My early days of sobriety were spent not drinking. That’s how recovery works, right? I needed to be sober to stay sober; yet without alcohol, I couldn’t seem to get a grasp on how to manage my time. All of my activities revolved around my drinking schedule. But I needed to fill my time with something. I didn’t know how to manage my emotions, either. I was flooded with new sensations that were related to the absence of booze, but I was also being continuously reminded of old wounds and their emotional attachments. I was not numb anymore and did not know what to do with myself. It may be easy for some people to simply say, “Just don’t drink!” It doesn’t work like that for us, though. 

We need to find relief from ourselves — our racing minds and new, powerful emotions —  while working through trauma and establishing healthy patterns. In case you aren’t sure what to do with yourself during sobriety, here are 101 things you can do besides drink.

  1. Go for a walk.
  2. Make a cup of coffee.
  3. Go for a run.
  4. Paint your nails.
  5. Read.
  6. Scroll social media.
  7. Watch cat videos. 
  8. Text a friend.
  9. Drink a glass of water.
  10. Color.
  11. Remove your nail polish.
  12. Take a bubble bath.
  13. Go to the gym.
  14. Go to a meeting.
  15. Call your sponsor.
  16. Watch a movie.
  17. Play with your dog.
  18. Eat a snack.
  19. Try a new recipe.
  20. Cry.
  21. Take a shower.
  22. Be angry.
  23. Play solitaire.
  24. Make a cup of tea.
  25. Masturbate. 
  26. Listen to a podcast.
  27. Mail a card to a loved one. 
  28. Listen to music.
  29. Dance.
  30. Meditate.
  31. Sleep.
  32. Go for a bike ride.
  33. Clean out your junk drawer.
  34. Make a photo album.
  35. Do a word search.
  36. Complete a Lego set. 
  37. Go to church.
  38. Have consensual sex.
  39. Do a crossword puzzle.
  40. Learn chess.
  41. Play online chess.
  42. Go to the library.
  43. Learn a new instrument.
  44. Yoga.
  45. Watch a documentary.
  46. Draw.
  47. Clean the bathroom.
  48. Make a cake.
  49. Go to a thrift store. 
  50. Learn a new language.
  51. Make a list of the places you want to visit.
  52. Clean out your closet.
  53. Binge-watch shows on Netflix.
  54. Knit.
  55. Learn how to knit. 
  56. Volunteer.
  57. Brush your teeth.
  58. Make soup.
  59. Stretch. 
  60. Congratulate yourself for not drinking.
  61. Do yard work.
  62. Start a garden.
  63. Make a list of stuff you want to do with the money not being spent on alcohol. 
  64. Play a video game.
  65. Learn a choreographed dance.
  66. Paint a room.
  67. Pray.
  68. Paint a picture.
  69. Write a letter to yourself. 
  70. Stare into space.
  71. Allow yourself to miss drinking. 
  72. Call a parent or caregiver.
  73. Revisit an old hobby.
  74. Keep a journal.
  75. Try a new restaurant.
  76. Write down what scares you.
  77. Make a gratitude jar and add items daily.
  78. Yell.
  79. Do a puzzle.
  80. Watch ASMR videos.
  81. Visit a friend.
  82. Go to the park.
  83. Go to a museum.
  84. Make bread. 
  85. Bake cookies for a neighbor. 
  86. Listen to an audiobook.
  87. Learn a new craft. 
  88. Put on make-up.
  89. Take off make-up.
  90. Sweep the floor. 
  91. Online window shop.
  92. Go for a drive.
  93. Clean your windows.
  94. Learn a magic trick.
  95. Work a brain teaser/logic puzzle.
  96. Vacuum. 
  97. Sing.
  98. Eat chocolate.
  99. Make a mocktail
  100. Meal plan for the week.
  101. Breathe.

Do any and all of these. Or do one of them over and over until you can get through the urge to drink, the pain of not drinking, and the challenge of facing your fear of living without the drink. Life is full of options even when it doesn’t seem so. We may struggle with substance misuse, but we do have choices. I’m not telling you this is easy; I am telling you it’s worth it. When we try new things or revisit old passions, we are reminded that there is a life of creativity and gratitude waiting for us. There is also warm bread to eat and puzzles to solve. 

What is on your list? What are your go-to hobbies or distractions?