Oftentimes, those with addiction disorders resist pursuing recovery because they assume that a sober life must necessarily be boring.
It’s understandable that the addiction may be contributing to such thinking, but it’s definitely incorrect to imagine that the only things that make life entertaining are drugs or alcohol. Having fun in recovery is possible!
The Myth of an Empty Life in Recovery
It’s true that recovery changes a lot of things. For starters, if you’re getting clean, you’re eliminating certain unhealthy behaviors that used to occupy a lot of your time. Without the previous habits to fill your day, and without the substance abuse to dominate your thinking, you may feel like there is a gaping hole in your life.
That “hole” is not really an empty space at all; it’s a huge opportunity to finally experience a full life.
The notion of an empty life in recovery is a myth. After leaving behind the substance that at one time may have been controlling your life, you will be able to see how it was really a hindrance, keeping you from so many good things.
It may take a while for you to realize, but there are many wonderful things to enjoy and many ways to experience a truly fulfilled life, without the help of any substance.
The Danger of Boredom
That’s not to say there aren’t any dangers for someone in recovery. During the transition to sobriety, with large amounts of free time suddenly available, boredom can ensue and relapse is a potential risk.
Boredom can lead to depression, anger and bitterness. This emotional shift often produces thinking that sobriety is not everything it was supposed up to be. This can start the process of justification for using just one more time.
High levels of boredom have been associated with a variety of negative behaviors and adverse mental health effects. These include anxiety, hopelessness, loneliness, impulsiveness, academic failure and occupational dissatisfaction and absenteeism. In fact, some initial evidence has been uncovered which suggests that chronic boredom may even be bad for our physical health.
Staying Busy to Stay Sober
This highlights the necessity of having fun in recovery to avoid an increased chance of relapsing. It’s important to do things that are productive and fun to fill the gap left by previous unhealthy activities.
It can sometimes be challenging to get started and even difficult to identify things that you enjoy doing and can afford, but the effort will be well worth it. It will be like a new adventure discovering yourself all over again or finding new interests you never considered before.
Far from being bored or feeling empty, once you get underway with your new life and new pursuits, you may be surprised to find there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want to do!
Expand Your Horizons and Have Fun in Recovery
As you find new ways to keep yourself busy, it’s a good idea to try several different activities and hobbies. Whether you hope to rekindle an old passion or try something entirely new, there are plenty of excellent options that can help you keep your schedule full and your sobriety on track.
To get you thinking about the possibilities, below are a few random ideas for fun things to do in the Austin area. Maybe one or more will catch your fancy and give you a chance to do something unexpected.
- Pack a picnic and head to the gorgeous natural swimming grotto, Hamilton Pool.
- Watch 1.5 million bats emerge from underneath the Congress Bridge at dusk.
- Explore thousands of unique and strange items at the South Congress Store of Unusual Items.
- Hike up beautiful Mount Bonnell and observe the gorgeous vistas.
- Feed the ducks, swans and geese along the Lady Bird Lake Bike and Hike Trail.
- Explore the eerie beauty and natural wonder of the Longhorn Caves.
- See a show or blockbuster movie at the historic Paramount Theatre.
These are only suggestions and don’t even include possibilities like getting started on a new exercise program, rock climbing, trying your hand at drawing or painting or countless other pursuits. Remember, you’re free to explore your own interests. After all, the time regained in recovery is your time!