April 1, 2017
Young person’s guide to sober fun
Written by Joel Salvaggio
12 SUGGESTIONS FOR ANYONE IN RECOVERY, BEST SUITED WITH SOBER FELLOWSHIP
For some of us, we spent the entirety of our teenage years drinking and drugging. To use was to live and to live was to use. Maybe we played sports, hung out with friends, went to class and participated in after-school activities, but our identities centered around an addiction that consumed us. Then, all of a sudden, we thrust ourselves into recovery and life as we knew it changed completely.
In early recovery, outside of attending meetings and going to work, we should channel our energy into productive hobbies and associate ourselves with healthy people. At first, we feared that giving up the bottle or drug meant giving up our social lives and sense of belonging. We couldn’t imagine another day intoxicated, but we also couldn’t imagine another day without. It is this fear of the unknown that leads young men and women back out, time and time again.
With help and input from our friends in the program, we present to you the young person’s hitchhiker’s guide to having fun in sobriety. This is not a detailed list as to how to attain long-term recovery (that can be found in the twelve steps), but rather the different activities, hobbies and happenings in southern Louisiana that helped us along the way. If you are bored or in search of direction, try some of these suggestions and add your own to the list.
1. Do service work
- Participate in a local service organization. We gain self esteem through estimable acts, and there are plenty of organizations in the Baton Rouge area that need volunteers.
- Pick up an AA service commitment; make the coffee, supply the cookies or set up chairs. Outside of home group commitments, attend or bring a meeting to the less fortunate: a friend who cannot physically leave their house, a homeless shelter or a correctional facility.
- Lastly, take your own initiative. Whether you are mowing the neighbor’s lawn or volunteering at a local animal shelter, be the change that you want to see in the community!
2. Get an education
- Baton Rouge is home to many colleges, universities and trade schools that can provide a sense of purpose and objective to someone in recovery. If you believe that you are ready to pursue a degree, check out this list of schools in the area. If you chose to enroll, take advantage of the different perks that the school offers. Joining a club or attending school events are great ways to make new friends.
3. Get physically active
- Frequent exercise can lead to a sense of accomplishment, improved health and an increased confidence in your ability to stay clean and sober. It is also a great way to bond with friends while enjoying the beautiful year-round Louisiana weather.
- Do you want to play competitive sports? the BREC offers leagues and opportunities ranging from volleyball and soccer to less popular games such as pickleball and badminton.
Active day trip suggestions:
Hike Tunica Hills
- Right in Louisiana’s backyard, Tunica Hills, Mississippi is an environmentally diverse area perfect for hiking, camping and wildlife viewing. The Clark Creek Natural Area waterfalls provide an ideal location for a day-hike, picnic and an escape from the office.
Bike Tammany Trace
- Tammany Trace is a 31-mile-long trail along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Formerly an “Illinois Central Railroad corridor,” this “rail trail” is ideal for riders of varying skill levels, and all bike types from tandem to road bikes. There are numerous things to do along the trail like sightseeing, parks and playgrounds. Do not worry if you don’t have a bike, they have rentals if need be.
4. Enjoy the sportsman’s paradise
- There is a sense of freedom that comes with being outdoors. Perhaps you have experienced the serenity of unplugging from the outside world through a fishing trip or a morning hunt. Maybe you have yet to experience the simple joys that Louisiana has to offer. From four wheeling to frogging, Louisiana has it all. Unplug with your friends and enjoy Louisiana in its most pure form!
“There is nothing like being able to connect with my Higher Power in the outdoors. When I am hunting, sitting silently, that’s when I talk to God. I’m not thinking about anything but the now and living in the moment. That’s where I find peace, and it’s the same with fishing. I always loved the outdoors, but I lost that passion when I was using. I make a choice everyday to turn my will and life over to god, and naturally my love and passion for the outdoors returned. It just means more to me now.”- Corey B.
5. Saturday night in Death Valley
- You haven’t experienced college football until you cheer on the Tigers Saturday night in Death Valley. Spend the afternoon fellowshipping with Recovery First Tailgaters, and learn first-hand that we CAN go ANYWHERE in recovery. Go Tigers!
6. Crawfish boil
- Acadiana is known for its food. Dishes such as red beans and rice, jambalaya and gumbo epitomize Louisiana cuisine, but the quintessential cajun specialty is boiled crawfish. Attending or hosting a crawfish boil is a Louisiana rite of passage. Make an event out of it, invite your network and start boiling! Pro tip: don’t wear your church clothes to a crawfish boil.
7. Geaux to a sheaux
- Whether you attend local shows, big concerts or multi-day festivals, going to watch live music can be an extraordinary experience in sobriety if you are spiritually fit. So call up some sober friends and make your way to the next event near you!
- Major festivals in Louisiana include: New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Festival International, Essence Music Festival, Voodoo Experience, Bayou Country Superfest, Bayou Boogaloo and Buku Music + Art Project
- Don’t forget about the free events that the capitol city has to offer, such as Live After Five and the 2017 Baton Rouge Blues Festival. Stay up-to-date and check out Dig Baton Rouge’s upcoming events.
“I’ve definitely had spiritual experiences at shows. Being there for the music and bonding with my best friend is a far greater experience than being there to use drugs and alcohol. Being free from the chains of addiction gives me the opportunity to enjoy the music, the atmosphere and all the sights and sounds!” – Jordan R.
- Spend a weekend away in Grand Isle, Louisiana, and discover a fellowship like none other. Apart from engaging speakers, early-bird meetings and an exciting raffle, eat great food at the convention barbecue and fish fry, and star gaze at the evening beach bonfire.
- Mediation and prayer are the cornerstones of a spiritual awakening and connection with a Higher Power. If you stick around the program long enough, we learn that there is no one way to meditate; we suggest that you find what works for you through experimentation and an open mind.
- Some of our favorite ways to mediate are by guided mediations, meditation books, meditation apps, meditation meetings, music, yoga, walking, journaling, taking a candlelit bath and deep breathing.
10. Tiki tubing
- Tiki tubing is the same thing as relaxing on a “lazy river” at a water park, except you spend the whole day on an actual river with your friends and family. Pack sunscreen, food, refreshments, a book to read or a ball to throw (whatever floats your boat, literally). The tubing season begins May 6, and the facility is open every weekend from 8:00 am. until 3:00 p.m. After a long workweek everyone deserves to relax and let loose!
11. Clean Break, Spring break
- Although the spring break season recently passed, Clean Break provides a vacation solution to students that feel like they are missing out during spring break. It is an affordable, recovery based spring break that aids students to have fun, create quality friendships and gain confidence in their ability to stay clean and sober. Please read a testimonial from one of this year’s participants.
12. Trivia Night
- Competing in a local trivia contest while grabbing a bite to eat can be a great way to bond with your friends and win prizes like gift cards and free food. There is no set schedule for every trivia night in Baton Rouge, but if you keep your eyes peeled you will notice that some of your favorite restaurants, like Mellow Mushroom for example, offer weekly trivia and karaoke starting at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday nights. Follow Let’s Get Quizzical Trivia Nights for daily trivia locations. We suggest seeking out restaurants that provide trivia nights opposed to bars.
Honorable mentions: Coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, learn an instrument, record a song, arts and crafts, take a cooking class, go to the National WWII museum, plant a garden, go bowling, join a book club, Go to 13th Gate, attend LSU sporting events, plan a road trip, photography, journal, tour the USS Kidd, Go to the movies, Red Stick Farmer’s Market, go sailing or get a snoball on a hot day