If you’ve recently started your path toward recovery, it can be tough adjusting to a new lifestyle. Learning how to have fun without drugs or alcohol can feel like a daunting task for many people. People who abuse substances tend to equate their use with fun. It can also come to a point where a person doesn’t know how to have one without others.
Sometimes, building new, healthy habits involves re-discovering the activities that make you enjoy living life. This can consist of returning to old hobbies and interests or picking up new ones. It may require trying new things or even leaving behind old activities that only reinforced your alcohol or drug use.
Those who have dealt with substance abuse may have trouble trying to bring joy back into their lives once they’ve decided to get clean and sober. Unfortunately, substances can affect the brain to the point where it only gets pleasure from the substance and little else.
If you are struggling with addiction or having difficulty adapting to your new, sober lifestyle, do not hesitate to call us at 385-327-7418. We can help steer you along the right, healthy path to recovery.
Learning how to have fun without drugs or alcohol can be challenging, especially for those who have just completed their recovery program. Life without drugs can be enjoyable. One only has to adapt to the change of it.
Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane
When getting sober or after completing a recovery program, the world can feel like an entirely new place. A world without drugs and alcohol can be intimidating. In addition, you may be worried about handling anxiety and stress without the usual comfort of your substance of choice.
Rekindling your interest in old hobbies and activities is a great way to start adapting to the changes you’re facing. One way to approach this is by taking a walk down memory lane to your childhood and seeing what’s there.
Maybe you used to do something fun that constructively took up your time. Thinking back to how you would typically spend your afternoons and free time can help uncover a hobby you once loved. Whether it was using Legos to build a space rocket, playing out the stories in your head with dolls and puppets, or painting a world of your own on a blank canvas, or you might enjoy sports or exercise.
In childhood, you tend to be your most free and natural self. Looking back at how you used to enjoy your time can spark ideas for filling your schedule or giving you a new (old) way to blow off steam. You may uncover something fun you’ve entirely forgotten you like to do. Even if you’re not doing the same activities you used to, just placing yourself back in childhood can help spark new, exciting ideas for ways to spend your time.
Explore New Hobbies
Recovery and sobriety require thinking and acting in new ways. There’s nothing wrong with throwing yourself at a new activity or project. Like running? Try knocking out a couple of miles in the morning and developing a new exercise routine. You might try your hand as a chef, enroll in cooking class, or pick up a sketchpad.
Even if you don’t think you have a talent in a specific area, you won’t know until you try. Pick up a guitar or try writing a poem or short story about a life experience. It doesn’t even have to be something that requires a lot of effort on your part. Ask your friends for a movie or show recommendations and dive into a new series, or grab that book you’ve meant to read for years.
It’s all about exploring the world around you. People aren’t always comfortable with unfamiliar things. But sobriety and recovery are all about tackling those things to make your life more fun to live.
Trying new activities and pursuits can help stave off boredom, build self-confidence, and give you the courage to continue to grow mentally and spiritually.
One of the biggest triggers for relapse and substance abuse is boredom or general disinterest in life. People either don’t want to or don’t care about finding anything fun to do that’s not drug-related. Sometimes it can feel like an impossible task. But exercising your mind and body helps rebuild the “pleasure circuits” in the brain. Moreover, you’ll find that the more effort you put in, the more reward you get.
If you or someone you love is suffering from drug abuse, then contact our experts today. We will work with you to get you on the path to sobriety.
Find Healthy Distractions
Unfortunately, some people don’t know how to feel good without drugs in their system. Likewise, they have no clue how to go about having fun without alcohol close at hand.
The fact is, if you are going to start living healthy and enjoying life without alcohol and drugs, you’re going to need to be able to distract yourself in healthy ways. Distraction sounds like a negative term, but there might be a tendency to focus on unhealthy thoughts or ideas without it. Furthermore, adverse events that can severely affect your mood could also be a distraction.
However, it’s essential to distract yourself from temptations, triggers, or stresses that come with daily life. The diversions you choose should be calming, something that helps you relax and unwind. Whether it is something as simple as sitting in the backyard on a blanket and making out the clouds’ shapes. Or you are jamming some music on your speakers. Many things can help you step back and take a deep breath.
According to Psychology Today, another benefit of healthy distraction is that it has the power to fight off sudden urges and craving for substances. Only, it buys you time to adjust your thoughts and your mood. The average craving can last between two and three hours, and if you can defer acting on your impulse, resolutions may appear that were not clear before or during the moment. Remember, “The less you struggle against a certain emotion, the likelier you are to resolve it.”
The Emotions We Feel
Often, there is no clear explanation for the emotions we feel. However, the best way to manage them is by practicing and using other activities and skills. Every one should find or search for a hobby, or a distraction, that is both appropriate and accessible for them to help manage their emotions. Sometimes, it can help when it is simply time to take a step back from unhealthy thinking patterns.
Furthermore, author Tom Giaquinto says in Be A Good Human, “Find some quiet, private time. Allow yourself to slow down and relax. Find nature, meditate, or do nothing. Take a mental break. You’ll gain the benefits of a quiet mind.” This idea can be applied in nearly every situation, especially when you’re working through the struggle of learning how to have fun without drugs or alcohol.
Take on a Project
Even after considering all the options above, some people may not be able to find themselves able to throw themselves into new or old hobbies just for the heck of it. Or maybe they think it’s a waste of time. If that’s the case, you might consider taking on a meaningful project.
Though the idea of it may seem a little strange, some people may find that working on a serious project is more enjoyable than going on a hike, learning how to play the violin, or sketching the neighbors’ cat on the garden bench.
Moreover, you might frequently have the nagging feeling of “I really should be doing X instead of watching or doing Y.” It’s a pretty natural feeling. Addiction often leaves the addict feeling purposeless or isolated because they think they don’t contribute to society.
However, picking a project can help you feel like you’re doing something with your life that might help others. You could volunteer for a local organization or help a neighbor with a home improvement project. Maybe even start a book club for your sober friends or find a way to give back to the recovery community with your time.
Make time for yourself and the things you love to do or the items you want to accomplish in life. As former president Barack Obama once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or other time.” Moving forward and diving headfirst into a new endeavor might be just the thing to help you adapt to your unique lifestyle and learn how to have fun without drugs or alcohol. You won’t know unless you try. Let us help you try. Contact our specialists today, and we can help you start a new life now.
Settle Into Your New Life
Learning how to have fun without drugs or alcohol can be a trying experience, especially if you are fresh out of rehab and trying to make a new life for yourself. It can be stressful having to adapt and evolve your habits to fit your new-found sobriety. In addition, having to do this while avoiding triggers that might instigate a relapse can be challenging.
However, what’s easy to forget is that when someone is trying to learn how to cope with life without drugs or alcohol, they might struggle to feel “happy.” This struggle is common, especially in the early stages of recovery. It can help surrounding yourself with friends and family that support your new lifestyle and want to see you succeed.
Finally, life without drugs and alcohol doesn’t have to be dull or miserable. Many recovering addicts find that the experiences they have in their new, sober life are infinitely better than their time using substances. It’s about changing the way your brain sees the world in healthy, productive ways.
To summarize, if you are thinking about starting a substance-free life, or you’re already on your journey, please reach out to us at 385-327-7418. You do not have to fight addiction and substance abuse alone.
Written by Makeila Hofer
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