As adults, we often forget how to play. This is never truer than it is for the substance abuser in recovery. We need new sober hobbies.
When you come out of rehab, and into your new, sober world, you have lots of time to fill. That time that you used to fill with the activities of getting and using your drug of choice is now empty. Boredom is one of the greatest enemies to sobriety. It is now time to find some new things to do, and some new friends to hang with. Life after drugs and alcohol doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, if you let it be boring, you are risking a relapse.
Replacing the Drugs and Alcohol in Your Life
One of the best things you can do to help your recovery is to find new things to do. Things that never included drugs and alcohol so that the risk of triggers are low. You will have your 12 step meetings, your counseling, and maybe a job, but you need to find things to do for fun. Something that you find enjoyable and relaxing so that you don’t fall back into the old habit of using.
After Addiction: Joining a Club
Yes, there are clubs for adults. It isn’t just something for school age people. Don’t be afraid of trying something that you have never done before. You are experimenting, so there are no wrong turns. If you don’t like something, move on. As long as you are out there trying, you will find something that fits for you.
- Meet Up – This is an online site that allows people with similar interest to get together. It’s pretty amazing the amount of groups that are out there. Explore some new hobbies and meet new friends. Some examples of what you can find: board game clubs, philosophy clubs, outdoor clubs, social clubs, networking clubs. If you have an interest, and you can not find a group for it, start your own Meet Up! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in a safe way.
- The Local Library – Your library can give you information on many local activities. Book clubs many flavors of course, but more than that. Libraries have turned into community hubs, and they offer a lot if you take a look. Some hold computer classes, seminars of all types, and of course, they are excellent sources of information. Did you know that Librarians will look up just about anything you want for free? My local library even has an adult coloring club. Coloring is a very relaxing activity that has recently taken off with adults.
- Spirituality – Mabe you are interested in a spiritual organization. They are usually all kinds of different groups and clubs within a church. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a traditional church. It could be a Buddhist Temple, a Unitarian Universalism organization, or a traditional Christian church. Spiritual organizations is an excellent way to meet new people and start new, healthy activities.
- Social Media – When I got sober, I had to leave regular social media for awhile. There was just too many triggers that made me want to use. I found some social media sites just for people in recovery. It was super easy to find “friends” on them. I had people who knew what I was dealing with. People I could really talk to.
Post-Rehab: Exercising Mind and Body
Exercising is a great, healthy hobby to have. Whether you are already pretty fit, or you are just a beginner, there is something for everyone. Exercising has benefits for the mind and body. You can also set personal goals that work to keep you focused every day. You don’t have to join a gym to exercise. This is something you can do every day to have a healthy way of filling your time.
- Running and Walking– My husband is a runner. He talks about the “runner’s high” that comes after a long run. When the body releases feel-good hormones, and you have the satisfaction of completing your goal. Start off small and slowly increase your distance. If you love it, you can start entering in marathons, fun runs, and charity events. If you can’t run, don’t worry, you can always walk. There are even events for walkers.
- Martial Arts – I know several people in recovery that took up martial arts. It teaches discipline, patience, and physical fitness. Some people stay in the casual classes, while some go on to compete in different areas. Your local gym might have information on classes, or do a local Google search for martial arts schools. A martial arts practice is an excellent way to get in shape and let off some steam.
- Yoga – Yoga is a practice that has many benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. In my town, we have a yoga studio, but our community gym also has yoga classes. You can also find classes that may be taught in a church, at a park, or anywhere. Check Google and your local paper. There are also thousands of great yoga videos on YouTube. Yoga is very meditative and is good to still the mind and the body. Yoga helps you learn to accept things as they are while working toward something more.
- Intermural Sports – Many communities offer free sports to all ages. My city-owned rec center offers volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, football, tennis, and swim to people of all ages and abilities. They have training, coaching, and competitions. Check with your local city or county owned rec centers or with your city hall for information on sports activities in your area.
After Recovery: Taking Classes
Most of the time we simply don’t know what we want to do. Let yourself feel like a teenager again and experiment. There are a variety of adult classes available. Your local library or your local college will usually have leisure learning classes. Here is a large leisure learning center in Houston that offers some online courses. If you have ever thought you might like to learn something, now is the time to do it.
- Budgeting – If you are like me, you were horrible with money when using drugs and alcohol. You may need to retrain yourself on how to spend and save money safely. You can take a class on personal finance and budgeting to help you get things back to normal. If you take some of the financial stress off, that will lower your chances of a relapse. You may also find money for some fun things you want to do without breaking the bank.
- Civics – Rejoin the world by taking a class on government and citizenship. Learn how your country works so you can make informed decisions when voting. Find out how you can appeal to your leaders to contribute to making changes to things that you find important. You no longer have to be a bar-stool politician, talking for hours in circles and never getting anything done.
- Hobbies – There are so many hobbies to choose! You can take guitar lessons, singing lessons, painting classes, writing workshops, and more. Your local music stores can usually point you in the right direction. You can also visit the Fine Arts department of your local college. They usually have students and teachers who give lessons on a variety of things. Your local library can also help. They may have information on groups that use their meeting rooms. Some libraries also offer free classes on a variety of how-to subjects.
- Community Theaters – I don’t live in a big city, but we have three community theater organizations here. Two of them offer acting classes for a fee. They all hold try-outs that are open to the public. They also use volunteers for set building, ticket taking, costume designing, and anything else needed to run a theater. It is a fun way to meet new people and develop skills.
Here are a few common and not-so-common sober hobby ideas:
|Camping||Learn a Language||Play Cards||Volunteering|
* Be careful about post-activity parties.
It may be a challenge to find something for you, but having healthy activities is incredibly important. While you might be busy with family or kids, you still need to take your time to develop yourself. The more time you spend developing yourself, the better friend, spouse, and parent you can be. You need to shape who you are without drugs and alcohol. Letting loose and exploring your happiness is the only way to keep moving forward in your journey. It is worth every second.
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