Addiction recovery can be like walking a tightrope. You want to avoid temptation and triggers, but need to enjoy yourself once in a while. You want to build a positive new life, but often your friends no longer share similar interests because you’re sober and they are not. The best solution is to find something new that both piques your interest and has positive benefits to occupy your time.
Depending on your area and a number of other things, you might find that some of the go-to options in the traditional lists of hobby options aren’t right for you as a person in recovery. Sports, for example, do provide a great foundation in teamwork and learning new skills, but also traditionally play a key role in the drinking habits of men, so may be best avoided. Today, we’re highlighting a selection of great alternatives to the negative behaviors that landed you in rehab.
Making time to write in a journal daily, whether with pen and paper or electronically, can be extremely helpful for those in recovery. Journaling gives you somewhere to detail your feelings, make a note of that one thing you’re grateful for on the longest day of the week, and retrospectively can give you something to look back on to see just how far you’ve come on your recovery journey.
While we did say that sports can be a “bad” influence for some, the power of exercise is huge when it comes to positive forces for recovering addicts. This is because spending a specific amount of time doing something physically active most days gives your body a chance to produce those same endorphins that made you feel so good when you were abusing drugs or alcohol – but without the nasty imbalances that come along with substance addiction. Exercise offers a host of benefits to us all, including:
- Helps to clear the mind;
- Reduces stress;
- Boosts your overall health:
- Improves sleep; and,
- Can improve your social life.
By engaging in regular exercise, you can not only improve your general wellbeing, but make a positive lifestyle change for years to come.
We’ve separated yoga from general exercise because of the meditative component that yoga provides. In addition to physical perks like improved strength and flexibility, increased mindfulness and awareness are great components to add to your portfolio when building your new future. Like regular exercise, consistent yoga practice can provide a drip feed of natural hormones to the brain, as well as better sleep and decreased stress.
Learning how to better care for yourself is a huge component of successful recovery. For some, the process of detox will reveal changes to your perception of the flavor of food, which can make finding things you like to eat difficult. For others, substance abuse will have taken a toll on your health, leaving you with serious nutritional needs. Instead of becoming discouraged, learning to harness the power of fresh food and truly savor it’s natural flavors. Over time, your taste buds will most likely return to normal. However, learning to cook, whether you focus on a particular style of cooking or just learn to make scratch versions of your favorite things, is a useful skill that can provide social, an even employment opportunities down the road.
Work with Animals
Actually owning a dog, cat, or even a goldfish can be difficult for some immediately following rehab. However, if you’re able to volunteer at a local animal shelter, or be involved with a horse-riding school as a volunteer, or even work as a dog walker, you may find that the rewards are well worth the effort. Animals have a unique ability to help us keep ourselves in check. They have predictable demands, provide unconditional love, and can teach you important qualities like perseverance and resilience that are essential for successful recovery.
There are scores of healthy habits waiting out there for you as you learn about the side effects of addiction and enter the recovery phase of your journey. Talk to your team, think about the different activities you enjoy, and see what gives your fresh start a spark.