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    What Works for You

    I was always told that finding the motivation (willingness) to get clean and sober is the easy part; the hard part is staying sober. It certainly took me a long time to dredge up the willingness to get clean, but I just may agree with that statement that staying sober is more challenging. My current life is challenging, but my child keeps me so occupied that I don’t generally have much time to think about how hard it is or to get bored. The time in my life when I first got sober was definitely the hardest. A lot of people can give helpful tools on how to get sober and stay sober, but not everything works for everyone. The sober recovery journey is a very personal one, and you have to find what works for you. Here are some suggestions:

    Meetings, Meetings, Meetings!

    I definitely believe that going to addiction recovery meetings as part of your addiction treatment is extremely important. Not only going to meetings, but sharing at meetings is vital to your sobriety. It’s important to get whatever is troubling you off your chest with people who are going through the same things and willing to listen. The mistake I made the first time I tried to get sober, was overdoing the recovery meetings. I went to meetings all day, every day. When I woke up, I went and sat at the club that held A.A. meetings all day until I had to go to work. Not only did I burn myself out on meetings, but I started losing my mind from boredom. Though some people enjoy hanging out in the club all day, if you feel yourself getting bored, why not call a friend from the club to meet you somewhere else for coffee instead? It will save you from burning yourself out and not wanting to go to a meeting.

    Exercising

    Okay, let me be clear: finding the energy and time to exercise can be harder than the actual task of exercising. I’m usually too tired or cannot find an extra half hour during my morning to work out, but I try. A simple rule of thumb I like to live by is: it is always possible to find a few minutes of each day to exercise.  When I was using, I always found the time to get money or go out of my way to get my next fix. So, is thirty minutes of exercise truly that hard to find during your day now that you’re sober? Working out can transform your body and help you heal, release endorphins and serotonin to help keep your mood up, and helps keep your mind occupied on something besides the everyday routine of life.

    Creative Arts

    For some reason, I thought that when I stopped smoking weed or using drugs that all of my creativity would go out the window with it. I related the two, which is strange, because this has proved not to be the case. If you feel like watching T.V., or exercise isn’t your style, do whatever activity works for you. Sometimes doing something creative can relax you and become a form of “art therapy.” What kind of creative project interests you? Take up drawing or painting. There are many community centers or creative arts facilities that offer classes or courses for people, even if they aren’t necessarily full-time students. Craigslist even has a community link on their main page that shows some of the things going on in your area. Anything that you might have a slight interest in is definitely worth checking out. When we were actively using drugs and alcohol, we spent so much time focused on getting high or drunk that we forgot about the hobbies or crafts that we excel in. Now that we’re sober, it’s time to explore those more.

    Sports

    Unfortunately this is not my area of expertise, as I was extremely non-athletic in school. This tendency, of course, has carried on into my adult life. The good thing about sports is that they can remain hobbies! You don’t have to worry about being good at them because you’re not going to develop a career in sports. If you’re good, by all means, pursue your dreams, but if you’re not, it’s okay to just shoot some hoops in your driveway or hit a few golf balls at the driving range. In fact, the club where I attended A.A at in my hometown had its own softball team! They would play some of the other A.A clubs and local teams. Mind you, I was terrible, but the group atmosphere and positive aura throughout the practices and games was great for my sobriety!

    Freelance Work

    Freelance work can bring so much positivity and joy to your life, even if it is just work. Freelance work can be consistent with scoping out Craigslist ads for side jobs or even searching the Internet. Be wary of scams, of course, but in your free time, why not check out some freelance work that can bring you a small, extra income as well? When I was active in my addiction, my writing went on the back burner, but it was something I loved doing. When I got sober, I wound up being at home with my daughter, so getting a job away from home wasn’t something that was going to be easy for me. Luckily, the Internet has a surplus of websites where you can find work-at-home opportunities. Websites like Elance.com or Guru.com offer freelance work to illustrators, writers, data entry specialists, and more.

    If you need other ideas for activities that will keep you busy and motivated during your sobriety, talk to other recovering addicts. The tools and guidance your sponsor and fellowship can offer you is exceptionally important and is something to look into, but it may not necessarily be something that interests you. Make sure that you are taking in all of the information you receive, but also keeping your own interests in mind. This is important because boredom can suck you in faster than you think. Reflect on some of the positive hobbies you used to partake in and try to bring them back into your life.

     

    Cassandra Huerta is a freelance writer who lives in an extremely small Michigan town and lives life one day at a time. She enjoys regularly entertaining her six-month-old daughter and can thank her wonderful fiance and coffee for all of her work.


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