The end of addiction can mark the beginning of a new set of trials, especially for those who have been mired in addiction for years. It’s common that many aspects of that person’s life will be closely tied with whatever substance they were dependent on. Oftentimes, relationships, including friendships and ties with family members, can be associated with alcohol or substance abuse. Simple elements such as daily activities, which were previously set up around drug abuse, can be painful reminders of all the change a person is going through; it can add to the difficulty of starting fresh.
For any recovering addict, it’s important for new hobbies, routines, and even social crowds to be established to help promote the new way of sobriety and to ensure the best chance at achieving this long-term recovery. It can be extremely difficult at first. For example, a pack-a-day smoker who has smoked for even as little as a few years will discover just how often they smoked and how many activities were affected by it.
As many people smoke while driving, walking, reading, and doing many other activities, it can be hard just to shake off the feeling of the old habit.
When considering people and harmful activities, these activities and ‘friends’ often need to be completely cut off. Since there is likely no way to influence friends who are drug users to quit and clean up as well, it will be a losing battle to salvage the relationship. Often times the change in oneself will bring to light that you were in the wrong environment in the first place.
Although this process of eliminating bad influences can be very difficult and even depressing at first, it will be found a little later on that it was all for the better. Healthy and enjoyable hobbies should be taken up at this point.
Hobbies involving exercise (which are largely avoided by heavy drug users) are often the best stepping stone to begin finding enjoyment in hobbies that are actually beneficial to mental and physical health. Creative hobbies such as painting, photography, and writing have also been found to be therapeutic and helpful activities to turn over a new leaf.
The key to changing habits is to choose hobbies and activities that are healthy, productive, and enjoyable without the need for mind-altering substances. With little effort, it’s common that new friendships will spawn on their own with increased activity in these healthy hobbies. Similar to when a person is heavily addicted to a substance where they abuse with friends who enjoy the same thing. Once a person begins embracing healthy alternatives, they will find others who follow the same path and can provide a good influence on their new lifestyle.
While old friends may eventually decide to clean up as well, it is still not recommended for recovered addicts to fall back into a steady friendship with these people, whether they are continuously sober or not. The impact that an addiction to drugs has on the mind is very powerful. Triggers for memories and urges to do the drugs again can last a very long time; many even say they last a lifetime. Any social activity with a previous friend with which a person abused drugs is likely to greatly catalyze triggers and urges to relapse into drug abuse once again. Persistence with a clear mind can help you readjust to better hobbies, and you will find yourself in a much more enjoyable lifestyle.