According to Austin Cooper, hobbies and passions make all the difference in addiction recovery. Here’s why you should find one to pursue during your recovery journey.
When someone is in the middle of a substance use disorder, it can be difficult to see any hope in the future. Austin Cooper, like millions of Americans, was suffering with an alcohol addiction. This affected every part of his life and doors that were once wide open, like possibilities and new experiences, started to shut.
Now, he’s found success as a positivity influencer and business owner, but it wasn’t possible when he was in the spiral of addiction. The only key that could open these doors was addiction recovery.
Austin began the recovery process in 2013 after an intervention at work. He realized that lifelong sobriety would be hard to manage without something to better fill his time, so he threw himself into the world of social media. He documented his recovery and shared it with people across the world, helping others become sober themselves. Through his experience, he found his true passion: helping others live substance-free lives.
Finding a passion or hobby is incredibly beneficial to the recovery process. It can help fill the time that used to be spent using or obtaining substances. It can also give someone in recovery a long-term goal to work toward or simply provide new experiences to enjoy each day.
Hobbies Can Help Beat Substance Cravings
Part of the battle of sobriety is figuring out how to manage cravings during recovery. If someone doesn’t have an activity to take their mind off of or ease the anxiety, relapse can easily occur. This is what makes hobbies so vital for early and lifelong recovery: They keep you occupied.
There are many options to choose from, so finding a hobby shouldn’t be too difficult. Lots of hobbies are completely free or very affordable, and many people find nothing as rewarding as visiting the outdoors and enjoying nature.
Here are just a few hobbies that can help enrich your life and stave off cravings:
- Reading or writing
- Learning or playing an instrument
- Taking free classes locally or online
How to Find Your Passion
Part of the fun of finding a new favorite hobby is trying things you’ve never done before. If it seems too overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, here are some tips to help you in finding your passion:
- List your likes and dislikes: Nobody wants a hobby they don’t enjoy. Try writing down everything you’re interested in as well as what you want to avoid. Summertime may not be a fun time to start jogging, for example, so you may want to avoid it during the warmer months. In recovery, journaling or listing your thoughts and feelings about new experiences can give you additional insight into what your passion is.
- Discover your dreams: What do you want to be? Recovery is an opportunity for a fresh start. From this jumping-off point, you can take steps toward any goal. If you dream of writing a best-selling book someday, now’s the time to get started!
- Try something new: Going out of your comfort zone can lead to lifelong hobbies and new passions. Worst case scenario, you’ll have something to add to your list of dislikes. Life in recovery can be full of new opportunities you never had or considered while you were living with addiction. Try them out — you’ll likely find something that enriches your world.
- Don’t get discouraged: Recovery has its ups and downs, but it’s important to remember that the good times do come back around and the work does pay off. Hobbies are similar. When you’re first starting off with something new, you probably won’t be very good, and that’s perfectly fine! If you stay diligent, you’ll see the benefits of your hard work. It’s also good to remember why you started. If your new hobby is helping you cope with life and prevent a relapse, then you’re already successful!
How Your Passion Helps You Stay Sober
Staying sober is how you remain in recovery and it can be harder to achieve without a slight reworking of your life and outlook. Your hobbies and passions are there to help you on your recovery journey. They’re tools that help you overcome your cravings and allow you to lead a better, more fulfilling life.
Here are just a few ways that hobbies can help you during difficult times:
- You can turn to your passion instead of drugs or alcohol: When cravings or triggers seem to be getting the best of you, it’s the perfect time to dive into something you’re passionate about. It can keep you occupied while these feelings are at their worst and help you to stay focused while they pass. Coping with triggers in recovery is difficult, and turning to hobbies is a great form of relapse prevention.
- Your hobby occupies your time: Coping with boredom in addiction recovery is vital for success. Substances may have filled your time in the past, and life without them can seem incredibly dull — especially in the early stages. Hobbies can remove this boredom and stave off cravings, which are likely to beckon if you aren’t keeping yourself occupied.
- A hobby gives you something to care deeply about: When learning or doing something new, you’re nurturing something. You’re becoming better at something or you’re simply enjoying the feelings that come from what you’re doing. With some hobbies, you can track your progression and see yourself improving. Others let you enjoy each moment in a more fulfilling way. Regardless of your passion, these feelings can give you something to care about.
- You can share your passion with others: If you’ve found a passion, you’re probably incredibly excited about it. Share it with others and tell them how much of an impact it’s had on your life. Gratitude in recovery is important, and you can use your hobby to show it to those you care about. Cook them a meal, play them a song, tell them about what you’ve learned — they’ve supported you throughout the recovery process and now you can demonstrate the impact they truly had.
If you or a loved one is suffering with a substance use disorder, The Recovery Village is here to help. Contact us today to speak with a helpful representative and learn more about treatment plans that can work well for you.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.