Alternatives to killing time 

ACTION: Adapting CANSAS to Individuals’ Own NeedsRecovery Conversation Theme #5: Interests and Activities

by Warren Heggarty

green tea.jpgABOVE: After the pudding party, why not visit a tea shop for Devonshire tea, or (as demonstrated) a Japanese tea ceremony? 

Clive, a young English gentleman who writes for VICE, decided to give up drinking for a month to “cleanse his internal organs.” Scanning the Internet for something to do while drying out, he baulked at every idea. Here, we baulk back at him, ruthlessly pointing out that he’s missing out on the ride of his life. (Martin, 2013) 

Let’s have a pudding Party 

“Sure, a nice idea,” Clive groans, “Everyone likes cheesecake, right? But how many people with booze abuse issues are any good at making puddings?” The very idea of knocking off the grog, or recovering from some kind of mental health issue, is to EXPAND your repertoire and become more than you once were. Learning how to make puddings is one of the most excellent ways of doing this. Enrolling in an evening college will lead to meeting lots of hunks/babes who love pudding as much as you do. And you will be politely invited to go home to their place to enjoy that pudding. And vice versa. 

Swap Shop Party 

Where everybody brings second hand stuff to exchange with others. Clive snarls that he would not want to swap “puke stained” gear with other “semi alcoholics.” Again, the point is being missed. The ingredients of mystery paired together with the possibility of gain surely outshine the inevitability of a bad hangover. Besides, swapping items of clothing with fellow party goers sounds like fun and it is about time one learned how to remove puke stains. 

Afternoon tea in a posh hotel 

Predictably, Clive, a pommie, plays the class war card, supposing himself to be a hard drinking working class boy who would never go in for this Tory nonsense. Yet a whole Japanese working class fashion subculture called LOLITA (not to be confused with Vladimir Nabokov’s novel) involves dressing up like a princess (or a prince) and going round all the poshest tea shops. What a great way to meet interesting people! A boy LOLITA, by the way, is known as an OUJI (pronounced orgy) in Japanese, and there is nothing to stop Clive donning his finest garb and getting amongst it. 

Go Dancing 

Again, Clive dismisses this alternative lifestyle without even giving it a chance. He probably thinks dancing is that nonsense he sees on the TV, which has nothing to do with actual dancing. Dancing while sober brings you into contact (some forms of dance bring you into actual PHYSICAL contact) with other charming people in a choreographed manner which is designed to make it easier for shy, sober people to interact. It is also a great form of physical activity with many health benefits. 


We feel that Clive knows deep in his heart that the juvenile behaviour he indulges in while drunk has a more cultivated, attractive alternative form. Like Sober Karaoke. He quips “Why fill yourself with (drunk) courage and embarrass yourself in front of strangers when you can embarrass yourself in close proximity to people you know and love without even having the excuse of drunkenness to fall back on?” The answer to this question is “Because it’s more fun that way.” 

Ice Skating and Roller Disco 

Clive dismisses ice skating without mentioning a phobia of slicing his fingers off, which is quite creative. But he is obviously jealous that ice skating rinks are full of people on “second (and presumably subsequent) dates.” Clive is still clinging to the idea that drunken one night stands are the way to go. And there is a reason that Olivia Newton John’s greatest role took place in a roller skating rink (Xanadu). It is because the millennial generation of today would not exist without Roller Disco. 

Go on, Clive, sneer and snort all you like at the sober cavorting of people who have something to do with their lives. We sing, we dance, we skate, we do posh things, we swap gear and we stuff ourselves with puddings. Respect us, Clive. We are your parents. 

Here are some more sober activities (suitable for couples too): Go to a second hand book store (we prefer to call them VINTAGE book stores). Go to a planetarium and gaze at the stars. Take a trip to IKEA and imagine your dream home (for couples, this will help gauge your interior design compatibility). Watch a really awful B movie. (Glen or Glenda with Ed Wood is a special favourite of Panorama). Go to the speedway. Go to the horse races. Go swimming. Go kayaking. Go horse riding. Play golf. Read horror novels aloud to one another… 


Martin, C. (2013, January 3). Ten shitty alternatives to drinking yourself to death. Retrieved from Vice: www. 

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