“What I love about sobriety is I now do a lot of the things I talked about doing while on the bar stool but never got around to. For me it’s not what I do, it’s who I’m being in each moment, and/or who I’m with, that contributes to my joy in sobriety. I enjoy being by myself these days. I love that I’m now able to feel the connection of my soul and ask for what I need.” – Alumni, Cedars at Cobble Hill
The Cedars Alumni Advisory Committee (AAC) is an exciting new project within the department of Community Care. We know that to create global change in the way people view recovery and access addiction treatment, we need passionate people to spread the message that recovery is possible – for everyone. The dedicated members of the Cedars Alumni Advisory Committee help Cedars at Cobble Hill improve inpatient programming and alumni resources, plan on-site and community based events, and engage the Cedars Alumni network.
We asked our Cedars Alumni Advisory Committee – How do you have fun sober?
1. Be active
A: I played team sports growing up but when I first got into recovery I started also exploring individual sports (I paddleboard, both touring and racing). Doing individual sports has really helped me with getting used to sitting with myself and navigating which self I listen to (my lesser addict self or my higher sacred self).
K: I enjoy going on bike rides (alone, it’s a kind of meditation for me), same with kayaking
L: Sports, like playing on my sober softball team, or just kicking the soccer ball around, shooting hoops, or tossing a ball around casually.
E: I love hikes, exploring, the gym.
S: I enjoy playing tennis and hiking.
C: I enjoy going to Yoga for Recovery, or any yoga class for that matter. I love that I can show up however I am feeling whether that be irritable or full of joy and I am able to move through those feelings while moving my body. I also really like rollerblading, and if I can rollerblade along the ocean, even better!
2. Connect with nature
A: Paddling, hiking, those kinds of things. This helps me admire and appreciate creation and also gives me time to reflect, it can get overwhelming if the isolation is too much which is a good time to enjoy a quiet space to call someone in recovery!
S: I walk, hike, jog, skip in the trees – the magic in a forest always helps.
L: I love hiking these days, especially exploring new places with friends. The forest, rivers, ocean, mountains – I feel so alive and in awe whenever I’m in wilderness. I also love camping. Like, what do you do all day if you’re not drinking by the fire? Apparently, hike the surrounding area, cook, read, play games, build stuff, and go to bed at a reasonable time. Kayaking is fun in the summer. I don’t have a dog but I seem to go on a hell of a lot of dog walks.
S: I find gardening and running both therapeutic in my recovery.
C: Nothing brings me more joy, than taking my dog to the dog park. I get to spend time in nature, and she is in true bliss playing with all her fur friends. This really for me, especially when I am in a bad mood, is a great uplifter. I always find gratitude and feel connected when I am outside with my dog.
3. Make a difference in the community
A: I do service work and sponsor people in 12 step fellowship but also coach young men’s lacrosse. It is very rewarding for me, and gives me a greater sense of purpose.
E: I’m doing respite for my friend. That’s something that would never have happened in my addiction – and we have way too much fun causing trouble at dollarama and going out for dinner.
A: I do service work in my recovery community, help at 12 step fellowship meetings, distributing flyers, volunteering to help with my kids school and extracurricular activities. I appreciate the opportunity to expand my focus to include others.
S: I like to help out at the local food bank and support my neighbour who is a senior citizen.
C: In Victoria we have this excellent organization called Volunteer Victoria. I love to try supporting different organizations but because of my schedule I cannot commit to anything long term. Volunteer Victoria lets me support various organizations for short term commitments. One of the most memorable experiences I have had in my recovery, was serving a Valentine’s Day Dinner at the local shelter. The power of community in the ritual of making and sharing meals is incredible.
4. Reconnect with old passions and hobbies
A: I lost my ability to play the sports I love in addiction. Now that I am living life sober, I play the sports I love again and also coach. I can do these soberly because I know if I drink it won’t be long before I can’t do them anymore.
E: I started dancing again.It is the most amazing feeling to be back. I grew up dancing with Veselka. I left too soon. Because my addiction was a bigger priority. My life would have been so different. That studio, and the stage is my second home. Same teacher still!
C: I am singing again. In my addiction I used to do things just to prove I could do them. Things I previously loved began to lose their meaning. In recovery I sing to connect with my higher power, myself, and with others. It has a whole new (deeper) meaning for me now.
5. Get creative
A: I make art and music and share it, especially with people who are sober and living spiritual lifestyles! This helps me step into my courageous vulnerability – and creative expression is contagious! When I share, it inspires others to try new creative activities as well.
L: I love cooking for people, it’s a creative outlet for me, and going out for a nice meal with friends or family from time to time. I also like colouring or splatter painting.
C: I love painting abstract art. I never thought I would say that – I used to be such a perfectionist control freak! Now I enjoy painting for the journey, it is a great way to spend an afternoon. It can be even more fun with friends.
6. Practice self-care
A: I of course do coffee, dinners, gatherings and service work in my community but I also really celebrating that I am still human and can do so many more things now that I’m sober. It helps me to have faith that I’m on a good path!
E: I love weekend hours spent in the big comfy chairs in a coffee shop, with my books, fancy pens and journals. I get lost in second hand book stores (there is a coffee shop and used book store just down the road from me). I really enjoy reading and journalling and coffee, can you tell?
H: A lot of things that I find fun have changed over the years. I have fun being at home by myself watching a movie or reading.
A: laughing – you know, in those moments where you just laugh and laugh without and guardedness or insecurity. Accepting love and not questioning it, sabotaging it, analyzing it, or deflecting it.
K: Hitting the pool, steam room, hot tub. I also love cooking.
E: I love cleaning and organizing my house! It is turning into my oasis, my temple, my sanctuary. My outside things are reflecting my inside being.I also enjoy preparing meals to set me up powerfully for the week. This is for my physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
K: I enjoy reading. Not gunna lie, at times “having fun” is still hard for me!
L: Going to the Imax theatre, spending hours perusing bookstores, or special outings like the museum or symphony.
C: Little things like having a cup of tea outside on my porch. I like to schedule in time for myself to “do nothing”.
7. Spend quality time with others
M: Dances, camping trips with my friends, hikes, dinner parties, small get togethers, beach days, swimming, going to the gym!
L: Roller-coasters, ziplining, bungee jumping (I have yet to sky dive though). Road trips. With anything I enjoy, the main factor seems to be not what I do but who I do it with. Like-minded people who I am comfortable with, can laugh with, and enjoy talking to can make just about anything fun!
K: Hanging out with my nephews!
E: I love being with my friends and family. I love being able to have authentic relationships and to notice when I’m being selfish and/or self centered in those relationships.
C: I used to really isolate in my addiction, I never wanted people coming over to my home, I was ashamed of the internal and external mess I lived in everyday. I now love hosting get togethers at my house, themed christmas parties, board game nights, karaoke – it is all so much fun sober.
8. Attend recovery specific events
S: Rallies, round ups, and conventions are super fun when I’m feeling social.
L: I am always going on small trips and going to conventions or rallies. They are surprisingly very fun!
C: I was really nervous the first time I went to a fellowship rally. I didn’t know many people, but felt like old friends by the end of the weekend. It is so awesome to have a collective of people who even though I don’t know them, we have the common ground of recovery and fellowship. I look forward to attending them every year.
9. Do something I never thought I could do sober
S: I had never watched a hockey game or been to a dance sober. I never thought I could watch hockey ever again or how would I do it, but I did and it is really fun!
M: Definitely dancing! Before I only ever danced while loaded. I now go to sober dances and actually enjoy myself. I also couldn’t public speak because of the fear and now I go on tv, speak in the rooms, and public speak in schools and at events. I amaze myself!
A: Socializing. because I am prone to isolating, making myself attend things is a way of living my life differently, facing fears – and most of the time, enjoying myself.
E: Travelling! I’ve declared myself a traveler. Going overseas during spring break.
C: I still feel triggered when going to a huge concert or attending a music festival so I know my limits, but I really enjoy listening to live music in a coffee shop or in an intimate setting. I no longer feel like I need to be holding something in my hand to enjoy the experience. It is all about the connection with others and the musician now.
10. Explore different spiritual practices
E: I am finding myself learning and researching questions and topics that come up. I chant and am part of another spiritual community. I have just received my practitioner’s certificate from SGI, a Buddhist practice. I didn’t know I am a chanter. My soul thrives on the vibes.
C: I now follow a path of earth based spirituality. I used to rarely spend time in nature. Now it is a must for my daily spiritual self care.
The staff at Cedars are honoured to work with these passionate like-minded individuals, because together we can truly make lasting change and contribute to the recovery movement around the world – one step at a time. If you would like to learn more about the Cedars Alumni Advisory Committee please contact Lisa Nixon, Alumni Engagement via email or by phone toll free at 1-866-716-2006.