I remember when I first got sober, I was completely lost. Like I had no idea what to do with myself. Some of this was due to PAWS, but a lot of it was that I just didn’t know what to do with all this time I had. It is important to spend time doing things because if you just sit around all day, you’re going to drive yourself crazy, relapse, or be depressed.
Here are some ways to spend your time:
- Congratulate yourself! Spend time recognizing what an accomplishment being sober is. You made a conscious decision to better yourself, and that says a lot about who you are as a person. I beat myself up a lot the first few months, chastising myself for not being enough and for wasting so much of my time. Do not do this. Instead, give yourself a big pat on the back for being so brave.
- Reconnect with your old hobbies. Is there anything you liked to do before you started using? I began doing things I used to love: writing, lifting, hiking, rock climbing. It’s funny, I almost forgot about my hobbies and how much I truly loved doing them. This is a great way to spend your time because of how therapeutic it can be.
- Music! I love music and it has been a great mood elevator for any situation. I find music is helpful in relaxing me, exciting me, motivating me, or just plain having fun. Music has wonderful therapeutic properties and should be used to brighten your day. Be careful with music that you used to use to. I know there was one album that I listened to a lot while on heroin. I can’t listen to the album now without thinking of the old days. Just be careful.
- Reconnect with old friends. This is a great one. Is there anyone in your life that you’ve stopped talking to because of your addiction? If so, send them a text, email, or call them. It may be awkward/difficult at first, but I bet you will feel much better once you’ve met. Just make sure they are GOOD friends, not drug addicts.
- Volunteer. This one is great. The feeling of giving and making people’s days brighter is immensely powerful. I volunteered at an animal shelter and basically played with pets all day! Great way to brighten your day. If animals aren’t your thing, check out soup kitchens, boys and girls club, or at your local church. You’ll be glad you did!
I hope this list helps you figure out what to do with all your newfound free time. I know this part was so difficult for me that I would actually print out a list of ‘things to do while sober’ and go through the list. Be careful of free time, it can be treacherous if you do nothing at all. Your mind can go to dark places. But with activities, you might actually forget all the dark things that exist inside your mind, if only for a while. Peace and love my friends, good luck!