Recovery is a lifelong process of sobriety and growth. Having come through treatment is a major milestone in your journey. Accepting your addiction, facing it, and moving forward takes a lot of courage. You’ve accomplished a lot. Once you are out in the world trying to maintain your sobriety, finding activities that are safe and non-triggering can be difficult. You want to enjoy your life and not have it centered on your addiction. You want to find balance and happiness, but how do you develop new hobbies at this point in your life?
After addiction treatment, your lifestyle is in for quite a few changes. You may be able to go back to work, but some aspects of your social life won’t fit in with the goals you’ve set. It is likely that your social life and the activities you enjoyed before getting sober revolved around using drugs or alcohol. Pivoting that type of entertainment into something more productive and healthy promotes the lifestyle you’ve now chosen. It can be daunting to rearrange so much of what your life used to include, but remembering that this is what you’ve worked for is vital. You likely went through detox and rehab so that your life is stable and healthy. Adjusting to that isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Finding sober activities isn’t just about not using substances. You want to find hobbies you enjoy. Taking part in things you’re passionate about improves your outlook in other aspects of your life as well. Experts say that individuals who engaged in more frequent enjoyable leisure activities had better psychological and physical functioning. By engaging in multiple leisure activities, one better handles the negative psychological impact of stress. Individuals who had experienced more stressful life events in the past and regularly engaged in enjoyable activities showed lower levels of negative moods and depression and higher life satisfaction and engagement. Your recovery is impacted by your ability to remain sober and how you manage stress, care for your mental and physical health, and face everyday challenges. Discovering new methods of enjoying life outside of substance use means developing new skills, being open to trying new things, and prioritizing yourself.
For those without prior interest in sober activities, you could be feeling overwhelmed with the options or just lost on where to begin. You might be surprised to learn how many fun things you can do while sober. You need to know where to start.
The stress of jumping into something new and unknown can be a lot for you, especially in the early days of recovery. Before trying too many new things, think back to what you enjoyed before your addiction. Did you use to play music, draw, sing? What did you enjoy before substance abuse got in the way? Try to revisit the things that used to bring you joy. Finding time for hobbies that excite you isn’t just something to do that occupies your time. It keeps your life balanced. It is self-care. It is building your support system. It reminds you how good your life can be if you stick with your recovery.
This isn’t your only option, though. Maybe you’re no longer interested in hobbies from your past. Finding new activities might be a bit more challenging, but consider what you’re passionate about and find things that relate. Examples of fun, healthy activities you can partake in include:
#1. Exercise: Exercise might be the last thing on your mind as someone newly in recovery, but you don’t need to be a bodybuilder. You don’t even need to join a gym. Start by going for walks or hikes. Take a yoga class. Find a way to move your body that you enjoy. Not only do the endorphins released in your body during exercise improve your mood, but the health aspect helps your body perform at its best.
#2. Be creative: Creativity isn’t just for those with a talent for art or music. You can paint, draw, sing, or redecorate. Finding a creative outlet for your emotions is a productive and healthy way to deal with emotions. Something as simple as writing in a journal can offer you that release while giving you something to look back on. When you create something, you can look back on it and see your progress.
#3. Grow a garden: Plant a garden or take care of a few house plants. Building up the responsibility to keep a plant alive and watching it thrive is a physical example of your growth. Even working on a small herb garden for your kitchen provides you with the feeling of accomplishment.
#4. Travel: Whether you want to explore more about your city or get on a flight to Europe, seeing new places, meeting new people, and understanding new cultures are so rewarding. This is a great way to find meaning and purpose in your life. You can learn a lot about yourself when traveling.
#5. Learn something: Take a class or workshop. Maybe you want to learn another language or go back to school to excel in a new career. Taking risks and trying something you’ve always been interested in reminds you of all you’re capable of.
#6. Volunteer: Giving back to your community is rewarding personally, but it also introduces you to others who choose to spend their time this way. You can spend time helping out at an animal shelter or soup kitchen. Maybe you want to organize a local clean-up for parks or the beach. You can accomplish so much when you are dedicated to your recovery.
Addiction recovery isn’t all support groups and rehab centers. Yes, these are essential aspects of your recovery, but recovery isn’t just about your sobriety. To truly feel satisfied with life, you need to develop a balance and find ways to enjoy yourself. Naturally, that might be different for everyone, but discovering activities where drinking or using drugs are not at the center will show you how fulfilling life is when you are sober. You can learn so much about the world around you and yourself when you dive into something new and exciting. Finding new ways to enjoy life also introduces you to new people with different priorities and interests so you can develop healthier relationships and satisfaction with your life and yourself. At California Care Detox & Treatment, we help you discover what you enjoy during your stay so you can adjust to the outside world with more happiness. Call us at (949) 281-0632 now.