The world is a beautiful place, and being addicted to drugs or alcohol can make it hard to see how incredible it is. After entering recovery from an addiction, it can be difficult to feel satisfied or feel good throughout daily life. That’s because substance abuse often fills a social void. We know that filling your time, energy, and interests while sober can sometimes be an entirely different challenge. That’s why it’s important to find new hobbies after addiction.
Addiction rehab and addiction treatment are not sufficient for maintaining mental health over the long term. People in recovery need hobbies.
Many drugs overload your brain with dopamine and serotonin, the two “feel-good” chemicals. That’s why drugs and alcohol often make people feel high. The drugs make the pleasure center of your brain go wild! However, without drugs or alcohol, many people in recovery don’t have anything that’s nearly as pleasurable as the drugs. That’s why it’s so hard to stay sober for many.
That’s why it’s crucial to find a hobby. Hobbies, especially social hobbies, provide a healthy amount of dopamine and serotonin. They not only help you feel included in society but also chemically substitute as a healthier alternative to drugs or alcohol.
How to Find New Hobbies or Activities
Ultimately, a useful hobby is one that provides you with joy and satisfaction. Sometimes finding the perfect hobby is as simple as trying new activities. Other times it takes a more structured approach.
But here’s what to look for in an excellent hobby after addiction:
- Makes you happy
- Let’s you have fun while sober
- Boosts your self-esteem
- Increases your motivation
- Lessens feelings of isolation
- Improves social skills
- Alleviates your stress
So let’s create a plan to find the best hobbies for you.
1. Create a List of Activities You Like
Perhaps you already have a hobby or some activities you like. Jot them down. Think about activities that inspire you, make you smile, or make you feel good about yourself. These don’t have to be life-altering ideas, either. You’re just brainstorming. You don’t have to think of all possible ideas right now, either. Just think of activities that make you happy.
This would also be an excellent time to think of things you liked to do before you started using drugs. What did you love to do as a child? Which activities would you do with your friends? Where did you go? What food did you eat? What did your friends like to do?
This process can take a lot of time, and that’s okay. Just try to jog your memory first.
2. Create a List of Activities You Liked Growing Up
Another great addition is to think of what you liked to do when growing up. Oftentimes, you may not have been addicted to drugs or alcohol in your childhood. That means your childhood is a good reference for what you enjoy when you’re sober. Often, your first idea here will help you find the type of hobby you should pursue now.
3. Create a List of Skills You Have
Many people have skills and talents. Even if you’re recovering from a serious addiction, you likely have some skills that you are not using or recognizing. If you can think of one, perhaps it would be worthwhile to find a hobby to cultivate the skill.
4. Rate Your List
Once you have several items on your list, it’s time to rate them. Using a scale from 1-5 is often sufficient. Look for activities you like, find pleasurable, and you could likely stick to for several years. Not every idea you had is a great idea, and that’s ok. Even if you didn’t think of any 5-star ideas, that’s okay too. The more you try, the more you’ll find what you like and what you don’t like.
5. Try Activities Until You Find One You Like
After you’ve created your list and rated it, try some of your highest-rated activities. You may even really enjoy them!
It can take a while to really settle into a new hobby, so make sure to not dismiss the ones you try right away. Forming meaningful friendships takes time, so it’s not going to happen after the first attempt. And contrary to what many people think, often enjoyment comes from spending time on something, not the other way around. Often, people don’t spend time because they enjoy the activity; they enjoy the activity because they spent time doing it and grow to realize its value.
So if the activity you choose doesn’t make you happy at first, that’s okay. Stick with it. If it doesn’t work out, now you have a list of ideas for new activities.
Examples of Good Hobbies and Activities
Of course, if you don’t have any ideas, here’s a fantastic list of hobbies and activities you should definitely try. Many of these activities aren’t just good for your mind. They are good for your body as well.
Getting into shape develops confidence, self-discipline, and boosts your endorphins. It can also dramatically help with personal development and social skills. The body is meant to remain active and strong. When your body is in good shape, your mind can rest at ease.
Consider joining a local soccer or basketball team. Not only will it help you get exercise, but team sports also help you meet new people and improve your social skills.
Learning an instrument is a fantastic skill. Not only will it allow you to express your creativity, but it will also help you improve at a specific skill. Plus, you can practice when you’re alone and play in front of your friends. It’s amazing for both introverts and extroverts.
Many cities will have groups dedicated to game nights. Game nights are a fantastic way to meet new people while having fun playing games. Alternatively, you can start playing games with some of your friends whenever you get together.
Everyone needs to eat. But cooking your food as well is also a great activity because it helps teach you self-care. Also, you can take cooking classes to help you craft even tastier food.
Long-distance running has worked really well for recovering addicts for ages because it improves your physical health and it requires a lot of stamina which makes you feel good about yourself.
Here’s a list of many other worthwhile activities to help you find new hobbies after addiction.
- Nature Walks
- Adopt an Animal
- Frequent, Small Day-Trips
- Train for a Marathon
- Fixing Cars
- Rock Climbing
- Meditation or Spirituality
- Live Music Shows
- Volunteer Work
- Take Online Courses
- Taking College Classes
- Read Books
- Movie Nights
- Extreme Sports
- Become a Connoisseur
- Start a Blog
- Learn New Languages
Though whichever activity you choose, just know that you’re doing wonders for staying sober by finding a new hobby. Reach out for help if you can’t think of anything or you need a boost of motivation.