Once you’ve completed addiction rehab and start to prepare for your return to normal living, you might be stricken with a disturbingly common realization: without indulging in substance abuse, you may not have anything to fill your time. Many struggle with this problem early in their sobriety; the activities and friends they once filled their time with aren’t an option anymore. They’re too close to old habits, or explicitly indulge those old habits. To make sure your recovery goes smoothly, we recommend trying these five activities:
1) Fitness classes
Fitness classes offer a ton of benefits to a recovering addict, not the least of which is the improved physical conditioning. Research shows quite consistently that improving your health makes it easier to avoid substance abuse, so that alone might make this a worthwhile endeavor. It’s also great for another reason: socializing with no exposure to substances. There are a lot of activities out there which are great, but can bring you into close contact with temptation. You won’t have to deal with that at a martial arts, spin, or yoga class.
It might be time to catch up on your reading. You don’t have to be diving into War and Peace for this to be a great hobby, nor do you need to inundate yourself in self-help books or books on addiction. Just enjoying yourself with silly pulp mystery novels, the latest sci-fi anthologies, or the newest Stephen King can be a great way to spend your evenings without the temptation of relapse. You can also take it social, with reading groups, message boards, and other venues of discussion.
3) Outdoor sports
If fitness classes aren’t your thing but you’d still like to socialize and get your blood pumping, outdoor activities and sports can be a great way to do that. Join a cycling group and ride around town, find an AA-sponsored local team to play with, or just head into the mountains to hike or climb. It’s all a great way to spend time clean and healthy.
It might be time to put your stories down in text. Whether you’re writing a personal journal about your struggles which you’ll never share or an exciting fantasy novel packed with dragons and magic, writing’s a great way to indulge yourself and stay busy. Stereotypes aside, intoxication is not mandatory for a writer.
It might be time to help others the way you’ve been helped. Whether that means working with other addicts or something that’s not quite so close to home, volunteering can give you the motivation and sense of purpose you need to hold tight to your sobriety for the long haul.