Early stages of recovery

Finding a healthy hobby during early stages of recovery

During the early stages of recovery, it is beneficial for addicts to find activities that are healthy and add meaning to their lives. Any hobby that gives you enjoyment and that can take up a certain amount of time each day can serve as a “positive addiction”.

Research has shown that activities like gardening, painting, listening and playing music, and writing (journaling, poetry writing, literary writing) have all served as positive addictions. We’ll look at each one of these briefly:

Gardening can increase self esteem by enabling you to care for and nurture a living thing.  It can reinforce and evoke positive emotions through growing, harvesting, and experiencing the growth of plants.  Gardening can allow for an escape into an activity that promotes life while combining creativity and hard work (if you think gardening is easy, you’ve obviously never tried it!).

Music therapy has also been shown to have a number of positive effects on drug users.  Analyzing lyrics and sharing songs enables people to express their feelings and thoughts in a positive way.  In one particular study, relaxing music shortened the time it took subjects to fall asleep and improved mood on the following day. 

Similarly, poetry and writing are pathways to feelings.  Poetry therapy enables people to overcome obstacles and painful memories by writing and using words to express their feelings.

Lastly, painting is another leisurely activity that has been shown to improve depression and anxiety by inspiring creativity and individuality.  People can clear an open space in their mind by focusing on their art. While few of us will ever reach the levels of artistic geniuses like Picasso, Van Gough, and Rodin, the physical and emotional benefits of creating the art itself are worth at least as much as the critical acclaim.

Please stay tuned next week for physical activities and hobbies that can elevate mood and help the recovering addict :)

        -Katie McGrath, M.S.




© 2016 Counseling Center for Sexual Health. All Rights Reserved