You’ve gotten clean. Now what?
When you’re getting high, you don’t really notice how much time is wasted in procuring, and then using, your drug of choice. With your head clear, however, you’re probably wondering what to do with the abundance of time on your hands, other than sit and dwell on how much you miss the old times. Especially since this is how relapse often occurs. You don’t want to end up replacing one addiction or fixation with another, but you can trade up to healthier activities. There are a number of things that can get you high and feelin’ fine without resorting to drugs or alcohol. The first thing to remember is the age old saying that moderation is key.
Get up and get moving! Join a gym. Take up walking or running. Look into your local rec center’s swimming classes. Physical activity is a fantastic way to get a natural high. When exercising, your body releases chemicals that can leave you feeling accomplished and proud, in spite of the physical exertion screaming in your bones and muscles.
There’s nothing like a good book. What better way to take a temporary escape from the daily stresses that plague you, than to disappear into someone else’s story? Whole lifetimes wait inside the pages. Other worlds. Thought provoking concepts and ideas that you can take to friends for lively conversations. The best part? If you don’t like the way a book is making you feel, you can put it back and move on. No harm, no foul. No lasting damage.
By nature, we are social creatures. Drug addiction often takes that part of us away though. Withdrawing from friends and family, distancing them, it’s instinctive. Guess what? In most cases, family will love you unconditionally, regardless of what you may have done in your darker moments. Don’t turn them away. Let them in and spend time with the people you love. They’ll lift your spirits and remind you that you never have to be alone.
Love has the power to heal all things. Obviously this isn’t something you can just go out and pick up at the store. What you can do, however, is be receptive to it. Don’t ever tell yourself that you aren’t worthy of being loved by another person, that you don’t deserve to have a committed relationship with a life partner—you do. We all do. A committed relationship can foster confidence, happiness, and a sense of being content in your own skin.
There is no loyalty like the love of a pet. Pets have a way of making you feel like you matter. With an insight unlike that of humans, they can detect your emotions and respond accordingly. As long as you have a kind word and a gentle hand, your dog isn’t going to care if your shoes didn’t match your outfit or if you forgot a page of that report at work today. They just want to be in the moment with you.
Don’t be ashamed to talk about your sobriety. Something happens when you share your story and see it resonate in someone else. It’s cleansing for you, but for them, it can be a life line. Remember when you took those first steps? Having someone to reach out to or be held accountable to, goes a long way toward achieving and maintain recovery.
Grab a notebook and a pen, a tablet, a laptop . . . just get something and start putting your thoughts down. You can journal them in a free form style or you can structure them into story, whether autobiographical or fictional. Words are therapeutic. Banging them out on the keyboard lets you say everything you need to without fear of judgement or repercussion. You can always erase it all when you’re done. Or you can embrace what appears on the page before you and discover the inherent truths about yourself.
Perhaps you’ll even be brave enough to share your revelations with the world.
What other non-chemical hobbies or activities give you thrills?