For families with a loved one in substance abuse recovery, spending quality time together is an opportunity to make new traditions and to bond closer to each other.
Whether the loved one’s addiction was something the whole family was originally aware of or not, when they return home after treatment it can feel stressful to try to find and plan events that will not become triggering situations.
Regardless of the chosen activity, there are a few basics that apply to every situation when looking for an event that could positively influence the family dynamic.
- Consider everyone’s input. Everyone’s opinions, schedules, interests, and ideas should be considered when choosing a family activity or event. For example, a list of activities could be quickly cut in half depending on the ages and number of kids a family has.
- Make planning part of the event. Try to listen to everyone’s thoughts and find a compromise whenever possible. Part of the family activity could even include the time and conversations spent choosing what to do.
- Set a realistic budget. A successful family activity doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. Since the original intention is to spend time together, be careful to not let the activity itself encroach upon what really matters. To keep costs down, don’t forget to use Groupons, coupons, and discounts (student, large parties, etc.)!
10 Sober Activities for Families to Enjoy
The activities discussed here can be a starting point to explore more options or get a framework for what would interest your loved one.
- Amusement and Water Parks: This can be a fun event for a range of ages and group sizes. While this can be one of the more expensive activities, it could become a once-a-year event that everyone can look forward to.
- Going to the Theater or a Concert: This could be a Broadway, local, or college production. Many aspects of music and theater thrive upon the discussion that they can spark. For example, if a family goes to a show together it will also be an opportunity for the parent that is in substance abuse recovery to learn more about their daughter’s favorite song or for both parents to have stimulating conversation over their interpretation of the play’s surprising end.
- Going to a Sports Game: Similar to the theater or a concert, the production and location of these games can vary from the whole family going to support their little sister’s middle school volleyball game, to a big family trip to St. Louis for a Blues game.
- Going to the Movies: This is a classic option. It’s also a great one to become a tradition as new movies continually come out. As summer approaches, drive-in movies could also be an option.
- Mini Golf, Top Golf, Arcade, Laser Tag, Paintball, Escape Room, Etc.: These options will depend on what’s available in the area and the family’s interests and ages.
- Zoo: These can become wonderful memory-making moments while also being educational!
- Museum: Going to a museum has similar benefits to visiting a zoo, but museums have a bit more age and interest variety for different target audiences.
- Family Game Night or Movie Night: A fun family activity doesn’t have to mean leaving the house! Staying in doesn’t have to be boring! Spice up game night with a tournament bracket, prizes, or themes. Make movie night an exciting commitment by watching a new TV show together or re-watching old childhood favorites. Add (yummy) traditions to any night by making your own pizza, popcorn, or sundaes together!
- Arboretum, Forest Preserve, Lake, Sand Dunes, Etc.: These natural places and activities will vary depending on the reader’s geographic location and the seasonal weather. Again, this can be tailored to what interests the family, but some ideas would be picnicking, backpacking, camping, frisbee, hammocking, bike rides, canoeing, or hiking.
- Volunteering: This might not sound like a crowd favorite, but volunteering as a family can lead to enlightening conversations, learning moments, memories, and relationships with the community. This will look different for everyone; i.e., offering to mow the lawn, wash the car, clean out the garage for an elderly neighbor or volunteering together at your town’s local animal shelter.
No matter what activity you choose, remember what really matters is the time intentionally set aside to be spent together where everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.