When you start getting sober and cultivating an addiction free life for yourself it can be easy to overlook the importance of having hobbies. Hobbies range and can include almost anything you do in your spare time that counts as a recreational activity such as painting, rock climbing, hiking, photography, writing, poetry, reading, drawing, gardening and more. These are just a few examples of popular hobbies that people enjoy, so which do you like the sounds of?

Filling those gaps of spare time that you find in your life is incredibly important to keep you from relapsing. It’s often in boredom that we find ourselves reaching for that drink, that drug, or the phone to start making enquiries about accessing our vice. Instead by getting out in the garden, writing, painting or other it can help us distract ourselves from boredom. If you’re feeling restless, get up and go for a walk or to the gym or do something new like going swimming if you haven’t been lately. Call up a sober friend and go catch a film together. Whatever you do, make sure it doesn’t entertain your vice of choice, resulting in relapse.

Getting back into hobbies you had prior to your addiction can be a great way to get back in touch with your former self and start to remember how good you felt before you got into your addiction. This can be both beneficial and sometimes scary, especially if we don’t enjoy the hobby as we used to straight away or our artistic or writing skills aren’t up to par. It’s important to take it easy when getting back into things like hobbies and not to put too much pressure on ourselves to be the best when we’re just getting into recovery.

If your addiction was bad enough to require in patient rehabilitation you may find that a lof of the therapies revolve around writing and painting. This is because our emotions are often brought out easier in these formats, and therefore they can help us access darker parts of ourselves to engage with in more healthy, meaningful ways rather than being self-destructive through addictive behaviours. So be kind and gentle with yourself, whatever your situation or where ever you are at in your recovery journey. Transitioning from a dark place to a lighter place often has bumps in the road where you struggle for a period of time, and it’s important to know that this is not just normal but healthy too and finding healthy ways to deal with unpleasant feelings is part of being human.

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