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Physical Activity, Staying Busy and Living Sober

Physical Activity, Staying Busy and Living Sober

Sober living during addiction recovery might include playing sports and exercising

Life after addiction is a special time to make decisions regarding your new style of life. Now that you are living drug-free, it is time to fill your schedule with rewarding activities while you continue maintaining your sobriety. The reason behind this is that idleness is a big risk factor for relapse.

For example, a person who began abusing drugs as a recreational activity or even because of depression or anxiety is at risk of using again if his sober living means staying home all day doing nothing. Also, living your life as you were living it before addiction recovery can leave you vulnerable to cues related to your past substance abuse that may trigger a craving. A publication found in the National Library of Medicine states the observations of several clinicians who have found that addicts in recovery who go back to their former environments, activities and atmospheres after treatment have a higher risk of relapse.

To counteract this problem, many people in recovery become involved in a physical sport or activity; involve themselves with new careers, hobbies or movements; and continue to maintain sobriety. Many believe and can testify that remaining busy while keeping stress levels low has greatly contributed to staying sober after rehab.

The Importance of Healthy Activities in Sober Living

Sober living during addiction recovery involves developing a schedule that includes physical activities and staying busy with a variety of other activities. For example:

  • Playing sports and exercising
  • Taking on a new hobby
  • Discovering a new career
  • Participation in social events
  • Community service
  • Attending support groups

One thing accomplished by any of these activities is that it fills time. As said before, idleness is an enemy of sober living. But filling time is just one of the many benefits.

It is a fact that a busy but relaxed schedule helps fight stress. A research paper published in the NLM explains how high levels of stress or chronic stress are important risk factors for addiction and addiction relapse. The researchers found that people who do not deal with stress in a healthy way are vulnerable to recurrent cravings and urges; this, in turn, may develop into relapse. However, people with productive lives during addiction recovery are usually content with their new lifestyle and are therefore less likely to become overly stressed.

Another benefit of planning a busy schedule with the purpose of staying sober after rehab is that addiction is a disease that robs patients from structure and a healthy social life. An addict might have been so lost in his habit that the structure in his life (job, family, friends, social relations, etc.) became impaired. However, including healthy activities can counteract this problem. For example, participation in a sports team or getting a job can create new friendships and social interactions that will be helpful in the effort of staying sober.

Interestingly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that addressing social problems as part of a tailored program of addiction treatment can increase the chances of sustained recovery for a patient and helps him make sober living a more realistic goal.

Another reason healthy activities in sober living are important is that it gives the addict in recovery a new appreciation for a drug-free life. An addict in addiction recovery who makes an effort to get a job and fill his schedule with enjoyable, healthy activities begins to see how being productive and sober brings much benefit not only to himself, but to everyone around him.

The best example to illustrate this benefit is considering how addiction impacts entire families. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration describes patterns and actions that create adverse consequences on the family structures of people who are addicted. One of those consequences is negativism. Negativism in the lines of communication is common in a household where an addict is present. According to research, this often affects the overall mood of all the family members and leads to ignoring positivism. This, in turn, reinforces patterns of substance abuse.

Thus, a person in addiction recovery who is now keeping a positive attitude due to productive activities can see how everyone shares that same attitude and the mood in the household improves. The addict develops an appreciation for this busy style of sober living and gains the determination to continue benefitting everyone with positive actions.

Another option for those who are struggling with life after recovery is opting to attend support groups. Support groups have been designed to encourage sober living through the giving and receiving of support from people with similar circumstances. Some rehab programs include support groups as part of their aftercare programs. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that there is a special benefit in health care professionals that help their patients find and encourage their participation in support groups.

Planning Sober Living for You or Someone You Care About

Sober living is all about planning and about receiving effective advice and support. Call our toll free substance abuse helpline to learn more. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can help you develop a plan to recover from addiction or mental health disorders, and offer information on programs such as intervention services, rehab facilities across the country, family counseling and much more. There is no cost for using our confidential information services and we’d be glad to be a part of your addiction recovery.

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