Many websites articles on the expansive subject of “addiction recovery” will inform you at great lengths exactly what it entails – the challenges you will face, the dangers and avoidance of relapse, and the importance of social support.
Occasionally, they’ll even be well researched and accurate, too – perhaps written by a recovering addict (just like this one).
So let’s do things differently, and talk about what addiction recovery is definitely not.
Addiction recovery is definitely not staying clean and sober, with 100% abstinence from addictive substances, like drugs and alcohol, for a week or two.
Not even a month. Or even a year.
At no point ever in the future will you be able to turn around and proudly declare, “I’m cured! My addiction is now cured!”
The cold, hard fact is you will never be cured. There is no cure for addiction.
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Addiction Recovery & New Free Time
Apart, of course, from the fact you are still alive, you will be far, far healthier, you won’t die prematurely from constant substance abuse, and you now get an excellent second chance at enjoying life, one of the other upshots of this is a simple one to understand.
You now have a potentially huge amount of time – real free time – to live your life.
All while remaining clean and sober. And, obviously, remaining 100% abstinent.
Oh, and – just in case you didn’t realize – remaining firmly entrenched within your continued addiction recovery.
During one of the many hundreds of NA/AA meetings I have attended during my own recovery, a fellow alcoholic and addict once said to me, “Recovery is a lot like the Mafia. If you leave, you don’t live for long.”
Blunt, yes, certainly, but she had a point (she was also my sponsor for a long time, too, after that kind and memorable introduction).
So, let’s get back to the real point of this article: The potentially huge amount of time – real free time – you now have to live your life.
As an alcoholic or drug addict, you spent much of your previous time using and abusing substances, a lot of time coming down from a high or coming out of a drunken stupor, a lot of time spent just thinking about substances and how you can get hold of them, and so on.
Addiction was, in fact, your life.
All of that time now has to be filled. As my Mom used to say (constantly), “The Devil makes work for idle hands.”
That’s certainly true when it comes to people in recovery.
Addiction experts advise, among other things, finding creative hobbies to enjoy during some of this abundance of time, even if you return to your previous work or academic study.
Regardless of whether you are living at home, living somewhere new, or living in a sober living home, the spare time remains the same, and needs to be used productively and, if possibly, creatively. Creative hobbies meet this need perfectly.
If you are using the services of a certified recovery coach, and you are receiving additional professional support during your recovery through them, discuss the function of creative hobbies for recovering addicts, and if they have any good options for these.
Addiction, Creative Hobbies & Recovery
So how do creative hobbies relate specifically to addiction and your recovery? Apart from the obvious point that boredom is a potential relapse trigger, focusing your time and effort on new addiction recovery activities is a core principle in maintaining your abstinence.
Engaging in hobbies (whether creative or exercise-related) rewires the recovering person’s brain for activity and expression. Building self-esteem and confidence through creative hobbies has proven to be highly therapeutic for those in recovery.
4 Creative Hobbies For You to Enjoy
- Art: A complementary form of therapy that is becoming more popular in recent times is the use of art therapy, making the choice of art, perhaps, the perfect choice for a creative and expressive hobby. Obviously, the term “art” covers many different media forms, such as painting, sculpting, sketching and drawing, and even pottery. As you can see, there’s a wide and varied choice.
- Writing: It probably comes as no surprise that creative writing was one of my own chosen hobbies. In addition, as a direct part of my recovery, I kept a series of journals for the first few years, too. It was this “hobby” that has allowed me to build a career on my terms.
- Photography: You could say that photography is technically another art form, too, but it’s another perfect and expansive creative hobby to get into. In addition, it encourages you to get out-and-about, to (hopefully) see and enjoy more nature in your life, and to even record your recovery to some extent.
- Gardening: Lastly, another “hobby” that is widely used now as a complementary therapy – normally known as horticulture therapy. Gardening allows you to be creative in a practical, hands-on way, and it’s another that gets you outside and smelling the roses, too.
When you are in recovery from a substance addiction, you may find that you are not sure what to do with all the time previously spent in activities associated with your addiction. Creative hobbies certainly offer a practical and enjoyable way to spend that time. Stay safe.