recovering addict

New Diversions: 9 Unique Hobbies for Recovering Addicts

When you’re first getting sober it may seem like you have a lot of free time on your hands. Since boredom is a trigger for recovering addicts, it’s important that you find new hobbies that are fun and distracting to fill all those empty hours.

Luckily, we’ve got some great suggestions for hobbies that recovering addicts can pick up to battle boredom and fill the time that used to be spent drinking and using. 

1. Try Martial Arts

Most addicts and alcoholics are all too familiar with anger. That’s where martial arts can save the day. Martial arts provide a healthy way to channel your anger and all your other difficult emotions. They also teach discipline, something that recovering addicts desperately need. Karate, boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai are all great sober hobbies to try!

2. Take a Writing Class 

Writing can also be an invaluable outlet for difficult feelings that threaten early sobriety. It can also be a great way to process the things that happened while drinking and using. Finding a creative writing class can get you motivated to put pen to paper, and it’s a great way to meet new people. 

3. Opt Outside

Many recovering addicts find that being in nature is a great way to connect to their newfound spirituality and a fun way to fill the idle hours. Going for a hike, climbing a mountain, going rock climbing, swimming, boating, and even playing outdoor sports are all great sober hobbies.

Best of all, these activities can be done solo when you need some alone time or with other recovering addicts when you’re looking to battle the loneliness that often accompanies early sobriety.

4. Volunteer

Most programs of recovery focus heavily on being of service, the idea being that if recovering addicts are helping someone else they are improving their own recovery. Volunteering is an awesome way to get in service that isn’t related to recovery.

Volunteer opportunities vary greatly and can incorporate things that you’re passionate about. Like if you love animals, volunteer at a shelter or if you love kids, try volunteering at an after-school program or your local Boys and Girls club. No matter what your passion is, you can find a volunteer opportunity that fits. 

5. Give Yoga a Try

Yoga may not seem like your thing, but many people in recovery find it enriches their sobriety in ways they didn’t expect. Makes sense since yoga focuses on both movement and meditation, which experts agree are both components of healthy sober living. When it comes to recovery hobbies, yoga is one of the best.

Remember, that there are multiple styles of yoga, so if you try a class and hate it, be sure to try another style before giving up altogether. 

6. Make Your Stage Debut

During the difficult time of early recovery, you might be looking for a way to escape. Instead of escaping into a drink or a drug, try escaping into a character. The beauty of acting is that it allows us to be someone else for a little bit, which is often very appealing to newly sober addicts who aren’t too comfortable with who they are. Find a community theater program in your area and throw yourself into preparing an audition. 

If being on stage isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean theater isn’t the sober hobby for you. Try being on the crew that builds the sets or helps out behind the scenes.

7. Get Visual

Finding ways to express yourself is essential in early recovery. If you’re more visual than verbal, expressing yourself through visual arts can be very therapeutic. 

You could try some painting or drawing, either by yourself or by taking a class. Most local recreation centers, schools, and community centers offer classes in painting at some point during the year. If you live in a college town you could even ask about auditing a class.

If painting or drawing doesn’t seem appealing grab a camera, or maybe just your phone, and see what you can capture from behind the lens. If you’re computer savvy you could even experiment with photo manipulation or graphic design.

When you’re creating something yourself it gives you a sense of competency and accomplishment, which is important in early sobriety, especially because you might not feel like you’re good at anything during this difficult time.

8. Keep Your Hands Busy… With Some Yarn

When you think of knitting or crocheting, you probably think of your Grandma. Knitting and crocheting may not seem like a particularly cool hobby to take up in early recovery, but it’s definitely worth giving a shot!

With all the anxiety that early sobriety can cause, you may find your hands are particularly fidgety, and you may not feel comfortable unless you’re doing something with your hands. To keep those hands busy, grab some yarn and needles or a hook, and get to creating! Knitting and crocheting can be very relaxing, and you’ll feel so accomplished when you have a finished blanket or hat or scarf to show off to all your friends.

9. Heat Things up… In the Kitchen

Cooking may be the last thing you want to do in early recovery, especially if you’ve never really learned to cook. Many addicts haven’t had a good home cooked meal in years, so learning how to prepare a nutritious, filling meal for themselves is a powerful form of self-care, and self-care is a must in early sobriety. 

Your local community center may provide cooking classes, which can help if you’re totally lost in the kitchen. But you can also teach yourself to cook by watching videos on YouTube. Another great option is to invest in a few weeks worth of a meal delivery kit. These send you all the ingredients you need and step by step instructions for how to prepare the restaurant class meals.

Once you’ve got the basics down you can venture out on your own. Your body and mind will feel so much better once you’re properly fueling yourself.

The Bottom Line: New Hobbies Help Recovering Addicts Stay Sober

Early sobriety is a difficult time for addicts who want to stay sober. The work you’re doing in your recovery program is difficult and you’ll likely want a distraction. Boredom will creep in as the hours you used to spend drinking are now free.

This is why it’s incredibly important for recovering addicts to find new hobbies when they’re first getting sober. Hobbies provide a distraction from the discomfort of early recovery, something fun to fill the time, and often can be a pathway to new friendships and community.

If you’re an addict in early recovery, try some of these hobbies to help you stay on track. If you’re looking for other ideas about how to stay sober, check out our blog, where our experts share about the essentials to staying sober.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.