staying sober

Staying Sober in NYC

By on October 6, 2017

Recovery Inspiration

I don’t get super personal on here very often.  I’m switching it up today because my recovery is part of my everyday life, my adventures, my goals, and who knows, maybe I can help someone struggling by sharing this post.  People can go through all sorts of challenges in their life and keep it to themselves but what purpose does that serve?  What if you can share a bit yourself and inspire or save another person?  That’s a huge part of the foundation of the AA community and why people go to meetings and get sponsors.  Staying sober is more than just not picking up a drink.  It’s changing the way you used to do things in your addiction, having outlets, relationships, and always having hope and gratitude.


nyc sobriety recoverysource: flickr // Bernard Spragg


My Sobriety and Outlets

As for many others, if I don’t stay sober then everything will start to fall apart.  That is NOT to say that things will be perfect, easy, or won’t fall apart regardless.  It means that I learn how to cope with situations and consequences to give myself a better chance of succeeding and being happy.  When I moved to NYC I found everything possible to not like about it; I felt depressed, sad, and angry.

Then, after nearly 6 months in the city I decided to start back up with my fitness which I had neglected after leaving Arizona and my wedding.  I had been very resistant to trying Crossfit for some time but decided to give a trial run.  I ended up loving it and joined.  Having Crossfit/powerlifting as a place to go has helped me build a community within NYC, meet friends, and revved back up my endorphins.

At work, I started meeting people in other groups instead of only my department.  I joined in conversations on my commute instead of isolating in the back of the bus.  I’ve added relationships to my life that I had always pushed away during my addiction.


NYC Recovery

For anyone else in NYC struggling to stay sober, or even for those that just opt not to drink for other reasons, it might feel like you’re alone.  The bar scene here is hopping almost every night and restaurants are always offering drink specials and a higher % of adults here drink compared to the average population.  Although I am at a place in my recovery where I’m comfortable being around other people consuming alcohol, it’s not something I do regularly and I have plenty of other things I can fill my time with.  Need some ideas?

Sober Activities in NYC

  • Join a fitness program – There are so many to choose from you may have a hard time.  You can try ClassPass or FitReserve if you want to shop around for the best fitness program for you.  If you go that route, try all sorts of things, even ones you think you wouldn’t like!  You may end up in Crossfit, Bikram Yoga, Kickboxing, Pilates, or SoulCycle classes before you know it.  Gyms like this cost a bit more per month than your standard gym but there’s a good reason.  These gyms become communities and a great way to meet people and make friends.  Although they aren’t all sober, it’s easier to find people that know how to have fun without alcohol since they care about their fitness.

nyc sober

  • Create a life [bucket] list!  New York City has more to offer in terms of activities than most cities.  Outdoor adventure activities may be more limited (no mountains or ocean) but you can still be outdoors for a lot of activities, plus you will spend time walking around the city getting around since cars are not the mode of transportation here.


  • Explore each borough – Okay I’ll be honest because I’m not sure there is that much awesome stuff in Staten Island (if you’re offended then offer me some activities!) But, if you live in Manhattan then make sure to venture out to Brooklyn every now and then!  Each borough has a different vibe, food scene, and unique things to explore.  The Bronx has a huge Botanical Garden and a zoo that I have yet to get to!



  • Escape the city – You can get on a train from Grand Central or Harlem and get to a lot of amazing hikes within 2 hours.  My favorite hike so far, for example, is Breakneck Ridge!  So there aren’t mountains in your backyard but that doesn’t mean there isn’t amazingly scenic hiking nearby!


  • Make an A-Z list – Try to find something to do that starts with an A.  It’s October so maybe go apple picking!  Then, something that starts with a B.  Eat some BBQ!  You get the point.  It doesn’t even have to be A-Z.  I’ve heard you can find food from almost every country in NYC – try that if you’re adventurous.


  • Do outdoor fitness and exploring – Don’t have time to get out of the city or prefer to do your outdoorsy stuff within NYC?  You can get a taste of the Great Outdoors by visiting Central Park.  The park is filled with trails to walk and paths to bike on.  There are often shows and concerts during the summer as well!  If you don’t have a bike but are in the mood to try biking around the city (or park), you can rent a Citi bike.

nyc recovery

  • Visit all of the museums – I haven’t been to almost any of these yet!  There are all sorts of interesting museums all over the city.  There are also a lot of historic areas to visit, National Monuments, and history or food tours you can sign up for.


  • FOOD.  NYC is amazing for food.  If your wallet can take it, you can constantly try new restaurants and never go back to the same one twice!  Explore restaurants and share photos on Instagram or blog about it!


  • Go to AA Intergroup – This is an obvious one but one that needs mentioning since there are meetings all over the city at almost any hour.  An idea for the end of 2017: go to an 11PM meeting and bring in the New Year surrounded by others in recovery.


  • Follow Backcountry Petite – Keep following our blog for more ideas!  I’m always exploring the city and it’s surroundings, and traveling as well.  Maybe you’ll find something you want to explore!


So, there’s no way to be bored here in New York City since “New York City is basically an amusement park for grown-ups.”  [If you’re  done reading this blog post and now looking for a sarcastic article about getting sober in NYC, make sure to check this one out.]


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  1. Reply

    April Rodrigues

    October 6, 2017

    Thank you for your honesty! This could also be labeled as living healthy in the city! Power to you for finding these outlets in your sobriety, being a bit vulnerable, and helping others at the same time!

    • Reply


      October 10, 2017

      Yes this is true! It could apply just for people looking for anything to do in the city besides bar-hopping! Thanks 🙂

  2. Reply


    October 6, 2017

    I loved reading this entry, Rachel. You gave me a really great list and I think making a life bucket list is the biggest thing to take into mind.

    cabin twenty-four

    • Reply


      October 10, 2017

      Thank you!! 🙂

  3. Reply


    October 12, 2017

    I admire your honesty on this. I think it’s so important that people feel safe enough to talk about experiences like this, whether it’s addition-related, mental-health related or whatever. And also, it’s a great NYC to-do list!

    • Reply


      October 16, 2017

      Thanks so much!

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New York, NY

I am Rachel, an early 30's Midwestern girl residing in NYC with my husband and dog. I have learned to appreciate the city but am also a huge adventure girl. Follow along with my outdoor adventures as well as my city adventures and fitness journey. I'm an advocate of empowering other petite women not to be limited by our size!


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