A Guide to Finding New Hobbies During Recovery

A Guide to Finding New Hobbies During Recovery
Recovery November 12, 2019
Author: Ilana Jael

A successful addiction treatment program encompasses more than helping individuals stay sober. Drugs and alcohol can consume all of the time and energy of those who battle with addiction, and removing these substances by residing in sober living homes or facilities can leave an empty place in the lives of the newly sober.

Achieving a full recovery and avoiding relapse for the long term often require other enjoyable, purposeful, and fulfilling activities to take the place of addictive substances. This guide will help you understand the purpose of hobbies during recovery, provide some popular and engaging activities many people find helpful, and cover a few common things to watch out for during this transition.

Why Are Hobbies Important During Recovery?

Comprehensive treatment programs offer a full spectrum approach to wellness. With group therapy for friends and family and safe, clean, and sober housing available, a unique opportunity to change lives for the better becomes reality. A recovery community provides endless opportunities for events, classes, and exploring new activities in order to foster a healthy lifestyle.

How Do Hobbies Help with Addiction Treatment?

Offering healthy alternatives to drug and alcohol addiction is a fundamental part of sober living programs. Experience has shown that focusing on new hobbies offers these benefits to those in recovery:

Making New Brain Connections

When alcohol or drug use becomes connected by the brain with feeling good, anything that brings that connection to mind can become a “trigger.” By engaging in hobbies that stimulate the brain and enhance natural positive feelings and feel-good chemicals, hobbies can build new connections to replace those of addiction. A new hobby or activity which has no association with past substance use can re-train the brain to find pleasure from another source.

Building New Healthy Friendships

Participating with a group or finding a new social circle that is not centered on substances opens the door to new relationships and a chance to interact with friends and practice social skills without the clouding effects of drugs. Working on a project or being creative in the company of others encourages teamwork, trust, and mutual enjoyment. Finding new hobbies is often key to building new sober relationships.

Preventing Loneliness and Depression

Sometimes, in an effort to avoid situations and people who might trigger cravings, those in early recovery have a tendency to isolate themselves. So many activities are associated with their addiction that these individuals become more and more focused on what they cannot do, rather than what they can accomplish without the burden of addiction. This is sometimes called “Dry Drunk Syndrome.”

Being alone too much can increase the likelihood of developing depression, which is a risk factor for relapse. By enjoying new hobbies and new environments, social interaction can begin slowly, and the house-bound person can emerge into a new world of possibilities.

Combating Addictive Thinking Patterns

Hobbies help your brain escape from circular, addictive patterns of thought. Cravings and daydreams about drug or alcohol use can happen whenever the mind is left unoccupied. Breaking through these thoughts is easier when you can turn to your new hobbies and find motivation, reward, and stress relief in a way that supports your recovering mental health.

Restoring Self-Esteem and Confidence

Low self-esteem, guilt, regret, and feelings of low self-worth are common for recovering individuals. Addiction is a disease that damages not only the physical body, but the mind, spirit, and support systems of the addict. By finding ways to express creativity, regain physical strength, and reach goals and milestones, those in recovery can see the tangible, visible signs of their full potential.

Developing Hobbies into Rewarding Jobs

Mechanic polishning car in restoration workshop

Learning how to do things that motivate and inspire you can also provide an opportunity to turn your natural abilities and interests into a new way to make a living. You can create art or useful items for sale, repair or restore used vehicles and furniture, or teach classes in your favorite sport or activity as your skills grow. Exploring new hobbies might open the door to a life full of satisfying purpose and self-sufficiency.

Hundreds of Hobbies to Choose From

Recovery can be a journey of self-discovery and new awareness. There may be things you have always thought were interesting but out of reach, either physically or financially or because your addiction was taking your health and your pocketbook down to rock bottom.

From the security of sober living homes and focused treatment centers, you can embark on a new adventure that is now within your reach. Consider some of these healthy hobbies and affordable adventures:

Hobbies and Habits to Avoid During Recovery

Group of adults attending a yoga class outside in yard

There are some factors which you should be aware of as you seek out new hobbies and activities after leaving a sober living facility or program. Making time to keep your commitments to treatment, including attending support groups and 12-step meetings, should remain a priority.

Assuming you are keeping your outpatient appointments and attending meetings, you will remain well connected with your recovery community. Some common problems to avoid include:

Building a New Future with Healthy Hobbies and Activities

Starting your journey into recovery at RECO Institute’s sober living homes will prepare you to launch into the future you want and deserve. Our programs and residences offer a total healing approach that repairs not only the physical effects of addiction but the toll substance abuse takes on the mind and spirit as well.

Every individual who chooses one of our luxurious residences in Delray Beach, Florida has a wealth of opportunities to join in organized activities or to connect with resources and opportunities that will help them take their lives to the next level. Breaking free of addiction will allow your true self to emerge and accomplish more than you ever thought possible. Contact us today to start your personal transformation.

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