Jan 15

New Year New Hobbies: Substance-Free Activities to Try

Winter is well and truly here in western Canada. Snow is blanketing the towns and the days are getting longer, but still short. If you find it harder to maintain sobriety during winter now that there are fewer things to occupy your time, you are not alone. With these long dark evenings, many folks start to get ‘cabin fever’ from being confined to the house for months on end. So for this blog, we’ve highlighted three new hobbies to try out this winter, and maybe a few of them will even stick!


A classic Canadian past-time, in many towns, community life is centered around the rink. Curling is a great way to get out of the house and meet new people without being in a bar. Curling started as a way to alleviate the tedium of long winters so it only makes sense to put it on your list to try. No matter the size of the town almost all places in Canada have a curling rink and therefore a curling club. Joining a curling club means you are creating a new community for yourself, and making a commitment to show up for practices and tournaments. Being accountable to others can help you stay on top of the recovery commitments you’ve made to yourself.

Crochet / Knitting

Working with wool sounds like something for your grandma, but don’t let the stereotypes deter you. Crafting can be an affordable and satisfying hobby. Have a friend’s birthday coming up? Try knitting a basic scarf. It’s the easiest project to start with and it is the gift that truly keeps on giving. Your friend has a new scarf, you learned a new skill, your hands were busy, and your mind focused on your stitches. You also probably saved money on that gift by making it yourself! Yarn can be expensive at craft stores so head to a thrift store and you’ll be surprised at the large selection for a fraction of the cost.


Like curling, hockey has become synonymous with Canada. Many kids grow up learning to skate and playing hockey. It may be one of your favourite sports to watch with friends at the bar or at someone’s house. This can be a tricky situation to get yourself into. You want to see your friends and watch something you love, however you don’t want to put yourself into a situation that is almost always full of beer. Joining an intramural hockey league can be a great way to combine your interests without the alcohol.

  1. References:
  2. https://www.quitterscircle.com/staying-smokefree/chew-on-this-the-need-to-engage-your-mouth-and-hands-after-quitting

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