What are the Best New Hobbies for Newly Sober People?

Hobbies — loosely defined as any activity people seek out purely for personal enjoyment — play a critical role in anyone’s mental health.

They’re often especially important for newly sober people, however, because hobbies can help you change your social environment, break old patterns, and distract you from the cravings and triggers you’ll inevitably face.

Not every hobby is a great choice for someone in the early stages of recovery from alcohol addiction, though. Not sure where to get started? We have you covered!

This list of hobbies newly sober people may enjoy includes activities that tick these important boxes:

  • A reduced risk of triggers. Drinking culture is everywhere, and that extends to many hobbies. It’s often hard to watch or play sports without being invited to have a drink, for example, and many cooking classes also bring you face-to-face with alcohol. The hobbies on this list are usually alcohol-free.
  • The ability to foster social connections. Solitary hobbies can be great, and we’ll include some, but changing your social circle and fostering meaningful relationships with others can help keep you sober, too.
  • A chance to move your body. Exercise and other forms of physical activity are crucial for your mental and physical health, and moving your body is easier when you’re doing something you love.

Are you ready to expand your world? Try some of these new hobbies. Who knows? One of them might become a life-long passion.

1. Outdoor Hobbies

Outdoor hobbies like camping, fishing, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, swimming, biking, or running allow you to catch several birds with one stone.

Spending time outdoors, in nature, is a great way to relieve stress — and if you’re not sure you’re ready for demanding physical activity, bird-watching or fishing are two great starting options.

Outdoor hobbies with a challenging physical component give you a real sense of accomplishment and pride, allowing you to build resilience. Solitary outdoor pursuits let escape the world, while social ones that require collaboration — like hiking, climbing, or even gardening — can help you build a healthy social network.

2. Martial Arts

Martial arts are unique in that they heavily focus on structure and discipline — both points that can help recovering alcoholics find a new path in life. If you take martial arts seriously, they have the potential to become all-consuming in the best way possible.

The most popular martial arts include:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Judo
  • Karate
  • Taekwondo
  • Kickboxing
  • Muay Thai
  • Krav Maga

Check out some local classes — most offer a free trial that allows you to get a feel for the sport and the atmosphere. Then, pick one and stick to it. It could transform your life.

3. Dance

Dance — whether salsa, tango, hip-hop, or any other style — is a great way to get moving and meet new people. Dancing requires a hefty dose of humility because mastering those moves won’t be easy, but it’s also fun and light-hearted. What’s more, dance classes are often an excellent way to add structure to your life.

Watch out, though. It’s possible you’ll be invited for a drink. When in doubt, asking your recovery group (if you’re in one) for recommendations can be a great way to find dance classes with a minimal drink culture.

4. Art and Other Forms of Creative Expression

The idea of taking an art class won’t appeal to everyone but don’t knock it until you try it. You may end up having more fun than you ever thought possible, and art classes can also be a promising way to expand your social network.

Pottery, painting, sculpture, drawing, and crafting classes can all bring out a side you didn’t even know you had. In many cases, you’ll be able to practice between classes — giving you something to do at home when you may otherwise feel lost, as well.

Don’t feel like joining a class? No problem. Art is for everyone, and the internet will help you get started with your chosen form of creative expression in no time. Try setting yourself challenges to keep you motivated.

5. Volunteering

Giving back to the community can give sober alcoholics a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Luckily, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities for people with every possible skill set. Volunteering can help you build a community and battle social isolation, but it also distracts you from the struggles you are facing as you focus on others’ needs.

Which of these options sounds good to you?

  • Park clean-up initiatives
  • Reading to seniors
  • Community gardens
  • Teaching illiterate adults to read
  • Food pantries
  • Animal shelters

Here, we’ve left out volunteer opportunities that may bring you face-to-face with alcoholism — and which are likely better suited for a later stage in your recovery.

6. Learn to Play an Instrument

You can learn to play a musical instrument by taking classes (great if you’re looking for social opportunities), but it’s also possible to pick up an instrument at home. Online courses and free YouTube videos can help you get further than you may think!

Joining a community choir is another excellent way to express yourself musically, and it also offers a sense of connection. Don’t worry; many community choirs accept beginners who are eager to improve their skills.

7. Learn Anything

Seriously — it doesn’t even matter what goals you set for yourself, as long as they’re sufficiently challenging, interesting, and motivating. With the world’s information at your fingertips, you don’t even have to plan ahead. However, some newly sober people benefit from community college classes that put them in a room with other eager adult learners.

Not sure where to start? Anything can spark a desire to learn, but we recommend intellectual hobbies you can commit to over the long term after dabbling in a few options. Learn a (programming) language, take an online culinary class, dedicate yourself to studying the history of the Byzantine Empire, or learn everything there is to know about body language.

If your “thing” sparks a desire to keep learning, you know you’re on the right track.

A Final Word

Hobbies are more than a way to pass the time. They’re also one gateway to a meaningful and enjoyable life. In the early stages of recovery, hobbies can be a lifeline — a way to stay sober and start discovering the world beyond alcohol.

We heartily invite you to take your quest to discover new hobbies you love very seriously. Stay away from activities that could lead you to temptation, but go ahead and bury yourself in hobbies that lead to personal growth and better health.

Now that you’re sober, all of your time is yours. How will you fill it?

Category: Articles
Martijn van Eijk
Martijn is a passionate creator and the driving force behind StopDrinking.com. He created this website to assist individuals and their families in conquering alcohol addiction and finding a joyful, fulfilling life after alcohol. With a deep understanding of the challenges they face, he empowers readers with valuable insights and practical guidance on their journey towards recovery. Author of the Stop Shaking Book.