Addiction treatment is considered one of the most vital steps in an individual’s recovery for achieving long-term sobriety. The design and structure of addiction treatment centers are so that all of the patient’s activity is monitored, the days are structured, and the environment is safe for guiding them through the most difficult aspects of the process toward freedom from addiction.
Downtime in Addiction Treatment
Within this heavily structured environment, however, there tends to be a lot of downtime in order to help the individuals to make a full recovery. This downtime is a privilege that those in addiction treatment can use to support their recovery in productive ways such as exploring new hobbies and repairing relationships and other issues in their lives.
In our experience at Florida House, we have found that those individuals in addiction treatment that choose to take part in finding new hobbies have a significantly greater level of success for staying sober. For clarity’s sake, the term addiction treatment can refer to both residential programs, which offers a higher level of care and transitional living (outpatient) that offers a greater deal of freedom as individuals prepare for a life of independence free from substance abuse.
There are many different hobbies that an individual in addiction treatment can try out, some, more practically, in outpatient care. These hobbies can help these people to build sober skills and give them tools to fill their downtime once they are out of addiction treatment and back in their normal lives in order to avoid relapse. Let’s take a look at some of the potential hobbies that can be developed in addiction treatment.
Healthy Hobbies, Healthy Life
Developing healthy hobbies are a fantastic way to lay the foundation of a happy, healthy and enjoyable new future as a sober individual. Let’s be clear – sober life is amazing, and while we may not think that as we are in a sicker state of mind watching movies when we’ll be getting our next high, there is a whole world of fun that becomes available to us when we get clean. We offer six ideas for healthy hobbies to consider both during your stay at inpatient addiction treatment centers as well as in transitional living programs that can help catapult your experience of recovery to the next level:
1. Meditate – Meditation has been found to be one of the most impactful ways for naturally healing depression, anxiety, and drug or alcohol dependence. As an individual in addiction treatment recovery, the idea of sitting still with our thoughts is a terrifying one, yet learning to do so successfully will positively affect every other aspect of our lives. Learning to meditate does not require much time or skill, but requires more of a willingness to remain consistent as you slowly improve and become aware of this calming practice’s influence on you. If you do not know how to meditate, we can suggest a short practice that has worked for us and many others. Simply sit in a comfortable position (however you feel most comfortable) and close your eyes. Slowly breathe in and out at a consistent pace, counting on each “out breath” from 1-4 and starting over each time. If you lose count or find your thoughts start rambling in your head, just start over. Try this 2x a day for 5 minutes each time. Do the best you can, and remember that it takes practice.
2. Read – If you have ever wanted to learn about ANYTHING, we assure you that there is a book written by an expert on it that can help you better understand it. Want to get in better shape? Or learn how to build your own computer? Or how to improve your makeup skills? While you have the time in addiction treatment, take on a mentor through a book and get some ideas for pursuing all the wonderful things you have wanted to experience. Reading is an excellent way to utilize your downtime and contribute to your personal growth as an individual free from addiction. You certainly will not regret it. Perhaps you will even learn about a new passion, job, or hobby you would like to try out to help fill your time.
3. Fitness – Can you imagine the kind of shape you could be in if you spent as much time exercising as you were chasing your next high? Fitness is a great hobby to take up as it has a positive impact on your sobriety as well as your physical and mental health. Fitness does not necessarily mean going to the gym only – not everyone gets excited to pick up heavy things and put them back down over and over again. Many individuals prefer taking up healthy activities such as cycling, surfing, rock climbing, or practicing martial arts. Whatever your preference may be, there is certainly a healthy activity out there that is right for you to kickstart your new lifestyle of fitness. The benefits for fitness help you to create a foundation for a healthier and happier way of living which will certainly come in handy when it is time to resist a relapse. Afterall, fitness helps train your mind just as well as your body.
4. Cooking – Learning to cooking your own food is certainly an important aspect of your personal growth as an individual in recovery. Cooking for yourself is often healthier and much less expensive than eating out. Many people are wrongly under the impression that eating healthy is expensive, but when you cook your own meals, it is far tastier and more affordable than you might think. Cooking can be a fun activity that you can do alone or with others, and it gives you an opportunity to create with your imagination as well as follow strict directions through recipes. When those in recovery are in addiction treatment programs, all of the food is typically provided for you. Some addiction treatment programs offer exceptional dining experiences, while others may not do this so much. Because you have to eat to live, his hobby in itself provides a level of inspiration for many to explore the benefits of learning to make a home-cooked meal.
5. Paddleboarding – Living in Florida no doubt has its perks, especially for life on the water. Many of those in recovery have found that starting their day on the water allows for tremendous benefits physically, mentally, and even spiritually. The patience it takes to learn to get up on a surfboard and calmly float through the water with the sun rising behind you is an experience reserved to few, but available to many. You can even ask someone to teach you if you are unsure how to begin. The aquatic lifestyle that integrates with South Florida life means there is likely someone nearby in recovery who can teach you this great, and meditative hobby!
6. Volunteer with Animals – Working with rescued animals has been shown to have tremendous soothing and emotional effects on recovering individuals. The ability to work with those in need and offer compassion and support on your own free time is truly heartwarming and inspiring. The love of an animal is a special one, yet the love they reciprocate is even greater. There are few things as powerful as the expression of love, especially to those that may not have ever had the experience before. It may not be practical for you to get a pet of your own (even if you fall in love with one at a shelter!) in early recovery, but shelters very often are looking for volunteers willing to do community service, and you might be the right candidate!
Hobbies are a Powerful Friend to Sobriety
Hobbies are certainly powerful for individuals who are on their journey to sobriety. Addiction treatment offers recovering individuals the exceptional opportunity to meet their immediate daily needs in addition to exploring new hobbies to incorporating them into their newfound lifestyle. In our experience at Floria House, becoming more comfortable with reading and meditating during a patient’s stay at inpatient addiction rehab is life changing. Once they complete their stay and move over to transitional living, there are additional opportunities granted by the freedoms afforded by a lower level of care. Physical fitness, cooking, paddle boarding, and volunteer work with animals have been shown to provide recovering individuals a full schedule of activities they love but never believed they would be able to pursue during their previous way of life as an addict.
If you are looking to speak to someone about addiction treatment for you or someone you love, do not hesitate to contact Florida House at 855-441-2449. Our compassionate team of counselors are standing by 24/7 to take your call.