Everyone knows that recovering from an addiction is a problematic life-long process. The whole getting through detox, doing a stint at rehab, and coming up with an aftercare plan will have you giving everything you have (and then some) to get clean and stay that way.
What many people are ordinarily unprepared for is the ensuing boredom of the drug-free life.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise; in your previous addictive life, the better part of your day was spent chasing the thrill of a high.
If you were not snorting, smoking, or drinking yourself to oblivion or you were planning on how to do it. Now, you have chosen to swear off drugs and the days ahead all seem like such a yawn.
You are at a loss on what to do with yourself, and you think this is a sink or swim situation because if you don’t get something to do, you’ll probably sink back to your addiction.
Let me dispel the myth that boredom is a problem when it is, in fact, an opportunity. A chance to rediscover who you are and adjust to your changed circumstances.
In your former life, drugs were the axis around which your life rotated; you need to learn how to build a new healthy life. You had gotten used to the hyper excitement of a high and the drama that surrounds it, so you probably don’t even remember how normal happiness feels.
From the brouhaha of detox and the minute by minute order of rehab, things have decelerated very quickly. Even so, boredom gives you a perfect chance to become reacquainted with Genuine Happiness.
And just like a journey of a thousand steps, it will take time, a certain degree of commitment, and a lot of trial and error.
How to Find the Right Hobby and Activity
Not all of us can sing like Elvis or paint a Botticelli look-alike. We all have different passions, skill, and interests.
Here, the goal isn’t to find something to do but to find something that’s right for you.
Recovery gives you incredible insights on the person you were when you fell into the arms of your addiction and the person who gave their blood, sweat, and tears to get through detox and emerge sober, clean, and healthy.
The activities you start will allow you to put those insights into practice and continue to self-discover while socializing with people that are also sober and clean.
Preferably, choose a hobby that isn’t related to your professional identity to help in completely disconnecting from the monotony of daily activities.
Recharge your zest for life, and open your mind to a world of possibilities you never thought possible.
The first step in finding the right bobby is to make a list of things that used to interest you before all the drugs and alcohol smothered everything fun and exciting for you.
To help you brainstorm, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do you have any interests or passions you had previously abandoned or always wanted to try? If yes, what are they? This is the perfect time to do all those things you wanted to do but ‘never’ had the time.
What were your childhood interests? What made you stop? If you can’t remember why you quit, then the reason wasn’t strong enough and it’s time to get back on that horse.
Have you any role models? Why do you look up to that person? Is it because that whopper snapper looks dashing while drawing an arrow? Try archery and let’s see if you won’t look so bad yourself.
Still not sure what to do? Go online. If you are still drawing blanks, do some internet research.
Websites like YouTube have thousands of how to make/ do videos.
Read some articles about what other recovering addicts are trying out and the effect on their recovery.
Any activity that catches your fancy is a great place to start.
People have turned childhood hobbies and other activities into billion-dollar enterprises. So it isn’t such a stretch of the imagination to think that you may come to enjoy the past times and develop them into hobbies.
You’re probably already kicking yourself for not seeing this one coming, right? That’s because it should be at the top of your list.
Most writers draw their inspiration from real-life experience, catching raw emotions with carefully selected words.
The life of an addict can provide enough content for a theater company to go on a six-month tour around the country and have all their shows completely sold out! You have had more ‘life’ than most people get in a lifetime.
Write about what you went through, what it took to decide to change your lifestyle, and how your life has changed for the better.
Focus on what you hope to gain from staying clean. Visualize the life you want, write it down, and keep it close. It will help remind you of why you are choosing to abstain from drugs while at the same time rewire your brain from an anxious state to a more grounded and peaceful serenity.
Recovering from an addiction is a lifelong process. Often, addicts feel like they are playing catch up with the rest of the world because of all the wasted opportunities, making them feel anxious, driven, and resentful of others.
Ultimately, this will unearth long-ago memories, and the emotions you tried so hard to banish to the furthest recesses of your mind with booze and drugs will come rushing back.
Since you are no longer under the influence, there is nothing to numb the pain, and it feels like the unfortunate event just happened a second ago. You start feeling overwhelmed and begin to doubt your every move- including sobriety.
Once this happens, it is crucial to take a step back. Seek the advice of a qualified professional, take it easy on yourself, and give yourself a timeout.
I’m not saying you should drop everything and sign up for a marathon (unless you want to of course).
Any outdoor activity that gets your heart rate up and increases the serotonin level in your brain should do the trick.
Something like taking a walk around the neighborhood gives you time to organize your thoughts as well as put everything into perspective by allaying the fears and anxieties that have been haranguing you.
Fresh air is invigorating. Let Mother Nature surround you with her sweet smell and allow her to heal your wounded spirit.
Another thing you can try is meditation. Controlled breathing has been known to combat the cravings of addiction.
Yoga is an amazing opportunity for practicing meditation and conditioning for the body. Perfect practice for the body and spirit!
Nothing distracts you more from your troubles than helping other people. It gives your life meaning and offers a sense of direction that was previously lacking.
You can direct all that pent up energy, frustration, and insecurity into making the world a better place for at least one person. Addiction had made you selfish. It made you only care about what you wanted, neglecting everyone else around you. Doing charity work is a proven effective way to unburden a guilty conscience. Where you choose to volunteer should align with your interest, passions, or even skills.
For instance, a recovering heroin addict who is a certified building manager passionate about construction can volunteer at non-profit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.
Make New Friends
To sustain long-term recovery, you will need a robust support system. A big part of that system will be your sober friends. All the friends you currently have are likely addicts themselves. Safeguard your sobriety and drug-free life and cut off those ties.It is now an excellent time to make friends that have embraced your new lifestyle and are living happily with their decision.
Recovery doesn’t have to be lonely. Friends motivate you to meet up with a social group, have coffee, share your experiences, celebrate achievements, and generally have a jolly old time.
Spending time with them also helps you brush up on your social skills and become comfortable being around other sober people.
Gardening is a therapeutic hobby as it connects the addict with Mother Nature. If you have a green thumb and feel an attraction to everything green, go ahead and take up gardening.
Being outdoors gives you back the sense of peace that drugs and alcohol took from you. The activities involved in setting up a garden and caring for the plants provide an alternate focus to distracts your mind from cravings.
You can divide tasks into manageable goals that you can work with.
Achieving each goal gives you the feeling that you are in control of your life, positive feedback that motivates you to stay on a path to recovery.
As an addict, the only nutritious thing that may have slipped by your lips are the lettuce they put on your All American Burger. You probably don’t even remember the last home-cooked meal you ate.
And since self-care is a big part of your recovery, you will have to learn how to cook (the basics at least).
If you are among the 78% of Americans who don’t know how to cook, you can turn it into a hobby and learn from enrolling in a class at your local community center or even watching YouTube tutorials.
Ever wondered why we invented the term ‘comfort food’? Few things can compare to the comfort food provides.
Discover all the pleasure of healthy food and provide your body and soul with the much-needed nourishment after years of mistreatment.
Drama and Acting
Typically, addictions start as a way of escaping reality. Instead of trying to find the solutions to your problems at the bottom of Jack Daniel, you can try escaping into a character.
Newly sober addicts often feel uncomfortable in their new lifestyle, acting allows one to be somebody else for a change. If acting isn’t your style, there’s always standup comedy.
Some of the greatest comedians of our time are not people who have lived normal lives, but those who have been taken to the gutters wrestled in pig mud, and come out swinging. They have learned to view traumatic experiences with humor and wit.
Taking to the stage and sharing your experiences as a recovering addict will allow you to unburden and provide the audience with an insight into your world.
Arts and Crafts
Participating in arts and crafts may seem like something only meant for children but trust me it’s definitely worth giving it a shot.
Once again, YouTube will come to your rescue. Every day, thousands of arts and craft videos are uploaded. Check them out and try out any activity that holds your fancy.
Addicts, in their first year of recovery, are generally anxious and may find their hands to be very fidgety.
You need to find something to do that keeps your hands busy and engages your mind. Keep an open mind to the variety of activities at your disposal and don’t count anything out till you’ve tried it. You can also seek out inspiration by visiting your local museum. Admiring the fruits of others creative labor has a surprisingly calming effect.
Remember that you are an addict; any of your interests or passions can quickly accelerate to an addiction.
In particular, beware of activities that offer an adrenaline rush.
You may merely be substituting the high you got from drugs to the thrill you experience when performing a specific activity.
Such hobbies will be detrimental to your recovery process. They are hindering you from achieving the balance necessary for a rich and full life. The biggest thing to remember is that we are all different people, and what works for you won’t automatically work for the other guy.
Try out different activities until you find one you like.
Keep in mind that boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing; use that time to find your footing in your chosen new lifestyle. Be active and stay clean.
The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with all of your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment. Call anytime at 435-654-1082
10 Most Popular Hobbies in the World
Downtime is important. We all need it, and many of us are on a mission to find more of it and figure out just how to spend it. Whether you’re looking for a new hobby, or you want to see if your favorite pastime made our top 10 list, we’re sharing the ten most popular hobbies enjoyed around the world.