit from this list.)
Your newly acquired (or aspiring) sobriety doesn’t mean you have to avoid every social gathering like the plague, you just need to be creative in where you decide to lay your roots outside of home. Without further ado, here are 15 popular sober hangouts for people in recovery (or not!) you can find anywhere!
Don’t roll your eyes at me! Starbucks is great for (obviously) grabbing a cup of coffee, alone or with a friend. But there is secret magic to be had at Starbucks; not only a hangout for indie-hipster writers, Starbucks gives you a safe place to separate yourself from the lassitude of your house, which gives you the opportunity to plan what comes next in your life.
Don’t treat Starbucks as mindless coffee drinking, but a place you can go to engage your mind. Bring a book, a manuscript- a notebook for doodling. Anything you’ve wanted to work on but just “haven’t had the time” to.
And guess what?
You can scrapbook there too! Yes, people may look at your strangely, but who cares?! You are a rehab warrior, and they are mere mortals.
You can essentially do anything you want at Starbucks if you treat it as an escape.
2. Barnes & Nobles
I would live here forever if I could- and now you can too! (Until 11pm anyway.) Barnes & Nobles has everything you could possibly want in life ever, books, coffee, music, magazines, journals, interesting kits to make strange, cute things, and desk gadgets.
Even if you’re not a bookworm, you can still have fun at the bookstore. There must be something new you want to learn- or there must be some book you’ve always wanted to read- now here’s your chance. If you are vehemently opposed to reading, you can always opt for an audio book.
If you do all of your book shopping online because it’s less expensive, there’s no reason why you can’t bring your titles to the bookstore to enjoy. You may pick up another treasure on your adventure.
Don’t forget to browse the bargain section!
When I’ve satiated by own lust for books, I sometimes visit the children’s section (of which I spent many years in when I was young) for my beautiful niece, Kei’mora. She may only be two months old, but it’s never too early to start building her library!
(And yes, I’ve already started.)
If you don’t have a youngster in your life, you may consider picking up some books and joining a Big Brothers Big Sisters kind of gig. Reading to underprivileged children is insanely rewarding. You’d be surprised how much you can change the life of a child.
If your past is haunting you, Big Brothers Big Sisters can help you reconstruct your own life, while you help guide another bright star.
Think you’ve seen everything?
Visit all of the museums and impress your friends with how cultured you are- in fact, bring them along! Museums are nothing to scoff at, and will expose you to things of interest you may have never known about. Or perhaps they’ll rekindle an interest.
Recovery is about getting back to your roots, before substance abuse took over. The journey of rediscovery is made stronger by exposing yourself to the beauties around you.
Check out this list of Museums by State.
4. The Mall!
Despite the mall essentially being a place to spend all your money, it’s a wonderful scenescape to traverse with your friends, or solo. Not only will you walk forever (hey, it’s free exercise) but it’s a great way to people watch.
All creative types people watch for new inspiration!
Aside from visiting the medley of stores at your feet, the mall gives you an opportunity to rest your feet and catch up with friends old and new.
Check out this list of Shopping Malls in the U.S.
5. State Parks
When I said don’t be a hermit, I meant it!
I recently took a trip to Georgia and insisted on going to every state park in the area. When I went home I realized I’ve only been to one local state park! There is untapped adventure all around us, but because we are so distracted by the mundane, and accepting there’s “nothing to do,” we forget about the resources right at our feet.
State Parks help you reconnect with nature and give you the opportunity to experience what things may have looked like without our concrete jungles. Many state parks have attractions within them, so it’s a double treat!
Here’s a List of State Parks in the U.S.
6. The Movies
If you’re itching to get out of the house why not see a movie? Sure you can download it (tsk tsk!) or wait for its release on Netflix, but getting out of the house is worth a trip to the theater. Bring a friend too!
The great thing about the movies is you don’t have to find ways to entertain yourself- just sit back and enjoy the show. (The same goes for performing arts theaters!)
7. The Library
Don’t want to spend money on books, but love books? Go to the library! Librarians are little book faeries that will help you find anything and everything- they can even recommend the best reads based on your interests, and can order books they don’t have just for you.
Aside from books, the library rents out music and movies. Check your local library’s special events, some of them are real treats!
But you don’t have to wait for them to come around. Feel free to propose events and clubs for the library. Your case is made stronger with a formal proposal! Send it to the bigwigs of the library and your mayor too. Consider visiting town hall meetings for more “political” pull. You can help make your community the environment you needed.
8. Laser Tag
Go and shoot your friends, or strangers, with lasers! It’s awesome.
Alexandrea frequents Laser Quest and has vanquished many a foe- and friend! You can find one in your area by selecting “locations” from the top menu.
9. The Gym
Hundreds of people in recovery channel their energy into working out- and you can too. While you don’t have to be a “gym rat,” working out will give you boosts of energy and will make you feel wonderful, as working out releases feel-good neurotransmitters.
10. Shoot a Short Film
Get a bunch of your friends together and film a goofy, independent short film. You don’t need any professional equipment, just your phone camera- or perhaps a digital camera you have lying around.
You can make a recovery series for those still struggling with addiction, or you can make a memoir of your own experiences. I talk to myself a lot when I’m alone, give your voice a chance to be heard in front of the camera.
Even if you make the film, or mini documentary, you don’t have to share it with anyone, just getting it off of your chest is therapeutic. Is there something in your community you want to document? I’ve always wanted to make a documentary surrounding the homeless population in my area.
What do you want to elucidate about your own community?
Get cracking! How to Create a Documentary.
11. Arts & Crafts
If you’ve never experienced the joy of wandering an arts and crafts store for hours, you haven’t truly lived! Well, to be fair, there aren’t many I can convince to do that with me. Even if you’re the type of shopper who likes to go in and out, picking up arts supplies for a future, or imminent, project is rewarding, because you are actively constructing something- whereas until recently your life may have been at the mercy of someone else’s direction- or propelled by addiction.
Perhaps not an ideal hangout spot for non-creatives (and I don’t truly believe anyone is absent creativity), arty folk can spend hours in a Jo-Anns, Hobby Lobby, or Michaels.
If you really want to depart from the ordinary, go camping! But take a friend or two. Disconnect from your silly electronics and enjoy the Earth as close as she was intended to be.
13. Local College
No, don’t troll college students, but take a class! Anything you’ve ever wanted to learn is at your fingertips. Although, tuition may be an obstacle for some, but in that case there are tons of free college courses available online.
If you’re already in college, but have a strict set of courses you have to take, taking an elective- or otherwise- online for free will give you the exposure you want without jeopardizing your upcoming graduation. Not to mention, your wallet will be happier.
14. Thrifting Adventures
If you haven’t discovered the wonder of thrift shopping, your life is sad, and you don’t even know it! You can find untold treasures at the thrift store. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing used clothes (you know you can wash them, right?), many thrift stores have an extensive book section, knick knacks, glassware, and some have furniture.
Thrifting is an arts and craft project laying in wait. Try your hand at refinishing something that’s completely outdated, and turn it into a statement piece. You’re not limited to furniture, many thrift stores have an entire section devoted to frames. Always wanted one of those gargantuan frames with all the connecting frames?
Well, they’re kind of expensive (for a frame anyway). But now you can make your own with a glue gun, some sandpaper, and paint! (Why haven’t I done this yet?)
Don’t look at the thrift store as “used things” but fodder for creating something new! It’s the art store you didn’t know existed.
15. Haunted Places
Who doesn’t love haunted places, or the prospect of something otherworldly?
Check out Reported Hauntings Around the U.S. and take a visit! (If permitted, that is.) Consider going on haunted tours in your area too. Even if you don’t have a particular interest in ghosts or haunting, haunted tours are chock-full of historical information about your community and state.
Tell Me About Something I Missed!
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.