31 Useful Things To Do Instead of Drinking at Night

Working your way through Dry January? Detoxing after vacation? Just need to give your liver a break? There are lots of ways to stay strong and distract yourself when you are not drinking alcohol. Try one of these useful things to do instead of drinking at night after work. You might just pick up a new hobby or healthy habit while you’re at it!

happy girl by lake

Disclaimer: I am not an addiction coach or a health professional. I have no experience with addiction. This post may not be helpful for an alcoholic. I am not claiming to know what addiction or withdrawal feels like or what things can help it. I am simply giving up alcohol for a period of time and suggesting things that I know to be helpful in my own experience.

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Have A Reason For Not Drinking

Everyone has their reasons to attempt a dry January, or any kind of break from alcohol.  Maybe it’s to clean up your system and start fresh for the New Year, or maybe it’s just because it sounded like a good idea.  Whatever your reason, having a reason is important to your success. That reason, silly or serious, will help keep you on track when the middle days of January drag on longer and longer.

No matter what we say – “I’m not addicted, of course I can stop. I only drink on the weekends anyways…” – change is hard!  It is not easy to give up things you enjoy or to remove habits that have a strong place in your routine. 

My reasons this January are health issues I have been putting on the back burner for way too long. Everywhere I turn for help I see the same suggestion… quit the alcohol. I’ve been kicking and screaming, and now I am finally giving in. It’s time to clean up my act and get serious about my health.

Have a Plan

So how will I do it? How will I not give in when I feel the urge to pour a drink? Below I have listed 31 things to do instead of drinking at night. It’s already 23 days into January. I am doing many things on this list, and I feel great! I might extend my drinking hiatus into February!

Indoor Things To Do Instead of Drinking


1. Learn How To Play An Instrument

2. Cook Something New

3. Learn How To Dance

4. Learn A New Skill On SkillShare

Skillshare is a platform where you can learn just about anything! Here are some examples of the wide rage of subjects they offer.

5. Learn Something New on MasterClass

Masterclass is a platform where your classes are taught by masters in their field.

6. Make A New Pinterest Board

There are literally thousands of ideas you could put onto a new Pinterest board. The best part is that Pinterest could occupy you for hours! So many possibilities!

  • Vision Boards
  • Cooking / Desserts
  • Beautiful Rings
  • Places To Visit
  • Guns
  • Ball Gowns

7. Build or Paint a Model Kit Truck/Car

Browse your local hobby shop, or head over to Amazon. These are two my family wants to try.

8. Read A Book

Here are 4 books in my “To-Be-Read” pile.

9. Build A Puzzle

10. Play A Board Game / Online Game

Old school games, or online they all provide a night of entertainment.

11. Play Your Old Video Games

Our old video games are sitting in a box in the closet. When we get them out they keep us busy four hours. The new games have amazing graphics, but there is something appealing about Mario Brothers and having to start all over when you run out of lives.

  • Wii
  • Sega
  • Nintendo DS

12. Play With Your Kids

13. Online Fitness Classes

  • Beachbody – a yearly fee and you will be assigned a coach
  • Openfit – a month fee and you can work the programs at your own pace
  • VShred – programs that can help you shred at the gym

Outdoor Things To Do

woman walking in snow

14. Go For A Walk

Listen to audiobooks or podcasts, or listen to nothing and clear your mind. The fresh air will make you feel rejuvenated.

15. Go Watch a Winter Sunset

The sun sets early in the winter, you could be back before dinner!

16. Make A Chick-Fil-A Run Before Bed

Since you aren’t drinking you are able to jump in the car and head out to get chicken nuggets for a late night snack!

17. Be A Photographer

Grab your camera/phone and walk around your neighborhood. Pretend you are a professional photographer.

18. Run!

  • Beginners can try the Couch to 5K
  • Already a runner – sign up for a virtual race
woman doing yoga at sunrise

19. Go Hiking

  • Use the AllTrails app to find hiking trails near you.

20. Go For A Bike Ride

  • Around your neighborhood
  • At a local park
  • Biking apps can help you find trails or map a course

21. The Fitness Trail At Your Local Park

We’ve all seen them, attached to the walking trail at your local park. Try some of the stations! They are harder than they look. How many pull-ups can you do?

Ways to Replace Your Cocktail

22. Drink Mocktails

23. Buy A New Water Bottle

  • Hydroflask – I try to fill this 3 times a day…one before lunch, one before dinner, and the final one before bed.
  • Starbucks cup – This helps when I can’t go to Starbucks everyday.

24. Drink Some New Seltzer Flavors


25. Go for a Late Night Milk Shake Run

The best part of not drinking… being able to drive! Head out to McDonalds, Five Guys, or Dairy Queen and get a milkshake. Or, better yet, get ingredients and make your own!

Self Care Things To Do

26. Self Tan!

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean we need to be pasty white!

  • St. Tropas – It won’t leave you orange… I promise!

27. Care For Your Hair

  • Use your essential oils and make an oil serum for your hair.
  • Try a new Hair Mask

28. Plan Your Summer Vacation

  • The Beach
  • The Mountains
  • A Lake
  • The City

29. Take a Bubble Bath

Home Things To Do

DIY couple

30. Tackle a DIY Project

Here are a few great DIY and Crafting Blogs…

31. Deep Clean

For some people deep cleaning is relaxing. I fall into this camp now and then. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

  • Clean out a closet
  • Organize your junk drawer
  • Shine your sink! A little trick I learned from FlyLady years ago.
things to do when you're not drinking

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