COVID-Friendly Social & Group Activities for Recovering Addicts

Last Updated: Sep 15th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

COVID-Friendly Social & Group Activities for Recovering Addicts

We’re all feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the stress of isolation and the loss of support can be significant for people in recovery from substance abuse or addiction. The good news is that with a little creativity, enjoying various group activities for recovering addicts may be easier than you think. Connecting with others will help you cope with anxiety, depression, or boredom that may trigger a relapse. 

First Things First: Suggestions for Staying Healthy

It’s possible to get together with friends, but don’t throw caution to the wind. Before you make any plans to organize fun recovery group activities, be aware of recommendations from your local health authorities. Heed warnings about large gatherings, and act accordingly. Wear a mask to protect people around you, and always maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. 

Reach out to friends or family every day to stay in touch, and don’t let yourself become too isolated. If you aren’t comfortable going out, or stay-at-home orders have been issued, pick up the phone and give somebody a call or have a face-to-face chat on Zoom, or your video platform of choice. Video communication tools are surprisingly easy to use, and they allow groups of people to enjoy virtual, face-to-face conversations. 

If it’s safe to venture out, consider meeting a friend for coffee or lunch, but call the restaurant in advance to ensure they’re open. Ask if the staff wears masks and takes other precautions to protect your safety. If you can’t go out, schedule time for a virtual lunch.

Although in-person support groups are on hold for now, most groups, including Twelve-Steps and Smart Recovery, now have online or phone options. You can also find helpful support groups if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other issues. 

Group (and solo) Activities for Recovering Addicts to Curb Boredom

Boredom can be a trigger that may lead to relapse if you aren’t careful. If you have too much time on your hands, use it to try and explore new hobbies or improve old ones. You may discover a talent or skill you didn’t even know you had. 

Best Hobbies for Addicts in Recovery

A new, challenging hobby can relieve stress, build self-esteem, ease depression, and provide a sense of achievement while you’re stuck at home. You may even develop new friends with shared interests. 

Is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to try but lacked the time, or one you enjoyed years ago?  Finding a meaningful activity can be a matter of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to try something new. If that doesn’t work, try something else. You may want to try:

  • Playing a musical instrument or writing a song
  • Drawing or painting  
  • Cooking or baking
  • Growing flowers, vegetables, herbs, or indoor plants
  • Writing short stories, essays, or poetry
  • Crafts such as knitting, weaving, calligraphy, candle making or woodwork
  • How to speak a foreign language
  • Fly a kite (or build your own)
  • Restore old furniture
  • Go stargazing

Fun Group Activities For Recovering Addicts: Staying Indoors

If you miss getting together in person with friends, virtual game nights are a lot of fun. There’s a good chance that your favorite games are suitable for playing on Zoom or other video communication tools.

Charades is a classic game that’s been around practically forever. Getting together with others for a round of virtual charades is different, but it’s just as much fun. You can also use Zoom’s chat feature for a high-tech version of karaoke. Find karaoke songs online, and then take turns belting out tunes in duets, small groups, or individually. 

Pictionary is another game that you can play virtually, using an online word or catchphrase generator. The goal is for one person to draw a picture for a partner or team to guess in a minute or less, without benefit of sound or words. Similarly, if you’re a trivia buff, the Internet has many versions of trivia quiz games. 

Categories games are a fun way to pass the time with friends or family. If you haven’t played for a while, this old favorite game requires participants to fill in a list of categories. Sounds easy, but the word in each category must begin with a particular letter, and there is a time limit. 

Video games are also a great way to connect with friends. Today, more and more games are becoming “cross-platform” allowing friends on different systems to link up and play. If you haven’t invested in a game system like the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation before, now might be a good time to purchase. 

Jackbox — A variety of games for everyone to easily play remote

Jackbox Games is a perfect addition to any video call and an easy way to play games with friends.  These multiplayer games are played either on a phone or web-enabled device that you can use as a controller and are for 1-8 players. 

Fun Recovery Group Activities: Getting Outdoors

Indoor get-togethers can be tricky. Maintaining a safe distance from others is challenging, and indoor spaces tend to have poor ventilation. You can eliminate a lot of worry with outdoor activities, which are generally safer. However, outdoor activities aren’t entirely risk-free.

Stick with activities that allow you to stay at least 6 feet from others unless you live in the same household. Outdoor group activities should be small and include only people from your local town, neighborhood, or community. Remind people to stay home if they aren’t feeling well. As things start to open, places like museums and indoor ice skating rinks can be great places to link up.

Running, hiking, and walking are relatively safe as long as you can maintain the proper distance from other people. Look for wide-open spaces and be careful of narrow pathways and crowded sidewalks. Keep a mask in your pocket and put it on if you’ll be in close contact with others.  

Kayaking, canoeing, and sailing are great ways to get out in nature with friends. Non-crowded beaches are okay, too. You and your friends can enjoy golf, badminton, frisbee, or tennis, but avoid contact sports like wrestling, football, and basketball.

It’s safe to go camping with people you live with, but space tents at least 6 feet apart if you’re camping with other people. Don’t share food, drinks, or eating utensils. Pack hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and soap. 

Similarly, small barbecues and picnics in your backyard or a non-crowded park are good, but order take-out or ask everyone to bring their own food and beverages. Disinfect surfaces frequently.  

Also, don’t be afraid to crowdsource ideas from friends! There are lots of other people in recovery feeling just as antsy that would likely love to get together — virtually or in-person.

Reach Out for Help

If you’re worried about potential relapse or feeling overwhelmed by feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, or depression, don’t struggle alone. The folks at 1st Step Behavioral Health are here for you, and we’re ready to help as you navigate through this difficult time. Just give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.