A significant amount of time in addiction treatment is spent on helping a person achieve and maintain sobriety, but recovery is more than just abstaining from substance abuse. In order to successfully manage sobriety moving forward, clients must learn how to cope with their emotions and difficult situations in healthy ways. They must also discover happiness and fulfillment through other activities. For many, drugs and alcohol are all of those things: they are an escape from pain, a method of coping, and a way to feel good. Although recovery is ultimately what is best for a person’s overall health, taking away what provided all of those experiences can leave a person feeling empty and unsure of how to move forward.
While a person’s mind and body adjusts to its new normal, lifestyle changes must be made simultaneously to support sobriety. Addiction damages a person’s mental and physical health and creates a strain on a person’s relationships, employment or academic performance, and general responsibilities. Removing drugs and alcohol from the equation can be a stressful experience for those in recovery, but it opens the door to opportunity and exploration.
Developing Hobbies to Support Sobriety
Recovery from addiction is more than just achieving sobriety. It is an opportunity to self-reflect and consider who you want to be moving forward. Many in recovery find that they may not know themselves or their interests very well. Without substances taking up most of their time and being the centerpiece to many relationships, those in recovery are often left trying to figure out who they are without it.
To make treatment successful, ample time must be dedicated to developing new methods of coping with feelings and stress. Drugs and alcohol are used as outlets for anything: anger, sadness, happiness, anxiety, or boredom. Instead, a person must find new outlets to support their sobriety. Not only does this keep a person’s mind occupied, but it can also be an empowering, freeing experience.
There are countless activities a person can explore that are beneficial to both physical and mental health. Some of these options include:
- Physical fitness: A person’s physical health is typically poor upon entering treatment. Substance abuse can cause significant damage on its own and many people do not regularly exercise, favoring using substances when free time is available. Not only is exercise a great way of boosting mood through the releasing of endorphins, it also provides an excellent outlet for stress and difficult emotions.
Exercise can take many forms and may be done alone or in groups. Whether a person is interested in joining a sports team or just enjoys going to the gym, exercise is vital to recovery. Many reap the additional benefits of exercising regularly including improvement to self-esteem and self-image and changes in physical appearance. Yoga, Pilates, hiking, surfing, and swimming are just some of the countless options a person can explore. In addition to improvements to physical health, it can help a person develop relationships with others through shared common interests. Rather than basing relationships on shared interest in substance abuse, these connections have a healthy foundation that contributes positively to recovery.
- Outdoor exploration: Studies show that being in nature can have a profoundly positive impact on a person’s overall wellbeing. Going outdoors can boost mood, reduce stress, and has a positive impact on a person’s physical health as well. Moreover, getting outside allows a person to explore their surroundings and take in the beauty of the world. Hiking, fishing, camping, and exploring trails can let a person connect with themselves in a new way.
Being free of the distractions of everyday life allows a person to self-reflect and increase their self-awareness. Taking a break from technology and connecting with nature can have a profound impact on mental health. It is an experience that can be explored alone or shared with loved ones.
- Creative expression: Finding a healthy way to cope with difficult emotions or experiences is vital to success in recovery. One of the most popular methods of expression is through creative outlets. It creates a safe place to express oneself where words may not be necessary. Writing, painting, dancing, singing, and playing music are just some of the many outlets a person can explore.
Creative expression can be cathartic and vital to the healing process. Similarly to the other activities listed, it is something that can be done alone or shared with others. Creative expression can create connections between people and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
There are countless activities a person can explore that benefit recovery. Recovering from addiction provides a person with more time to explore new interests and develop new hobbies. It can be a motivating influence in maintaining sobriety long-term, help mend relationships damaged by substance abuse, and help many develop a sense of purpose or identity.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.