6 Ways To Have Fun As A Couple After One (Or Both) Of You Become Sober

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duo tone couple cuddling in front of a twinkle light background

When I began my recovery journey from addiction almost 25 years ago, I was amazed to learn how many marriages ended in divorce when a spouse went into recovery.

It seemed illogical to me people were able to stick it out in their marriages for decades during active addiction, only to become casualties of the recovery process. In the most surprising cases, it was obvious both people were in love but couldn’t figure out how to have fun together sober. Initially, this didn’t make sense to me.

Then it happened to me. My wife, Kristin, and I realized we didn’t know how to have good, clean, sober fun together anymore. It dawned on me I hadn’t heard much about this in the recovery rooms or my men’s group. Cliches like “be patient” and “keep coming back” didn’t seem appropriate for a marriage needing help now.

Kristin and I decided to make an adventure out of it. We both love competing together, so game-ifying things made it fun and interesting for us. Our relationship began to get better very quickly once we stopped thinking and started playing. We discovered the pursuit of finding fun things to do together became the fun itself.

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Here are six ways to re-learn the art of fun as a couple on your sobriety journey

1. Hold a memorial service.

Sit down with your partner and create a eulogy together. Acknowledge the good times you laughed together and the struggles that made you stronger. Take time to feel the emotions, give them gratitude, and say goodbye.



2. Renew your vows.

Make some new ones based on your present life. They don’t have to be anything super deep or articulate. Acknowledge and pledge a brand new love, where everything in the future will be fresh. You can take it further by inviting your partner to hold you accountable if you slide back into an old pattern. Make the accountability gentle and loving, like a kiss on the left ear or something. This helps you avoid conflict and could even spark some afternoon delight.

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3. Go on a honeymoon for at least a weekend.

Be sure you’re off the grid and can focus on each other exclusively. We found seclusion in nature worked best, so we avoided triggers from the past, and connecting with nature has a mysterious healing effect. Try to avoid conversations about the past, your children, or anything at home. Make a game out of it where whoever breaks the rules has to give the partner a massage or even something a little nastier.



4. Dig deeper into your fun.

Look beyond the activities you defined as fun and identify the feelings it gave you. Close your eyes and sense where you feel it in your body. Then surf places like for new things to spark the feeling in you.

Be willing to try things regardless of what limiting thoughts are popping up. We did things like ballroom dancing, golf, ice skating, and snorkeling, to name a few. Some things turned out to suck, I’m not into scavenger hunting, and some things we loved way more than anything we’ve ever done. Throwing all the judgments out the window and learning to say yes to a feeling in your body has amazing results.

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5. Dream on.

Set aside two hours a week to lie on the hood of your car, under the stars, and dream together. Remember when you first started dating and how fun it was to dream about your future together? Most couples stop doing that after a few years.

Instead, we stress about having enough money to enjoy a future we don’t even dream about. It sounds illogical when you take a moment to think about it. Dream and share those dreams, and write them down in a dream journal. Then, do whatever you want. I like to review them every few months and revise them.

6. Spend one night a week out with friends.

The best thing you can do for your spouse is to establish close relationships with other people. Find a group of conscious people on a similar journey. Get dirty, get physical, share your deepest fears, laugh, cry, and scream. Recovery from addiction is a gift only a chosen few will ever receive. It’s more than cleaning up an old mess that no longer works.

It’s a rare opportunity to take a look at why you were put on this planet and to fulfill that purpose. There are so many others who will go to their graves never having this chance, regardless of whether they were addicts or not.

Everything you’ve done to this point is based on a story or blueprint you created about how life should be. Now, you’re being given a chance to rewrite your story. It’s a lifelong journey with instant rewards. Embrace this gift, find a mentor or coach to guide you, and design the life you were always meant to live.

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Greg Boudle is a recovery life coach and professional speaker. He is the author of seven books, including Life Beyond Clean, a 90-day journal to help people turn life around during recovery.