When we reflect on our addictions, we are often amazed at the amount of effort, money, and energy invested every day on pursuing the next ‘fix’. Managing dependency often turns into a full-time job! Once a person decides to come clean and kick their addiction, that leaves a massive hole in their lives. One of the easiest ways to secure and maintain healthy, long-term sobriety is by investing in a hobby. It not only helps keep your mind and body occupied, but replaces negative behaviors with productive ones. But time and commitment are required to stick to any new habits. It usually takes 30 days to break or develop a habit, but this can vary from person to person.
Importance of Having a Hobby in Recovery
Kicking addiction is a way of starting fresh, it’s a new beginning! But, by itself, it is not enough to ensure a comfortable life in recovery. If you decide to kick addiction, but have a lot of free time you’re doing nothing with, you could wind up being tempted to use again. Hobbies fill up that free time in a productive and healthy way so as to help you avoid substance abuse behaviors. They can deliver pleasure and enhance physical and mental well-being, all necessary things for a recovering addict. These practices will make life in recovery much easier and decrease the risk of relapse.
How to Find a New Hobby
You may have no idea how people can spend their free time when first decide to become sober. Rightfully so, the years spent in addiction were years solely focused on catching a buzz/high with no real regard for anything else. However, sobriety is all about finding new ways to experience joy and happiness in life without substances. Here are some tips for you to use to find new hobbies and ways to spend your free time productively in recovery:
- A good starting point is for people to think of activities that they once used to do before they struggled with substance abuse. It is often surprising to people how easy it is to return to these past passions.
- Brainstorming is a great way to create a wide variety of activities. Write down ideas to help you find which ones suit your individual needs.
- Discovering new hobbies can be a trial and error activity because every person is unique. People must be willing to try to find anything that they think is suitable or maybe even out of their comfort zone.
- If there is more than one hobby that piques your interest, don’t be afraid to try multiple. Be sure to not overwhelm or over-extend yourself, but don’t be afraid to pick up a few new hobbies. Having a combination of mental and physical activities is a great start.
Things You Can Do to Avoid Drugs and/or Alcohol
Whatever your interest is, make sure it is far removed from any addictive behavior. If your new hobby starts to put you in settings/environments where substances are used or addictive behaviors are encouraged, it’s best to consider new activities. We don’t want you falling back into old habits. Here are some excellent examples of hobbies recovering addicts often pick up.
Exercise is an excellent hobby for anyone to pick up. When a person abuses substances, they often neglect their own physical health. Implementing regular exercise into your recovery routine is a great way to occupy free time and help create a healthier lifestyle. Exercise is an efficient way to release endorphins to the brain that offer us natural happiness. You don’t have to become a runner or a mountain biker, just a simple stroll outside will help reduce the cravings.
Much research has shown the many benefits of volunteering for public service. Lending a hand at a homeless shelter, animal shelter, or local charity is a great way to help the community and serve your fellow citizens. Everyone needs a little help!
Yoga and Meditation
The sedentary withdrawal symptoms of body, mind, emotion, and spirit, a whole approach to well-being, have been shown to be mitigated by yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation are great ways to ease a seemingly chaotic mind in early recovery. During the early stages of recovery, you may feel stressed, anxious, and depressed. Yoga and meditation help you ease the mind, reach a state of extreme clarity, and focus on your physical and mental well-being.
Reading almost anything can be a way to relax and think critically. It also a way to let your mind work and be occupied. Books can be read quickly and they’re fairly inexpensive. This can also be considered a different form of meditation! Reading helps you calm down, sit back, and focus on the words laid out in the pages.
Listen To or Create Music
Everyone loves music, so why not make it more of a hobby? Some recovery warriors start to create music or listen to it more intently. Early sobriety is the perfect opportunity to learn an instrument or to pick up an instrument we used to play. Even going to a show to dance and enjoy a favorite band is an excellent idea; just be sure to bring an accountability buddy in case there are substances at the event that will coax you to relapse.
Writing is therapeutic and can help you unwrap your thoughts and feelings. You can take online courses (some unique to recovery people) or just start journaling. Explore different ways and solutions to short stories from free verse writing. Writing allows us to withdraw, and if you prefer to keep it confidential, nobody will have to read your work. Writing helps us know what we have stewed in our minds with this written word.
When we adopt hobbies into our recovery lifestyles, we greatly increase our chances of successful long-term recovery. If you are looking to go through recovery, make sure to fill up your free time with a hobby or two. Take what we said here today into consideration and find one that helps you in your walk through sobriety.
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