Updated: Jun 29
It probably comes to no surprise that the weekends are when people tend to drink the most. Think about it... most people have work and responsibilities to think about during the week. So, generally, that leaves the drinking for Fridays and Saturdays.
According to the National Institute of Health, 51.1% of drinkers consume alcohol on Fridays and 62.8% consume alcohol on Saturdays. Drinking tapers off on Sundays at about 28.4%, and for the following days of the week, the percentage consistently stays below 22% (Lac et. al, 2018).
Most people look forward to weekends... but for people in early sobriety, the weekends can be the most dreadful thing to think about.
This rings especially true for people in their twenties. Whether it's classmates, coworkers, close friends, or even family members, it seems like everybody's weekend calendars are filled with plans that involve boozing. How many times have you been invited to bottomless brunch, a night out at a club, or a "wine and charcuterie board night" with your girls?
To someone newly in recovery, the weekends are terrifying.
I remember when I first quit drinking, I felt like I had lost my weekends. I was faced with the task of declining invitations to go drinking, while trying not to slip into social isolation. Before, my weekends were always filled with drinking... I honestly had no idea what to do with myself when I stopped.
I'm here to offer proof that there is SO much more to do during your weekends than drink. It can seem foreign to spend all of your free time sober, but it does become easier. Here's a few things that you can do if you're absolutely stuck on ideas:
Find a new place to explore. This can be a city, a new hiking trail or park you haven't visited before.
Watch a new TV series to watch. Sometimes, all you need to do is keep your mind off of missing out. If you want to pass the time, engulfing yourself in a TV series can be the perfect way to do so.
Do some arts and crafts. I find that doing some arts and crafts can be super therapeutic, and it makes the time fly by! You can buy a coloring book, paint a canvas of your choice, create a vision board, or even start scrapbooking!
Host a game night. Becoming sober can feel lonely at times... one way around this is to host a game night with your friends. Invite them over, provide some snacks, and supply card or board games that you can all play.
Attend a farmers market. Using your Friday or Saturday night to prep, plan, and cook a new recipe can be a fun way to utilize your time while also enjoying what you've made!
Take a trip to a local bookstore. Oftentimes alcohol is used as a way to escape the everyday stressors of life. What's a better way to temporarily escape than through a good book?
Move your body. Start your weekends off right with some yoga classes! Or, you could end your night by taking a dance class where you can show off your moves, without the alcohol!
Join a group. Meet new people by joining a group in your community! You could volunteer, join a book club, or even join a sober meet up!
Invite a friend for coffee. Finding new coffee shops has been a weekend favorite of mine! It allows you to explore different coffee or tea shops in your area, while catching up with friends! Who doesn't love a good cappuccino on a Saturday morning?
Take a trip. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to plan a getaway. Plan a camping trip or to somewhere you've always wanted to go! While this might not always be feasible, a two-day spa retreat may be!
In the beginning, surviving the weekend can feel like a big task. Don't worry, though. You're about to learn all about yourself and all of the things that you enjoy doing. Just remember, this is a time for you to discover and try different hobbies! You might be surprised by what you find! Keep pushing - you got this!
Lac, A., Handren, L. & Crano, W. (2018). "Conceptualizing and Measuring Weekend versus Weekday Alcohol Use: Item Response Theory and Confirmatory Factor Analysis." Prev Sci. 2016;17(7): 872-881. doi:10.1007/s11121-016-0685-9