5 Ways to Get High While Staying Sober

5 Ways to Get High While Staying Sober

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This post was originally published on December 31, 2014.

So you’ve put down the bottle and the pills… but your life feels a little hollow without the rush of a regular high. We don’t blame you, man. Feeling that special sense of dizzy, un-self-conscious freedom is admittedly pretty awesome. Here are a few replicas you can turn to when you feel like you need a natural fix. Obviously you can get addicted to things aside from drugs and alcohol (sugar, sex, nicotine, etc.), so it’s up to you to keep a handle on that.

1) Amusement Parks

Maybe I’m alone on this one, but one of the greatest things I can imagine—and one of the things that takes me out of my head and into the moment more quickly than anything else—is going on crazy rides at a good amusement park. State fairs work too, though their rides usually suck (they’re not scary enough, obvs). I just can’t get enough of that lightning-sharp momentary thrill that sucks you immediately into the present and annihilates any and all feelings other than fear. Can’t beat that, right?

2) Sugar/Chocolate

I know this one is slightly predictable, but you’ve gotta admit it’s a great one, right? Food (for me, it’s sugar) is one of life’s most reliable, potent natural highs. There’s nothing like craving french fries or frozen yogurt or whatever, then going to get some—that first amazing, perfect, delicious bite! Successfully meeting your crazy craving! Ahhhhhh it’s the best. I’m so glad food exists. Obviously sugar is addictive, so you might want to try to stay fairly moderate with that one (TBH, though, I’m bad at being moderate with it. It’s my top vice.)

3) Serious Laughter

I love comedy shows. But somehow I forgot that I loved comedy shows, and I didn’t actually attend a comedy show for, like, three years. Since moving across the country a few months back, I’ve been seeing more comedy and remembering why I liked it so much in the first place. Laughing is incredibly cathartic and soothing, you guys. It yanks you into the moment, out of your head, and into the awesome stuff happening around you as you wait for the next perfect one-liner. Of course laughter isn’t limited to comedy shows; if you have a friend who’s hilariously witty, hang out with them more often!

4) Running

We’ve all heard about the ensuing bliss that results after going for a nice (uh, just kidding) long run. You know, runner’s high. Yeah, that shit is real. The endorphins produced during exercise of any kind have a chemical impact on your brain; endorphins are clusters of peptides that interact with opiate receptors, decreasing the awareness of pain or stress. But the euphoric, slightly sedated high associated with running for 50 minutes or more is a specifically awesome one. Endorphins are free and non-addictive; they look good on everyone.

5) Sex

Obviously sex was bound to be on this list. I mean, how could it not? Getting busy (and reaching orgasm) is one of nature’s purest, simplest pleasures and it’s enjoyed by most people in nearly every culture around the world. After orgasm, your body will release beta-endorphins—yup, those natural painkillers mentioned above. Plan to experience a nice warm fuzzy glow for a while, but be aware that too much sex can indeed become a bad thing, especially for addicts. Sex addiction sounds sexy, but trust us, it’s anything but.

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About Author

Laura Barcella is a documentary researcher, author, freelance writer and ghostwriter from Washington, DC. Her writing has also appeared in TIME, Marie Claire, Salon, Esquire, Elle, Refinery29, AlterNet, The Village Voice, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out New York, BUST, ELLE Girl, NYLON and CNN.com. Her book credits include Know Your Rights: A Modern Kid's Guide to the American Constitution, Fight Like a Girl: 50 Feminists Who Changed the World, Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Madonna & Me: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop and The End: 50 Apocalyptic Visions From Pop Culture That You Should Know About…Before It’s Too Late.