Recovering from an addiction takes hard work and motivation, and although you’ll never be completely over your vice, you can make life much easier by finding other things to invest your time and energy in. This means putting yourself out of your comfort zone and finding an interest in something new and in a completely different category from what you used to enjoy doing. Or, focus on something that you enjoyed before you got addicted to the substance that stole your attention from your favorite tasks, and fall in love with it again. Whatever you choose to do you have to do it wholeheartedly, and commit to these new experiences in order to ease the recovery process along.
One way that many recovering addicts find solace and reprieve from cravings and the anxiety that comes along with them is by becoming active. This can mean joining a local gym, or getting out into nature and hiking, swimming, skating, or skiing; whatever makes you feel good and gets your heart racing. At first, it can be difficult to get involved in sports and activities because you’re not feeling the same sensations that your chosen substance has offered you. But over time the cravings will lessen, and it will be easier to forget about the way that you felt when you were under the influence, and think more about what these new exercises make you feel. Helpguide.org explains:
Exercise releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being. Try running in place, jumping rope, or walking around the block.
Stress relief, health benefits and endorphins aren’t the only benefit you’ll gain from this kind of active lifestyle, you’ll find yourself breathing better, looking better, and ultimately feeling better. Involving yourself in things that get you moving can make you feel better about yourself as a person, which can improve your self-confidence and even boost your sex life.
Find A Hobby
Similar to getting active physically, finding a hobby to occupy your mind can also work wonders on getting you through these difficult times. It might not always be possible to shut off the negative feelings and tune into something that you want to do with your hands, but knitting, sewing, collecting playing cards, learning to play an instrument, or any number of other entertaining tasks can give you the control you need to get through hard times, and when they don’t, calling friends, family members, or your counselor can help; addictionsandrecovery.org says:
You don’t recover from an addiction by stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use. If you don’t create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again.
Introduce fun ways to occupy your mind and hands and challenge yourself each day with a new task like solving a crossword puzzle, reading a chapter in a book, or getting out and playing with your kids or the children in your family.
Join A Class
Once you’ve got the hang of doing things for yourself and on your own you can get involved with being social again. Joining a group means meeting new people who don’t know about your previous transgressions. This can give you a new clean slate that allows you to interact with others and participate in a course or activity that makes you happy or at least gets you talking. You can bring a friend or family member to the class with you if it makes it easier for you to integrate, and you should choose something that you’re genuinely interested in so that you get more out of the experience. If you like the idea of being physically active, running clubs are frequent in many different cities and allow you to get out and around your city or town and spread your wings for a while. If you’re more interested in sitting down for a while and getting to know the members of your group face to face then you can join a book club to read and discuss the latest and greatest novels.
A fun family activity or something that you can go on your own is get artistic or crafty. Think about projects that you’d like to do either around the house or with paper and a pen, and get started. If you’re not very creative or artistic then start small, or choose something that’s still within your comfort zone. For some people a painting course can give them access to a new hidden skill, while you might prefer to try scrapbooking and use photographs of those you love in order to create long lasting memories. Addictionrecoveryguide.org suggests:
The creative therapies can be very helpful in the process of recovery from addiction. They can provide time to get in touch with the inner self and with the higher power and can provide a form of expression for feelings that cannot be easily identified or put into words.
Make gifts for friends and family by creating holiday ornaments, homemade cards, or painted creations. Check out a local pottery painting business; most cities have at least one cafe that also focuses on the art world by providing pieces of pottery to paint while you sip tea or coffee. If you can’t find this kind of activity in your area, check the towns just outside of your city limits and make a day trip or weekend out of it by taking a friend to try it out.
No matter what you choose to do, or who you decide to do it with, what’s important is that you’re getting involved in something new that allows you to take the focus off of your problems for a little while and spend it enjoying things that make you feel like yourself again. It’s crucial that these activities have nothing to do with the life you were leading while addicted, because part of the goal is to take your mind off of that stuff, rather than finding another reminder.