Addiction can take up your life, taking over your hobbies, replacing your friends, and causing you to lose interest in things you enjoyed. That process often means that by the time you move into recovery, you’ll have large gaps in your day-to-day life. You might struggle to know what to do, you might get bored, and you might miss being passionate or being able to focus on something.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to just create something to be passionate about. In most cases, finding new hobbies, new passions, and new things to enjoy doing requires chance and trying different things. At the same time, you have some idea of what you like.
In addition, it’s not a good idea to let something take over your life. One of the reasons that people are recommended to avoid relationships for the first year of recovery is that you want your main focus to be yourself. Your habits, your behavior, and your routines should always be your main focus. With that in mind, you probably shouldn’t start obsessing over video games or an art project anytime soon after recovery because you do want to have energy and focus for yourself.
At the same time, finding new hobbies is an important part of rebuilding your life.
Chances are, you have a long list of old hobbies that you used to do or to enjoy. Whether that’s sports you played in school, musical instruments, crafts, or a number of other things doesn’t matter. Trying out things you used to love can be a good way to rediscover old passions.
Of course, this might backfire if you’re frustrated about having lost skill or progress. You might also have gotten bored with them. But, if you had things you used to love, getting back into them is a great way to be able to do something without having to cover a massive skills gap of learning the basics.
There’s no way to point a finger and decide that you will like something and be passionate about it. However, you can try new things and see how they make you feel. Here, it’s important to keep in mind that if you’re trying new things, you’ll have to give them time while you overcome knowledge and skills gaps.
At the same time, taking courses and classes, trying out different things, and adding to the number of things you have tried is always a good thing. One way to do this is to decide how much time you have in a week to try things and then actively spend time on those things.
Here, physical activities like sports, dancing, or hiking are great choices. These allow you to multitask with your exercise goals, helping you to stay mentally happy and healthy for your recovery. But, painting, music, writing, and even theater can all be great hobbies that you can be passionate about as well.
Most importantly, if you try something new, you should stick to it for a bit. If you pick up dance, commit to doing so for 6 weeks or more. The same should apply to pottery, a musical instrument, or something similar. You’re not going to have a great experience with a new thing the first few times, so you should give yourself time to decide if you like the aspect of learning, the physical challenge, etc.
Any part of yourself and your life can be as much a passion project as any hobby. That can be your career, your home, or your habits. You might invest into your family, learning new things for work, or investing in getting a dream job. All of that can take time and can require significant effort and passion, and it will have visible results.
For example, you might renovate your home. Repainting, redecorating, and making a space your own for the person you want to be now can be a great way to set the tone for yourself that you’re focusing on living well. And, it will take up a large amount of your time for a while.
Taking time to assess where you want to be with your career in five years and working out steps you can take to get there can also become a passion project. For example, if you want to move into a different career, you’ll have to focus on and invest in yourself almost every day until you get there. Of course, you shouldn’t do anything radical like starting a business or taking up training to be an addiction counselor until you’re at least a year into recovery. Making impulsive decisions with your life is bad for you. But, you can make a plan based on where you want to be, discuss it with your psychiatrist, and then making plans accordingly.
It’s important that you give yourself space to explore hobbies and opportunities without pressuring yourself to become involved in something. For many people, it can take months to even be capable of feeling passionate about many things. That’s because addiction results in a process known as emotional blunting, where your brain simply isn’t producing enough serotonin and dopamine to allow you to feel passionately about most things. That’s another reason why you’re recommended to avoid relationships in early recovery – you could be feeling so little of everything else that a large oxytocin rush from being in love can be overwhelming.
But, being patient with yourself, taking the time and freedom to explore things without expectation, and having the freedom to continue to do things when you’re interested in them and want them to stay in your life. Most importantly, if you go into things without pressure or expectations, you might find that you end up being passionate about things you weren’t expecting. For example, you might end up being passionate about a new group of friends, you might figure out you really like to teach, or you might go try playing tuba and end up collecting tubas. Interests are varied, things will catch yours as they happen, not when you go looking for them.
Eventually, finding new things to be passionate about may take time. You might struggle to find things you like. Sometimes that will be because you aren’t far enough into recovery to enjoy them yet. In other cases, it just means they don’t click with who you are now. Taking your time, exploring options, and keeping expectations low is the best approach you can take.
Asana Recovery offers detox, residential, and outpatient addiction treatment services at our center located in Orange County, California. Please contact us today to speak with one of our experienced addiction treatment team if you have any questions about our programs.