Have you ever considered how much time it takes to maintain an active substance dependence? Between getting the money for, picking up, using and being sick from substances, drug dependence often takes up a majority of someone’s time. Even if they aren’t actively involved in any of those activities, they might be thinking about one of them. If you’re as dependent on a substance as I was, the cycle of buying to using to buying is most likely your reality. It’s an exhausting way to live and leaves little time for the important responsibilities in your life. Hobbies, fun activities with friends, etc. are more often than not cast aside.
When I got sober last year, I realized how much free time there was when it wasn’t occupied with thoughts of substances, but to stay sane and sober, I needed something else to fill that time. My counselor suggested I take time to rediscover old hobbies and find new ones. It took trial and error before I found activities I truly enjoyed. The following are the hobbies that have followed me since getting sober a year and a half ago:
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1. Healthy Eating
While I was still actively using, I paid little attention to the way I fueled my body. As long as I had the drugs and alcohol I needed, the food I ate was nothing more than a fleeting thought. Since getting sober, I’ve incorporated conscious nutrition into my life. I realized how mindlessly most people consume food, my past self included. I didn’t think about what I was eating; I just ate it. As I played around with different recipes in my kitchen, I started to learn what was and wasn’t good for me. I learned I prefer a vegetarian diet to a traditional, “anything goes” approach to eating.
Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer, but drugs and alcohol took that away from me. Once I got sober, I started to write again and realized there is a large recovery blogging community online. We share our experiences so others may find a solution as well. Blogging brought writing back into my life. I don’t have a large following, but that’s not why I write. Writing provides an outlet for me to process past and present experiences. Plus, I’ve met dozens of people online through blogging about my recovery journey. There are immense opportunities available through keeping a blog!
3. Rock Climbing
As everyone knows, exercise is necessary to keep your body healthy and strong. However, it also helps me manage the frustration and other emotional outbursts I’m still learning to deal with. My counselor insisted that exercise is a great outlet for those in recovery. She encouraged me to find a form of exercise I enjoy. An old friend from high school introduced me to rock climbing, and it changed the way I view exercise. I never found a groove with running or weight lifting, but the moment I started climbing, I felt like I was home. Focusing on the problem I’m working on helps quiet my brain and teaches me to focus on what’s in front of me.
4. Attending Concerts
Before getting sober, concerts were events that called for excessive partying. I thought getting sober meant the end of seeing any of my favorite bands live again. Separating concerts from drugs and alcohol seemed completely impossible. However, during my time in recovery, I found a community of other sober friends who also love attending shows. It’s impossible to go to a concert and escape the presence of alcohol and drugs. But when I go with my friends, we hold each other accountable and provide support for one another.
Finding Your Own Hobbies
Sobriety doesn’t mean the fun has to end. Although I programmed my brain to see alcohol and drugs as the only source of pleasure, I retrained it to enjoy new experiences. I didn’t get sober to be miserable; I got sober to have a new chance at life. So try out some new things, and discover new hobbies. Sobriety doesn’t have to be boring; there is an entire world in front of you to explore.