You’re not alone if you find it difficult to fill all your newfound free time in early sobriety. Active alcohol use disorders are very time-consuming conditions. It takes a significant amount of time to get, use to, or recover from the effects of alcohol. Once you stop drinking, you realize how much free time you now have.
Boredom can be a dangerous thing during the first few weeks and months of recovery. As the saying goes, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” If you’re sitting around without much to do it’s only a matter of time before having a drink sounds like a good idea. It takes time to break a habit and having nothing to do all day but think about it only makes it harder.
Alcohol treatment programs do a great job of keeping you occupied while you’re at the facility. From individual therapy to group therapy to activities to meals, there was probably something for you to do at any time of the day. Once you get out of treatment, filling your schedule becomes your responsibility.
It’s crucial to stay busy during early recovery if you want to stay alcohol-free. It might be hard to know what to do with your time. Start with some of these ideas to get new activities on your schedule.
Join a Recovery Support Group
Trying to stay sober on your own makes the process even more difficult. Recovery support groups are a valuable resource for people in recovery. There are many different kinds of groups available for you to choose from. Some of these groups include:
- 12-Step/Anonymous programs
- SMART Recovery
- Refuge Recovery
- Women for Sobriety (WFS)
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
Participating in a recovery support group increases the likelihood that you will stay sober. It surrounds you with people who understand your struggles and share those exact difficulties. Everyone gets to share what they’re having a hard time staying sober through and this can build support for one another during recovery.
Discover New Hobbies
Since active alcohol use disorders are time-consuming, they leave little room for hobbies. Neglecting activities you once enjoyed is a common symptom of substance abuse. Now that you have more free time you can discover new hobbies or get back to doing things you once loved to do.
You can try out any number of different activities. Start by determining your strengths and preferences. What are some things you used to enjoy doing? What are you good at? Where do you feel most comfortable and at ease? What have you always wanted to try? A few ideas you can try out include:
- Joining a sports team or recreational league
- Playing an instrument
- Singing or dancing
- Drawing or painting
- Reading or writing stories
Hobbies are healthy for everyone to have. Participating in different activities is a fantastic way to avoid the temptation of alcohol. They give you a positive outlet to focus on instead. It also keeps you from feeling boredom, anger, stress, and other difficult emotions that can trigger a relapse.
You might have noticed that some of the hobbies above included physical activities. Exercise is a positive outlet for people in recovery. Getting your body moving produces endorphins, natural feel-good chemicals in your brain. It’s satisfying to find a type of movement that you enjoy and get some exercise a few times during the week.
Exercise doesn’t have to be excessive physical exertion. You don’t need to run 5k’s or lift huge weights in the gym. There are plenty of forms of exercise that get you moving and release endorphins without having to break your body doing it. Try some of the following and see which you enjoy the most:
- Jogging or running
- Riding a bicycle
- Rock climbing
- Playing a sport
Creating a Schedule
One of the best ways to occupy yourself during early recovery is by creating a schedule. Setting a routine and sticking to it helps you build habits over time. Consistency also eliminates unnecessary unknowns and free time that could otherwise be tempting.
If you want to stay sober during early recovery, creating a schedule and including the ideas above is a great place to start. It’s good to give yourself something to work towards each day. Then the longer you stay sober, the more you can accomplish in an individual day or week. Keeping busy is a terrific way to ensure your sobriety.