You might be surprised to learn that having a hobby is an important part of addiction recovery… Oftentimes, people assume that the main focus is ridding their lives of the addiction and focusing on a plan for recovery.  However, this plan should include finding a new hobby.

Whether your addiction was drugs, alcohol, or swiping your credit card too much at the mall, you will need something to take your mind off of that previous addiction. You will still have that addictive personality, and if you are not careful you can easily find yourself suddenly addicted to yet another substance or unhealthy activity.

However, instead, you can use that energy toward making a positive change in your life…From exercising to reading to learning a new craft – the options are endless. Still not sure if finding a hobby is a positive step in your journey toward addiction recovery? Here are five more reasons that will help you make up your mind:

1. Hobbies help your brain make new connections

One of the scariest parts of addiction recovery is relapse…

There will always be a chance that due to personal “triggers” you will find yourself back in the midst of your previous lifestyle. Triggers got their name because they “trigger” thoughts, memories, or feelings about using an addictive substance. They can be places, things, or even people that are connected with one’s old habits, causing one to fall back into addiction.

However, thanks to a hobby, you can create new positive triggers. Rather than hanging out with your old friends, at your old places, doing your old things, change it all up. Things like volunteer opportunities, mutual interest groups, book clubs, and community sports leagues can bring together a new social group.

A new hobby is a positive step toward eliminating those negative triggers. 

2. Hobbies keep your brain’s reward system healthy

Another aspect of addiction is the brain’s reward system. During addiction, your brain learns that it likes that substance – drugs, alcohol, the joy felt from shopping – so it creates a feeling of satisfaction when you do that activity.

However, you can reverse this and teach your brain to reward you with a feeling of happiness for positive activities such as exercising or crafting. Find something that you enjoy and your brain will learn to release that feel-good dopamine, making you want to continue doing that positive activity.

A new hobby is a positive step toward rewarding your body for good activities.

3. Hobbies help prevent boredom

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Oftentimes, addiction relapse can be the most prevalent when boredom occurs. Free time is great, but too much free time during addiction recovery can lead to a relapse as just something to do.

But, if you have a hobby you enjoy participating in during your free time, you don’t have quite as much down time to become a victim to relapse. In addition, an active hobby that promotes a healthier lifestyle can also help your body repair itself following a long addiction. In turn, this will only aid you in your recovery even more.

A new hobby is a positive step toward healing yourself – mentally and physically. 

4. Hobbies help with addictive thinking

Boredom goes hand in hand with addictive thinking. As an addict, your brain has learned to think in such a way that the slightest bit of boredom or remembrance of the addiction causes your mind to continuously tell you that you need that substance.

But, by becoming aware of your thoughts, you can focus this addictive thinking toward something positive. Thinking about and participating in hobbies helps you minimize the amount of time your mind is wandering. If you let your mind wander it can be easy to fall into the traps of frustration, dissatisfaction or other kinds of addictive thoughts. However, if you focus your time on learning a new craft, participating in group activities, or taking up a new sport you are teaching yourself to think positive and productive thoughts.

A new hobby is a positive step toward positive thinking. 

5. Hobbies help rebuild your self-worth.

During an addiction and in the early stages of seeking help, it is extremely common for one to hit a low point and lose their sense of self-worth… Furthermore, recovery is often greeted with acknowledgment of mental health problems, only making one’s self-esteem even lower.

However, by finding something you are good at and enjoy you can see that you do have an immense amount of self-worth. Success is a great way to gain your confidence and self-esteem back.

Final Thoughts

There are several aspects to addiction recovery… While getting clean and making amends with loved ones is a major part, maintaining that sobriety is a continued lifestyle change… It takes hard work, determination, and planning.

By getting involved in a hobby you will better your mental and physical health and continue working your way toward a better and sober life. The great thing about hobbies is that you have the ability to choose – maybe sports isn’t your thing, but crafting might be.

Now that you understand how valuable it is to your recovery, get out there and start looking into local groups that might offer something that is of interest to you. It will be refreshing to try something new and make new friends!