Once you’ve learned not to give in to your desire to drink or use drugs, you may feel at a loss for how to let yourself unwind or indulge in healthier ways. You have many more productive options for releasing stress and treating yourself. Take this opportunity to look into new hobbies, rediscover old pleasures, and revitalize your present lifestyle to gain enjoyment and fulfillment that fills the void left by your old vices. At the end of the day, remember that the discomfort you feel is temporary and that with time, you’ll come to enjoy your new life in a way that meets and even surpasses the pleasures of your old habits.
While you may go through some growing pains as your body and mind adjust to your new lifestyle, chances are that soon you’ll begin to experience positive effects as well. Once you’ve made it through detox and treatment, coming home can mark the beginning of a period of rejuvenated energy and focus. You may find yourself able to think quicker and more clearly. You may feel more bodily integrated and, if you include exercise into your recovery regimen (which you should!), you’ll begin to see changes there, too, at a rate that may surprise you.
This aspect of change can also apply to how you choose to spend your time and energy. Approach your life as a new opportunity and interests or passions that you might have written off before might be a little easier to approach now. Areas of study or hobbies that you might have previously not had time to explore might now be able to provide you with meaning and fulfillment. Leave nothing off the table. This is a rare opportunity to recreate your life however you like, so you might as well shoot for the moon.
For some of us, part of the pleasure of drinking or doing drugs was feeding an addictive or obsessive personality. While science has definitively debunked the existence of the so-called “addictive personality” being single-handedly responsible for driving people towards compulsive behavior, some people do take more pleasure in obsessive, repeated activities, within the context of their unique psychological makeup. While this may have played to your disadvantage in the past, that doesn’t mean you have to curtain off that part of your mind. Now that you know better, you may be able to use that aspect of yourself to your benefit.
Your ability to direct your entire mind towards something that compels you can take on a new, more constructive life in your sobriety. Some people in recovery use their tunnel-vision focus to make detailed, personal art, achieve intensive exercise goals, get deeply involved in extensive video gaming worlds or fantasy athletics teams, or develop new trades and skills. If you’ve ever been curious about masonry, computer programming, birdwatching, navigation, cooking, cheese-curing, auto repair, instrument building, or any number of the countless pursuits the human race has designed to stimulate and explore the mind and the world, you’re in luck. Follow an old passion or cultivate a new interest. You already know you have the ability to dedicate time and energy to something that stimulates you. Use it for good.
Your mind and body are constantly evolving over the course of your life. Even if you think of yourself as an addictive, obsessive person, or even if you feel a void in your day-to-day that can’t be filled by hobbies or art, take comfort in the knowledge that we tend to adjust over time to become comfortable in our surroundings. With patience, effort, and consistency, you can guide yourself down a path of health and enjoyment that builds you up.
One more most useful thing to keep in mind as you move through recovery is the importance of the people close to you. Your close friends, family, peers in recovery, sponsor, therapist, and professional staff each provide different aspects of social support; together, they form a ring of people who care for you, understand you, and want to help you succeed. These people will be there for you no matter where you are in your life. As you change–and you will, many times–you can rely upon the consistent presence and guidance of the people you trust most to see you through your challenges and celebrate your successes.
Once you’ve made it through treatment, you have a rare opportunity to rebuild your life by your own design. This can be an intimidating prospect. At Cornerstone Healing Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, we know that recovery doesn’t end at getting sober. Our goal is to work with you to build a new life that sees you grow and shine in ways that you never did before. Part of creating a fulfilling new life in sobriety is establishing areas of effort and involvement that stimulate your mind and body and leave you feeling accomplished, while also helping you find pleasure and joy in your daily life. At Cornerstone, we pair you with an individualized array of staff who work with you to make sure that you succeed in getting sober, staying sober, and achieving your potential as a human being. Whether you’ve been in recovery for one day or for ten years, we’re here to help. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.