Hobbies That Can Help You With Recovery
Hobbies enrich our lives. Most everyone can name at least one thing they like to do in their spare time, or that they are passionate about. Hobbies provide an escape from the stress and expectations of our daily lives, which is especially important in the life of a recovering addict. Unfortunately, when a person develops an addiction, they tend to almost completely lose their sense of self. They also begin losing interest in the things they once loved as their mind becomes consumed with thoughts of their addiction. Not only that, but the majority of addicts spend most of their time chasing after their substance or activity of choice, which leaves them little room for healthy activities in their schedule.
However, once a person enters recovery, they may begin to realize just how much free time and energy they have without their substance or harmful activity of choice in their life. This time should not be wasted idling, as the boredom can be especially dangerous for recovering addicts. Instead, it is a wonderful time for those in recovery to begin regaining their sense of self and what kinds of things they enjoy. Picking up a hobby or two is a great way to stay on track with recovery. You can choose any hobby that brings you joy and interests you as an individual, but here are some ideas to get you started on finding one that suits your lifestyle.
Benefits of Hobbies
Hobbies have plenty of other benefits in addition to offering a source of entertainment, especially for people in addiction recovery. Here are some of the benefits:
- Stress relief. There is strong evidence connecting chronic stress with the motivation to abuse drugs or alcohol. Stressful experiences during childhood such as physical and sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, family dysfunction, etc are strongly associated with an increased risk for addiction. In addition, unhappy marriages, dissatisfaction with employment, harassment, etc are often cited as major catalysts for addiction. Hobbies are a great way to refocus your mind on something pleasant.
- You can make money off of your hobbies! If you enjoy painting, carpentry, jewelry-making, or really anything that provides a good or service, you can use your hobby as a source of income on the side. This is a great way to share your work with other people, learn the responsibilities of a small business, and make a little extra cash to set aside for safekeeping.
- Hobbies can also have a social aspect to them, which can open up a lot of opportunities to make new friends. Connecting with other people in the area who share a common interest can do wonders for building your support system and improving your mental health.
- Trying new hobbies can lead you to discover skills and talents that you didn’t know you had!
- Hobbies can help you acquire valuable skills that can serve you in other areas of life.
- Not many people take the time to explore their creative side. In fact, many people don’t even realize that they actually enjoy exercising their creativity, so trying out a hobby that allows for this can open your mind to new possibilities.
- Most importantly, they’re fun!
Hobbies to Try
If you don’t know where to start, here is a list of hobbies you can try out that are particularly good when incorporated into your addiction recovery plan.
There are various forms of writing and different ways to express yourself through words. For example, journaling is an excellent way to self-reflect and work through your emotions on paper. Plus, it’s fun to read your entries back and see how much you’ve grown and how much progress you’ve made in your recovery journey! Additionally, writing can be a form of creative expression through poetry and creative writing. Poetry is a great way to express yourself in an abstract yet beautiful way. Writing stories with a plot and such is also an excellent means of utilizing your creative mind. Writing can even be a way to connect with the recovery community as well, and many recovering addicts keep blogs or even simply interact with others via forums or social media sharing their stories. Sharing your recovery story is a great way to help inspire others to also seek sobriety.
There are so many different mediums of art to be explored such as painting, sketching, textiles, sculpting, etc. All of these allow you to use your imagination to form works of visual art that can be shared and enjoyed with others. Most art also offers you an opportunity to work with your hands, which is invaluable in a time where so much of our life is online. In addition, sometimes, it can be difficult to express your emotions through words, so art is a great way to do that when verbalizing isn’t an option yet.
If art really isn’t your thing, music can be another great way to express your feelings nonverbally, or simply serve as an activity that allows you to create something non-visual. Playing an instrument is a really neat skill to have, and it can help keep your mind occupied. There are also other things you can do with music, such as mixing and producing using computer software.
Any sort of physical activity will do the trick to keep your mind and body healthy, but martial arts is a great practice that teaches structure, discipline, and keeps you physically fit. Discipline and responsibility, as well as properly redirecting anger in a healthy way, are key components of addiction recovery. Martial arts offers many people who struggle with anger a way to release some of that tension and bottled up emotions in a way that doesn’t harm others or themselves. Unaddressed emotions tend to build up, making us feel like we are a hot kettle ready to boil over. Physical activity is essential for releasing pent up anger and relieving stress.
Volunteering & Community Service
Sometimes, the best way to feel good about ourselves is by helping others. A lot of recovering addicts struggle to feel like a productive member of society after leaving rehab, especially since it can be difficult to find a job in the early stages of sobriety. Volunteering not only provides those in recovery with a sense of purpose and accomplishment but also helps them connect on a deeper level with their community.
Want to move your body and get physically fit, but hate the gym and any form of cardio? Yoga might be for you! Not only does yoga help keep you in shape and strengthen your muscles, but it also helps you work through the discomfort in a healthy way and enable you to learn how to redirect your thoughts to get you out of depression or anxiety spirals. Yoga also helps with flexibility, which can help you stay active and mobile well into your old age, keeping your joints and muscles working properly for longer.
…And so many more!
There are hundreds of thousands of hobbies to choose from, but you’ll never find what you’re passionate about by sitting on the couch. Explore something you like further, or completely break out of your comfort zone and try something totally new — it’s all up to you! But we encourage you, no matter what you do, to practice something that you enjoy during your recovery journey. Hobbies offer us so much more than just a fun way to spend our time, so get out there and find your match!