Everyone needs support in recovery, and one of these supports can be hobbies that you enjoy and leisure activities.
A Key Part of an Aftercare Program
During the process of recovering from addiction and substance abuse disorders, a treatment center can become a safe and supportive space for those who are early in the healing process. For some, it can be daunting to imagine what it might look and feel like outside of this sense of safety and dependable environment. On the other hand, others may be ready to move forward with their lives and out of the facility.
In both situations, and no matter where the person is at, it is essential that they have support systems and an aftercare plan following treatment. An aftercare plan usually has layers and structures in place, and enjoyable activities and hobbies can play an important role in this plan.
With the goal of preventing relapse and promoting a healthy quality of life, aftercare programs support the long-term part of the recovery process. Sober hobbies and leisure activities can help a person in recovery have fun, build healthy community relationships, and enjoy life again.
Building a Sober Support System
Day-to-day life in recover can be difficult, especially when a person likely spent their social time trying to obtain and use harmful substances. In a study performed in 2013, over 77% of relapse cases were due to peer pressure. Everything from “before”— familiar parties, people, and places—can be triggering.
To avoid relapse, it is first essential to identify and articulate these triggering activities. Second, a person must seek out new interests and sober activities to engage with. Having a social support system or network can improve confidence and foster connections with likeminded peers who have the same types of goals as the person in recovery.
What Types of Hobbies?
Fundamentally, hobbies are ways to your spend time. They are usually fun and sometimes creative, and for those in recovery, should never challenge or compromise your sobriety or recovery process.
By using your time wisely, you can address two of the main causes of relapse: lack of structure and boredom. Hobbies can keep you focused and in a positive state of mind, and eliminate many of the opportunities for idleness. Although what someone finds enjoyable depends on the individual, some of the most common hobbies may include:
- Physical activities such as aerobics, Pilates, or jogging
- Art, whether fine art or digital art
- Crafting and scrapbooking
- Community theatre
- Building survival skills
- Rock climbing
- Community frisbee, volleyball, or softball leagues
- Stamp or coin collecting
- Building communication skills, such as debate teams
- Volunteering to help others
- Playing a musical instrument
- Improv or comedy groups
Finding a hobby (or two) that interests you is the key. If the activity encourages positive feelings, sparks laughter, and supports sober hang outs and conversation, you’re on the right track.
It’s also important to remember that the activities you enjoyed before may not have a place in your new lifestyle towards healing. Certain sports, friends, or locations may not feel safe anymore, especially in the early stages of recovery. These decisions, however, should be articulated and written out before you’re in a tough situation—having a plan is one of the best ways to avoid a potentially harmful environment.
Some Helpful Reminders:
- Remember, building sober support network doesn’t happen overnight
- Recovery groups are always a great place to start
- Don’t underestimate the value of emotional support
- Routine is your friend and helps provide stability
- Feeling like you’re a part of a group is normal and important
Whatever group or hobby you end up being a part of, keep an eye out for ways that you can help others. Sometimes only looking at ourselves and our issues can be overwhelming, which is why service and giving back to others can be a helpful change of perspective.
Nurturing, feeling needed, and taking responsible are all factors that can contribute to the recovery process. For those early in the healing process, the best way to start practicing is within these safe and supportive groups where you know you can always reach out for advice and help.
Healthy Hobbies for Your Body and Mind
One of the easiest ways to meet people who may be likeminded are by pursuing hobbies that involve fitness, health, and overall wellness. The concept of wellness is one that permeates most activities geared toward a mind-body-spirit connection and sense of well-being. Finding a community with these same values will likely involve an active and healthy lifestyle—hobbies and all.
During the process of recovery from addiction and substance abuse, a person’s body is learning to adjust to day-to-day life again without the use of harmful substances. This journey does not happen overnight and can take months or sometimes years to feel whole in body and mind. Beyond the initial withdrawal symptoms while in a treatment center, a person may feel anxiety, nausea, and general illness once they return to “normal life” outside the facility. The process of detoxification differs from person to person, making it important to acknowledge each step as progress and not failure.
To rebuild these bodily and mental systems, the tri-blend of proper nutrition, fitness, and healthy hobbies can make a difference in one’s mood, bodily inflammation, and overall perspective. Finding other individuals with these same goals and interests are great to have at the beginning, but they become most important when it comes to accountability and sticking with the daily commitment to health and healing.
Remember, enjoyable and healthy activities can help you stay on the path to healing and recovery—hobbies can be a great way to begin this process and maintain it over a long period of time. Open-mindedness and being willing to try new things is a key part of the equation when building and rebuilding a more whole life.