For some who are engaged in recovery from any kind of addiction, including substance abuse and other types, a common issue is a lack of things to do with your time. Many in this position used most of their spare time in the past on the precise addiction they’re looking to recover from, and filling that time with productive, healthy pursuits can be challenging — but is also important to avoid relapse and related risks.
At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re proud to offer the very best addiction recovery programs in Idaho, including both inpatient and outpatient services. One area that we often recommend to patients or even assist them with during their initial recovery period: Taking on new, sober hobbies that not only fill your time, but also help enrich your life in ways that can eventually replace the void left by addiction. Why are sober hobbies often so beneficial for those taking part in addiction recovery, and what are some examples of good hobbies we often recommend? Here’s a general primer.
Strengthening Sober Relationships
A major goal of many people who are recovering from addiction is learning how to build and maintain healthy relationships. When you look at why substance abuse exists for many of those struggling with addiction, one reason is often a lack of good relationships in their life — sometimes because the substance abuse itself interfered with such relationships (for example, by causing relationship problems).
One of the best ways to address this concern, which also is often difficult for those struggling with addiction, is to build relationships that will help you replace the void now left by your old addiction. This can be as simple as maintaining friendships and relationships with family members like parents and siblings (assuming one had such positive relationships in the past), and it can also include pursuing new friendships or building deeper bonds with those already close to you.
In many cases, taking part in various hobbies or activities alongside good friends or family members is the absolute best way to make new relationships with people, and it can also strengthen existing ones. Popular hobbies that often include other people in the mix include things like sports (especially team sports), community events (parades, fairs), attending concerts together, visiting new places or historical sites, etc. It’s all about finding things where you and your good friends or family members can enjoy yourselves together — and nothing is better for strengthening sober relationships than having fun in this way.
Improving Health — Both Physically and Mentally
In addition, taking on hobbies and interests during addiction recovery helps improve your physical and mental health as well. For example, you might take up something like hiking or biking — not only is this a hobby that can be done alone (which is good for those times when there’s no one else available), but it also gets you moving and exercising in ways that will help improve your general fitness and health.
Perhaps even more importantly, this is also a hobby that can be done together with others in your life — for example, healthy couples might enjoy taking on hiking. And for those who are frequently struggling with depression or anxiety as part of their addiction recovery process, getting outside and enjoying nature can be an effective way to improve mental health as well.
Re-Engaging With Old Hobbies
In other cases, addiction recovery offers an opportunity to rediscover things you once enjoyed and might have abandoned as a result of your struggle with addiction. For example, if you once played a musical instrument or took part in dance lessons as a child but had to stop due to time constraints or other concerns, taking it back up during your recovery process can be an excellent way to re-engage with the past and make new memories at the same time.
As another example, if you used to be a big sports fan but spent most of your time watching games rather than playing them (and hence never took part in any athletic activities), it might be an excellent idea to get involved with local teams or leagues during addiction recovery — not only can this potentially help you connect with people who share your passion for sports, but it can improve your physical health while also providing a sense of meaning and purpose outside of addiction recovery itself.
Examples of Hobbies to Consider
While we’ve gone over a number of simple hobby examples to this point, here are a few others that some consider taking on during addiction recovery:
- Writing, journaling or blogging: If you like to write, consider starting a blog or perhaps simply writing about your life and current thoughts as part of journaling. Not only can this help you engage with the past (which is often helpful in addiction recovery) but it also allows you to share your story and connect with others who might be hearing their story for the first time.
- Sporting events: Most cities have local sports teams that are always looking for fans to attend games, whether you’re into football or baseball or some other sport. You might also enjoy joining a recreational league of sorts that includes both friends and family members.
- Music: While not everyone is musically inclined, playing an instrument can be an excellent way to connect with your past and make new memories as well. You might also consider listening to different types of music with others in your life, whether it’s something you used to enjoy together or something that simply helps round out the day.
- Yoga or other physical pursuits: Yoga can be an effective way to both relax and engage your body at the same time, while also helping you connect with others who share your interest in this type of activity. And if you like something a little more active (or outdoorsy), kayaking or other pursuits might be a good option as well.
- Volunteering: Many people find volunteering their time for others to be incredibly rewarding and helpful in their addiction recovery — not only does this give you something to do with your time, but it can also help connect you with others who are struggling in any walk of life.
For more on how taking on hobbies often benefits those taking part in addiction recovery, or to learn about any of our detox, rehab and other addiction recovery programs, speak to the caring staff at Moonlight Mountain Recovery today.