When a lot of people think about sobriety, their focus is usually on the activities an addicted person is not doing. While stopping substance abuse is a very important first step, it will be very difficult to maintain sobriety without other activities to fill in the hole left in your time and energy.
A life without a sense of purpose and without opportunities to relax and enjoy life is one that will be filled with stress and boredom that can leave you very vulnerable to a relapse. Far from being “wasted time,” doing something you enjoy can be a very important part of caring for yourself and gaining the strength you need to continue in your recovery.
Boredom is one of the most powerful forces that can derail your recovery. When life feels boring, it saps away your energy and motivation, making life feel like a drudgery that has you trapped. Boredom is a particularly dangerous state of being in recovery, because it makes it easy for you to mindlessly drift back into unhealthy habits.
When life feels like a slow drudgery, you start to yearn more for the excitement and escape that substance abuse appeared to provide. The best way to deal with boredom in recovery is to fill your life with things that make life seem enjoyable and worth living. There are many ways to have fun sober, and learning how is an important way to keep your recovery on track.
As important as the work of self-discovery and self-improvement is, it can easily get exhausting and tiring if everything we do is serious all the time. Taking time out to enjoy life, to discover and enjoy the good things that come into your life with sobriety is an equally important part of the recovery process.
Even just a few moments of something that brings joy or makes you laugh can reduce your stress, make you more open to reaching out to others, and make life easier to handle. In the midst of the hard times of recovery, laughter can be vitally important medicine to give you the motivation to keep going.
Let Go of Fear:
Often, people drink to excess or use drugs to alleviate insecurities, pushing down the ways they feel bad about themselves. Fear of vulnerability, of letting go of self-deception, is the very thing that keeps many people away from exploring themselves the way they really are, a necessary prerequisite to admitting your need for help and change in the recovery process.
Being silly, or taking time to try out a new activity you might not perfect right away are both great ways to learn how to let go of your fears and insecurities. Learning to relax and have fun is not simply a diversion from the more stressful parts of recovery, but is in fact an important part of the growth process.
Think back to what your life was like before the addiction took over. What were some ways you had fun, or enjoy doing? Think of a way you can do those activities with other people, and find a community to get back into those old hobbies. You can also branch out and build your courage by trying new things.
Make some time in your schedule for exploration, for looking for classes or other opportunities to try new things. Some of these activities can even be things that provide a “legal adrenalin rush” and show you just how exciting life can be. Go for thrilling adventures. Even if something doesn’t feel like something you want to try again, it can still be a piece of the rewarding adventure that sobriety can provide.