Old Behavior Won’t Cut It
One of the most common clichés I hear in the rooms of recovery also happens to be very true. The only thing we have to change when we get sober is…everything.
Sounds overwhelming, right? I know it was for me. Through my active addiction, I thought all I had to do was put down the drug and the drink. I thought that abstinence alone was enough. It turns out I was wrong.
After going to yet another treatment center, I started to take suggestions from people who were wiser than me. That alone was huge! One of the suggestions I heard again (and again and again) was that I couldn’t stay sober and live dirty.
I took this to mean that, among other things, I had to change my behaviors and hobbies. Sitting on my couch, watching TV, and smoking cigarettes for eight hours was no longer acceptable. I was sober. I was supposed to be living life instead of simply existing.
So, I started to go out and rediscover my passions. In some cases I discovered them for the first time. Find a list of hobbies and activities I pursued below. They may work for you or they may not. The point isn’t to follow what I did exactly. It’s simply to inspire you to get off your butt and start living life!
Following Your Passions
Find a list of my four favorite sober activities below. Remember, you don’t have to do these! Rather, they’re what worked for me. Does something different work for you? Let us know on social media!
Exercise is one of the best activities I ever started doing! While that’s obvious to many people, it took this addict and alcoholic a long time to learn. Exercise is a great way to spend time, stay healthy, and improve your mood. Not only does it offer physical health benefits, but it boosts our mental functioning as well.
While playing sports goes hand-in-hand with exercise, it also offers a couple of unique benefits. First, exercising is generally a solitary affair. Playing sports involves being part of a team. I played, and continue to play, baseball, softball, and basketball. Over the years, some of my teammates have turned into some of my best friends. Following this line of thinking, having to work with other people towards a common goal has improved my sobriety. It’s made me more understanding, accepting, and generally helped me work with others. That, my friends, is an invaluable lesson.
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I started playing the violin at three months sober. Is that kind of dorky? Absolutely. Is it also kind of awesome? You bet! I’d always wanted to play an instrument. After getting sober, I figured it was time to cross something off my bucket list. So, I started taking violin lessons. The patience I’ve gained from learning how to not suck at playing music is amazing. It was, and continues to be, a truly humbling experience. Then there’s the satisfaction that comes from finally mastering a piece of music. The first time I played “Ode to Joy” without messing up once remains one of my proudest moments.
As a kid I loved reading. I was a certified bookworm. Then drugs and booze entered the picture and I stopped reading. I was reintroduced to the wonders of the printed page by reading the Big Book. After that, I returned to reading like a man dying of thirst. Since picking up books again, the time I’ve spent reading has become an invaluable period of reflection. It’s almost like a form of meditation.
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