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  • Let's Talk: Hobbies and Recovery!

    A place for community rundowns, special events and announcements from Counselling Online forums facilitation team.
    Community Builder
    Posts: 252
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Let's Talk: Hobbies and Recovery!

    Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:04 am

    As we move through recovery, we might find we have a bit of extra time on our hands. For some, having too much spare time can lead to boredom, which can be a major trigger. So how do we fill in that time? Well why not pick up a hobby?

    Aside from keeping you busy, hobbies are actually really good for you! Creative hobbies, such as crafts, have been shown to lead to better cognitive health in adults. A study from the U.S found that those who engaged with hobbies regularly showed decreased levels of depression and stress and increased levels of positive psychological states! Another study also found that adults who engage in volunteering were shown to have better self-esteem than those who did not. Basically, having a hobby can create a sense of purpose, give your brain a workout and allow you to develop a new skill.

    You might be thinking, well what hobbies am I actually interested in? How do I find a hobby?

    You can always try out a few different things. You’re not always going to hit on something you love right away, give yourself time to shop around a bit and work out what you’re actually passionate about. It’s also useful to keep in mind that some hobbies can be more expensive and demand more time than others. Starting with something small and working up to a bigger hobby might be sensible at first. It might be more practical to start off with learning to build kites than jumping right into kite-surfing.

    Have you found a new hobby recently? Or maybe you have something you’ve always wanted to try out but haven’t had the energy or time?

    Let us know what hobbies you guys have! :D

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    Community Builder
    Posts: 252
    Joined: Tue May 04, 2021 9:59 am

    Re: Let's Talk: Hobbies and Recovery!

    Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:12 am

    @Peace Dove @Mishme @ScorpionPW @PnorkelPW @UltraViolet @CatMumofone @Katiee @EtherealAngel111 @WildeReformed @Minnie mouse @JR78 @Jak88 @Bpk30

    I'd love to hear for you all! :D
    0 x
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 225
    Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:06 am

    Re: Let's Talk: Hobbies and Recovery!

    Tue Aug 03, 2021 9:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing @Lhiver, this is a great topic and can be such an important part of recovery.

    For me, when I got clean I had so much excess energy that used to go into using and in the early days of recovery it was hard to know what to do with that. It caused a lot of anxiety and uncomfortability not knowing what to do with myself and I could only spend a certain amount of time in the day going to meetings and hanging around peers in recovery.

    I was passionate about music and had written music from a very young age so this was perfect for me to tap into. I got my first job in recovery, saved up some money, bought my first recording set up, began to study audio engineering and spent hours upon hours recording music in the first couple of years in recovery. Having that outlet was so therepeutic and important to my recovery journey. It was so esteem building to finally take it seriously after not being able to do anything with it as a result of being crippled by addiction.

    I also tried a lot of new things once in recovery. Kind of like a process of trial and error and figuring out what I don't want to do to discover what I do want to do. I learnt that if I was just open to trying new things without being too critical of how good I was at something straight off the bat or too focussed on what outcome I would get from pursuing it, the process of connecting with people and exploring the world with the new found freedom I got in recovery was very healing and confidence building.

    It would be great to hear other peoples experiences with finding new ways to spend time and find passions in recovery :)
    4 x
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 196
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: Hobbies and Recovery!

    Thu Aug 05, 2021 10:18 pm

    Great topic this one @Lhiver ….........Hobbies are essential because they become an important part of creating the routine that’s required to establish a good foundation of recovery. I know for me, the downtime was dangerous there was a certain time of day that was the worst. 4:30pm was when the cravings hit me hardest. I was quite often just sitting around and my jaw would start to get tighter, anxiety would rise and all I wanted to do was use.

    What I discovered through that time was that’s when it was most important for me to keep busy, that's when I needed the distraction. What became important was to change up my routine, to change up my day. The other time that was hard was after work. Back in my previous hospitality career the late finishes, the winding down when I got home from work was what I found near impossible. The period between getting home from work and needing to go to sleep because of the long days and quick turn around was horrible. I just needed to unwind and I didn't have the substances I once would’ve used.

    At night time I found jigsaw puzzles helpful. Once upon a time I would have thought jigsaws were really wanky………….but I don't know………….somehow I just found that they helped. They helped get my breathing settled and tired me out. I never really understood it then because it was years later that I did the course in mindfulness and started to understand what mindfulness is all about. It's only then I realised that I was actually giving my brain the chance to switch off, my body the chance to relax and wind down before I went to bed. All I knew then was that it helped me get to sleep.

    In the afternoons I discovered a walk helped and I had a dog back then. If I was in between a split shift I just needed to keep busy. That 4:30pm time slot was where I used to use before I went back to work………..and I'd use pretty heavy so when I didn't have that I really struggled. Trying to get through that without any help, without any anything else to do I found I’d be walking around jaw tightening, fist clenching and getting more anxious and agitated before I went back to work. Later on I discovered that bike riding helped and I've done all sorts of other things in between. I've had the mindfulness colouring books, watched movies, played video games………even some baking along the way.

    That was early days before this bout of recovery and I feel like these were the experiences that trained me…………that helped me get it right this time. Finding this stint of recovery is where the gym came in…………I've never really got the full hang of it and been able to get into the shape I’d like but it's kept me busy. One thing that helped this time around is the swimming pool, the spa and the sauna. I could just go down to the rec centre and spend hours there. Talking in the sauna, floating in the spa, jumping in the pool and doing a few laps…………..I actually found some great people and conversations. Amazing how many people I met that were actually in recovery and doing the same thing I was………you start to pick up those things in conversation after a while.

    For so long substances were my hobby…………..the pub was my everything. For a little while I worked there, socialised there and if I wasn't in one pub I was in another. I was talking to people I knew or talking to people I didn't know. Drinking was my life and difficult to replace. That's what the many attempts at recovery taught me…………..I needed to replace it and find something meaningful but I’d never done that before…………..I was always jealous of other people with hobbies.

    So these days I keep it simple…………….I've bought an electric drum kit which I don't use enough but it's there………..I go for walks, I go to the gym, I go swimming, I catch up with friends. So just like @Lhiver said………..don't be afraid to give new things a go or get back to old hobbies. One of my old hobbies is golf and I'm not doing that enough either. Something else I've done is bought a basketball and kept it in the car. I used to just stop and on the way home and shoot some hoops to give my mind an opportunity to switch off so that when I walked in the front door I was in a completely different mindset and ready to just chill out. Something else that helped me out just recently was getting back into karate………..when I say got back into it I mean I did it when I was 13 but I'd wanted to do it again for so many years. I've stopped again now because time and other commitments meant it wasn’t financially viable anymore……….but man that got me through a tough time at the start of the year and if it hadn't been for karate I don't know what would have happened. This is just an example and proof that just because you’ve started a hobby it doesn't mean you're going to stick with it forever. It is however the trying new things and challenging yourself that enables you to see what you're actually capable of. These are the things that help you gain a greater understanding of yourself and headed in a positive direction.
    So what are you gonna give a try? Or what are you gonna get back to? How are you going to establish your routine what's gonna replace the things that you used to do? It’s not an easy question to answer but just give something a crack………..find the ways to fill in time……….try to solve a Rubik's Cube!!

    Like I said at the top………….hobbies are essential to creating a new routine………..to establishing a foundation of recovery for your recovery. If you’re not keeping busy and being productive it's pretty easy to drift off track and head downhill quickly. I'd love to hear your thoughts know what your hobbies might be.

    How are you gonna replace a life of substances and make it a life of substance?
    2 x
    Junior Member
    Posts: 6
    Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:43 am

    Re: Let's Talk: Hobbies and Recovery!

    Sat Aug 07, 2021 8:46 am

    Happy Saturday everyone!

    This subject is kind of timely for me. Well, I guess it's kind of timely for a lot of people at the moment seeing as we are confined to a limited space at the moment.

    I woke up one morning this week and the first thought in my brain was 'I have to make sober life better than my drinking life.' Rationally, I know it's true; if I take a step back and observe myself I can see that I function so much better when I am not drinking at all. When I do drink I can keep a handle on it for a little while, but it's a slippery slope. So many wasted weekends when I could have been doing something fun or productive.

    I had a stretch of sobriety for about 2 years a few years ago, and I took up crochet and started studying. The study helped me get back into the workforce and now thanks to that I have a really good job that I've managed to hold on to despite relapses. I've continued with the crochet sporadically and for the past couple of months I have been working on what I'm calling my "COVID blankie", which is a colourful throw in a really simple stitch that I'm struggling to get finished because I mostly struggle to get any projects finished. I'm great at starting them, terrible at finishing. I have told myself I can't start anything else until I have finished that. Because I want to have one thing that I can say "Hey, look what I did."

    I am studying again at the moment, so I guess that is a form of "hobby". Working full-time and supporting a family doesn't leave room for much else and if I'm honest, it had fallen a bit to the side over recent months. Due to busy-ness but, yes, also due to drinking. I'd have grand plans to do a couple of hours on a Saturday and Sunday but would feel a bit hungover and unmotivated on the Saturday and then the Sunday was spent catching up on housework and whatnot and it was just not getting done. But with lockdown in place and now working from home, I have a couple of extra hours in my day so this week I have been making a cup of tea early in the morning and doing half an hour of reading for my course. My aim is to try and get through the rest of one of the modules this weekend and get cracking on the assignments next week.

    I guess for now I will keep the crochet as my "creative" outlet. I do enjoy it when I sit down and focus and it's actually quite meditative as you have to really be in the moment. I have made some cool things in the past (it's not all nanna stuff!) and I have a few projects on my list I would like to start but - as I said - I'm banned until I've finished the blankie!!

    Love to hear what other people are up to!
    3 x
    Posts: 52
    Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:54 pm

    Re: Let's Talk: Hobbies and Recovery!

    Wed Sep 01, 2021 4:42 am

    Hobbies and recovery so important to keep yourself busy so you don’t find time craving anything. I have taken up diamond painting and I absolutely love it. It helps me to escape from the world and just get into what I’m doing. I’m a reader I also love to read so I’ll read self help books, anything that’s gonna help me learn something. Going for walks are good to, gets you in touch with the outside world and what not. Just try and find something you love doing and stick with it. You don’t need 100 hobbies, 1 is good if you love it enough, but having 100 hobbies is okay to
    2 x

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