One of the most critical, but often ignored, benefits of getting sober is a renewed interest in activities and hobbies. After years of active addiction, many people find their lives narrowing, leaving only enough space to allow for one all-abiding passion: substance abuse. After getting sober, not only will you have more time, but you will find yourself discovering the joys of living once again. At first, you may be unsure what to do with your time to relax and have fun. It can be confusing especially if you have relied on drugs and alcohol to have fun and relieve boredom for many years. With the support of a sober living house, however, you will find it easy to pick up new hobbies and interests.
Developing a hobby in a sober living is a great idea. Keeping engaged in fun activities helps keep the body and mind busy. Moreover, it is a great way to replace dangerous drug-related habits with positive healthy habits. Keep in mind, however, that it often takes a bit of time and determination to fully form a habit. The common advice is that it generally takes about 30 days before the habit becomes automatic, but this number can vary from person to person, and it also depends on the specific activity.
Ultimately, how you choose to spend your time is up to you. However, keep in mind that your new hobby should be totally unrelated to your history of substance abuse. For example, you might really have a strong interest in playing darts or getting involved in trivia matches. Darts games and trivia matches are often held in bars — so these may be hobbies to avoid for now, unless you can find a way of organizing or joining games that are held elsewhere. In the end, the main purpose of developing a hobby in sober living is to find alternative activities. By finding fun alternatives to drinking or using drugs, you will quickly discover that life in sobriety has plenty to offer.
Keep in mind that it sometimes takes a bit of time to get to know yourself after you get sober. After years of active addiction, your attitude, values, interests, and mentality may all be different. A hobby or activity that you used to adore may leave you cold now. Don’t expect all your interests to be the same. Now is a great time to branch out and try new things. As you consider new ideas for hobbies and passions, keep in mind that you likely have a tendency to turn many things into compulsive activities. If you have a so-called “addictive personality,” make sure you choose something you genuinely enjoy — not something that will simply replace your addiction.
Below are 5 ideas for hobbies that can complement your sobriety.
- Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation are highly recommended for sober living home residents. In fact, many sober living homes already encourage residents to engage in yoga, meditation, and other relaxing practices. While yoga and meditation are sometimes considered to be purely spiritual practices — and it is true that they are based on millennia-old spiritual traditions — they are actually backed up by a wide body of research. Yoga and meditation not only help with mental health conditions and chronic pain from physical health conditions, but these practices can also help prevent relapse by increasing the size of the brain’s “gray matter,” which is responsible for executive function. Perhaps more relatably, however, yoga and meditation are both great ways to relax, de-stress, and even meet other people! Try doing a few yoga poses with some friends in your sober living, or try out a few different yoga studios. Be sure to test out different meditation and yoga styles to see which one suits you!
- Outdoor Exercise
If you are lucky enough to live in a Los Angeles sober living home, then you have plenty of opportunities for outdoor exercise. Raising your heart rate during cardiovascular exercise can help protect you from the symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. In fact, some evidence points to the possibility that cardiovascular exercise may be just as effective as SSRI antidepressants for individuals with moderate depression. Beyond the benefits of cardiovascular exercise, however, being outdoors has its own benefits. The bright and cheery sunshine, the fresh air, and the sounds of nature all accumulate to make you feel more grounded, more part of the world, and more connected to yourself.
Plus it can’t be denied that engaging in outdoor exercise is simply more fun than sitting around at home! There are countless options for those who want to head outside… Whether you’re a runner, an avid cyclist, and simply enjoy hiking Los Angeles’ plentiful mountain trails, there’s always a way to get moving. Some people prefer surfing the waves or skateboarding in the city! Many sober livings also regularly take trips to the park, where housemates can play friendly games of basketball, frisbee, tennis, and even pickleball.
For more introverted types, reading can be one of the best ways of relaxing. Staying indoors or in bed doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, you may find yourself having experiences beyond what you ever could have imagined for yourself. There are countless books to choose from, including entertaining novels, from the classics to hard-boiled mysteries. Some people prefer non-fiction because they can continue to educate themselves, expand their minds, and become more gifted conversationalists. For individuals working to recover from addiction, it can sometimes be helpful to read books by other people who have successfully recovered from addiction. These books can be very funny and relatable, but they may also offer plenty of actionable advice for individuals who are earlier on in their recovery journeys.
- Take Classes
After getting sober, some sober living house residents choose to begin entirely new careers or return to university to get a new degree. Most of the time, when sober living housemates return to school, they are doing so in order to reach long-term goals. However, taking classes doesn’t have to be so serious. You might consider taking a class just for fun — or to learn a new skill. Classes can be a great way to meet new friends as well.
It might be a good idea to take classes that will help enrich your life in sobriety. One idea is to take a cooking class. As you recover from addiction, learning how to lead a healthy lifestyle becomes increasingly important. By learning how to cook, you will not only be able to eat healthier meals, but you will also save money. Best of all, you’ll eat healthy meals that taste good. You won’t be the only person who benefits from your improved cooking skills, either! Chances are your sober living housemates will be grateful as well, as well as family members, friends, and future dating prospects!
Volunteering can be fun, and it is also a great way to give back. Sometimes, the best way to heal yourself during addiction recovery is to help other people. In fact, studies show that engaging in “helping behaviors” can reduce the likelihood of relapse even more effectively than receiving help from others! Moreover, there is a high likelihood that you inflicted many harms on others during your active addiction. By volunteering your time to help others, you may feel somewhat redeemed.
There are many ways to volunteer. You can volunteer for programs that help other people with substance use disorders if you want. You might also want to volunteer at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or even animal shelters. Joining a non-profit or simply agreeing to work a few hours a week somewhere can help you feel more connected to your community, help you meet others, and even might keep you sober. After all, who wants to return to drugs and alcohol when there are vulnerable people (or animals) who are counting on you!
Recover From Addiction at Design for Recovery
Design for Recovery is a structured sober living house for young men. Our sober facility is centrally located in West Los Angeles. Design for Recovery is well-regarded as the city’s foremost recovery home. Our recovery house is designed to help young men develop the values, behaviors, skills, and relationships that they need to develop long-term sobriety. Our highly structured recovery program assists residents in addressing underlying issues and taking the steps necessary to build a quality life.
At Design for Recovery, our conviction is that recovery is a multi-faceted process that involves much more than just putting down drugs and alcohol. We work closely with our clients to help them make long-term plans for their futures, build new relationships, and rediscover the simple pleasures of everyday life. Our “design for living” is a blueprint that is built on a solid foundation of principles and values, among them honesty, accountability, and integrity, and responsibility. By applying these values to every component of life, residents can build a sober life for themselves that is fulfilling, joyful, and free.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, it is never too late to ask for help. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation. Design for Recovery can help you make the changes you need.