For those in early sobriety, free time can be both a blessing and a curse. Free time in early recovery can be a blessing because you now have an opportunity to do all the things you have been wanting to for sometime now. However, this same time can also be challenging. Having too much unstructured free time in early recovery leaves you with lots of opportunities to be bored and revert back to old destructive habits and relationships. Making your free time work for you is essential to staying sober in early sobriety. Here are some ways to deal with free time in early sobriety:
How Do I Spend My Free Time In Early Recovery?
It is most likely that you will have free time on your hands in early recovery. This newfound time might seem like a dream come true, but it can also be the hardest part of recovery. Spending time sober can feel isolating and terrifying at first. Addicts are used to filling their days with all the activities required to maintain an addiction. These activities can take up every waking minute. Once these activities are gone, what do you do with that time?
In early sobriety, you’re learning how to live again without all the substances you needed to cope. Giving up drinking is only half the battle. Some say that is the easiest part. Staying sober and living life sober is the hard part.
Once the the initial excitement wears off (called the pink cloud), and you have settled into living sober, free time can feel like a burden that you don’t know what to do with. Especially if your addiction caused you to become unemployed, what do you do with all those hours you have to kill when everyone else is at work. The solution to this free time based on prior habits, may be to relapse and abuse drugs and alcohol. This is where the struggle lies. Here are some tips to keep you on track during those lonely days of early sobriety…
Go to meetings
In rehab, you should have been introduced to meetings. If so, then either pursue those same meetings, or look up your local AA directory to see where and when the meetings are in your area. This is key. There are normally AA meetings all throughout the day in most areas. Start going to meetings as regularly as you can. Getting involved in an AA group will help keep you accountable to your sobriety, and it’ll give you a sense of community as you learn to navigate early sobriety. You can also use these meetings to keep your schedule full as you transition out of treatment.
Exercise has many benefits for your mental health, including reducing anxiety, increasing self-esteem, and improving your mood. Exercising regularly has been shown to improve your overall mental health, even more than antidepressants in some cases. If you aren’t in a position to join a gym but want to exercise, there are lots of free options available. You can go for a long walk, take a hike, or even do yoga at home. San Diego provides an amazing year-round environment where you can not only get your exercise, but do some in some of the most beautiful places on the Earth.
Stay connected to your support network
Early sobriety is a great time to stay connected to those who have supported you through treatment. If you found a sponsor in treatment, but you don’t live near treatment, you may want to find a new one at a meeting closer to you. Don’t make things harder than necessary. You can still call your other sponsor, but you need a sponsor at your local meeting who can see you face to face. 12-step meetings and other support groups not only help you build a social support system, but research shows that they are likely to keep you sober over the long-term as well.
Helping others is a great way to feel good about yourself, as well as keep your mind off your own problems and cravings. The secret to any 12 step program is the emphasis on helping others once you have completed the steps. This is the “secret sauce.” We take our selfishness and self-centeredness from our addiction and turn it outward to focus on others. If you’re not sure where you’d like to volunteer, try connecting with a homeless outreach in your area or volunteer at a local church. You can also try reaching out to a friend or family member in need of help. However, be careful that you do not try to help other addicts by yourself while in early sobriety. You may not be strong enough and might be tempted to join them in their misery.
Stay Active in Recovery at San Diego Sober Living
Another way to keep busy and keep from getting bored is to move into a sober living home. San Diego Sober Living is a structured sober living for women located in San Diego Sober Living. While living in our sober house, you’ll have a highly scheduled routine, ensuring you don’t stray far from recovery. Every moment of the day will be devoted to building a new life, developing new habits, new skills, and new relationships. Not only will you build a sober life for yourself that you actually value, but you’ll learn build a recovery community and learn how to have fun in sobriety without drugs and alcohol along the way.
Early sobriety provides so many challenges. Your goal should be to reduce or mitigate as many of these challenges as possible in order to best set yourself up for permanent sobriety. San Diego Sober Living can help you with your early recovery. Call us today. We can help because we have been there.