One of the best things about getting sober is having the energy, peacefulness, optimism, and joy in your life that makes you want to finally get out and do things! No longer do we have to deal with hangovers, lethargy, guilt, and sadness that so often kept us in bed all day or made us not want to engage with life at all.
A vibrant city like Austin, TX, then, offers a wealth of wonderful activities that can really boost our sobriety and help keep us busy with fun things. To start with the basics, Austin is home to an incredible recovery community. There are a ton of AA meetings and other recovery-based groups. Any time of day, anywhere, you’ll definitely be able to find a meeting to pop into. And there are all sorts of people of different ages, backgrounds, and personalities that make each group unique and special. Try out as many meetings as possible and find the best ones that vibe with you. A great Austin alternative meeting is the Zen recovery meeting at the Austin Zen Center. It involves meditation and a reading from a non-AA text, such as a poem or self-help books or spiritual book, followed by discussion and sharing. It’s held each week on Sunday and is a perfect way to end your week on a peaceful, meaningful, and refreshing note. There are beginners meetings (for those with under a year of sobriety) and there are mens-only and womens-only meetings too. Something for everyone!
Beyond meetings, you can check out all of the sites in Austin. Great places to relax and experience nature include Lady Bird Lake, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Wild Basin and other trails, and day-trips to places like Enchanted Rock for hiking. Lady Bird Lake is the portion of the Colorado River that runs through downtown Austin. It’s lined with greenery, running trails, and boating docks where you can rent kayaks or even join the city rowing club. A lot of young people love to hang out there on the weekends, to cool off in the water and enjoy time on the river. Adjacent is Zilker Park where you can always find people having picnics, walking their dogs, playing frisbee, or jogging.
Enchanted Rock is a beautiful state park located about an hour’s drive outside of Austin. It features a massive rounded rock edifice that will challenge you as you hike up its western face. From the top are stunning views of the surrounding Hill Country. And afterward, if you’re up to it, it’s just a quick twenty-minute drive to Fredericksburg, a quaint small town with shopping, dining, and the National Museum of the Pacific War. (It’s the hometown of Admiral Nimitz.)
Obviously, Austin is home to some world-class dining and shopping options. Check out Congress Avenue for an array of mom-and-pop shops selling rare books, custom cowboy boots, and other Austin-style goods. For dining on Congress, HopDoddy is a great burger spot, Robot Sushi offers killer Japanese food, and Caroline is an upscale spot for American-style dining. Other great restaurants around Austin include Kemuri, a Japanese-BBQ fusion restaurant, Elizabeth Street Cafe for great Vietnamese food, and the plethora of delicious food trucks offering everything from Mexican food to desserts.
Check out MeetUp groups for an array of fun hangouts with people with similar interests to you, ranging from professional networking groups to collectible card games or foreign languages. Austin is a big city with many active alumni clubs from all sorts of national universities. There’s always someone new to meet and, who knows, it might lead to a great job opportunity or a new friendship. And don’t forget the sobriety-centered MeetUp groups available!
For exercise, there are great gyms for all interestings--CrossFit, Equinox, martial arts clubs, aerobics, or yoga. Running clubs and biking clubs exist and are full of passionate people. And if you’re just looking to walk, the city has many strollable areas, from downtown to the trendy Domain shopping center.
The bottom line is that Austin remains one of America’s most livable and popular cities for many reasons. The weather, while often scorching in the summer, is mild during the winter, summer, and fall and it’s easy to get outdoors and out of the house. The city is full of young people busy meeting each other, making connections, and building their careers. It’s a university town, and it’s the capital city of Texas, making it a cultural hub. The job market is solid and growing. It’s an active city with lots of places to hike or enjoy time on the water. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many people of all ages are sober and will be very supportive of your recovery. So if you already live here or are considering moving to Austin, rest assured that it’s a city full of joyful, active, and happy sober fun and love.