You’ve completed treatment and left your inpatient rehabilitation facility. You’re clean and eager to start a new chapter of recovery in your life…except this chapter has a lot of blank pages. How are you going to fill them? You can start by finding some new hobbies.

One of the biggest differences people notice after going through rehab is that they have more free time than they did when they were caught up in their addiction. That’s because often the hours were filled with using drugs or alcohol, figuring out how to procure those substances, or coming down from a high. One of the main signals that you have a substance use disorder is that you begin to shirk your normal responsibilities as your cravings become all-consuming—and that means you also give up the hobbies and activities you once enjoyed.

It’s important that, as you resume those normal duties associated with school, work, or relationships, you also find time for hobbies in your schedule. When you indulge in a leisure pursuit, it alleviates boredom—and when you are bored, you may be more susceptible to drug or alcohol cravings, leading you dangerously close to relapsing. Also, when you are doing something you enjoy, it gives you immense satisfaction and can bolster your self-esteem. Think about how it feels to create something, or fulfill a goal—the joy of accomplishment can feed your self-confidence and reinforce the idea that you don’t need drugs or alcohol to find fulfillment. And when hobbies make you feel this good, they reward the brain’s pleasure centers that used to be triggered by substance addiction. Finally, many hobbies can be done in a group setting, affording you the opportunity to develop rich social networks that can be integral to maintaining your sobriety while in recovery.

If you find yourself wondering what pastime to pursue, there are so many wonderful options out there. Think about the activities you used to enjoy, or the things that interested you when you were a child or in school. If you are taking up a new hobby, see what classes are available through your city’s library or parks and recreation department, as these are often affordable ways to learn something new. If you’re looking for some ideas, get started with this list. You just may find the thing that sparks passion and enriches your life in ways you couldn’t imagine.

Artistic Hobbies

Arts and crafts are an ideal form of self-expression. If you tried art therapy at your recovery facility, you know the benefits it can bring. Make sure to keep this a judgement-free zone: Don’t be critical of your work, but view it as a way to create and explore your emotions. You can try the fine arts, or make something more craftsy. Whatever it is, enjoy the process as much as the finished product.

Try: 

  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Soap making
  • Pottery throwing
  • Woodworking
  • Screenprinting
  • Candle making
  • Jewelry making
  • Scrapbooking

Outdoorsy Hobbies

Nature can be a balm to the soul, especially during recovery. It can be a time to commune with your higher power, or appreciate the beauty and wonder of our surroundings. Fresh air can also lift the spirits and lighten your mood, and it can also bring you renewed energy.

Try:

  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Birdwatching
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Horseback riding
  • Kayaking

Active Hobbies

The health benefits of exercise are well known, ranging from improved heart health to elevated mood. If you are in recovery, you should have a fitness regimen integrated into your daily schedule. It’s good for healing your body from the travails of addiction, and it soothes the mind as well. As an added bonus, team sports give you a way to connect with others and form new friendships.

Try:

  • Tennis
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Weight lifting
  • Golf
  • Any team sports
  • Yoga or tai chi
  • Group fitness classes

Home-Based Hobbies

Create a safe and inviting sanctuary in your home by giving it warm, unique touches. Every time you look at a blanket you knitted or enjoy a healthy meal that you cooked from scratch, you can take immense satisfaction from taking good care of yourself and making your home a safe space.

Try:

  • Cooking
  • Gardening
  • Baking
  • Knitting or crocheting
  • Sewing
  • Bread making

Volunteer Hobbies

These activities allow you to help others while you help yourself build a new life in recovery. Think about a cause you are passionate about, and find a local nonprofit organization that you can plug into. Again, these are hobbies where you can meet like-minded people who just may become your new friends. You will feel a growing sense of purpose, which can be very empowering.

Try:

  • Playing with animals at a shelter
  • Serving food at a soup kitchen
  • Participating in cleanups at local parks or beaches
  • Volunteering at a hospital
  • Tutoring literacy students at a library
  • Building homes for disadvantaged families

Educational Hobbies

With your mind clear from addiction, you have the mental stamina and capacity to try hobbies that present valuable learning opportunities. You will feel accomplishment, personal growth, and pride when you delve into hobbies that are mentally stimulating. Take a class in person or online to jump start your new activity and see how your world beautifully expands with the gift of knowledge.

Try:

  • Coding
  • Robotics
  • Genealogy
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Astronomy
  • Stamp or coin collecting
  • Model building

If you’re still grappling with addiction but dream of building a new, joy-filled life in recovery, contact Clear Sky Recovery. Our medically based ibogaine treatment program, which is individualized for each client, is an ideal way to launch yourself towards a successful life in recovery, filled with hobbies that excite you.