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Finding Healthy Outlets in Recovery

Finding Healthy Outlets in Recovery

Recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction is a long, complicated process that involves many life changes. A person in recovery will find themselves faced with a variety of obstacles in their long journey. One of the most challenging obstacles is finding a healthy way to deal with the powerful emotions that arise during recovery. These can include guilt, rage, sadness, temptation, and others that are too difficult to even put into words.

Finding the right kind of healthy outlet in recovery will make all the difference. Whether it’s art therapy, sports, volunteering, or simply devoting more time to your hobbies, a healthy outlet will help direct energy into something that is good for you and even productive. The following is a guide to some of most common choices for creative outlets that may help you decide which would be appropriate for you.

Art Therapy

There’s no denying the therapeutic qualities of making art. Art therapy can be an extremely useful tool for someone struggling with their emotions during recovery. Art therapy can take the form of painting, drawing, sculpture, or any medium that suits your needs. A person in recovery can choose to enroll in art therapy sessions, or devote time to the pursuit of their own creative outlets. Art therapy sessions are great for experiencing guided art projects that are specifically designed to help deal with difficult emotions. Many in recovery find a healthy outlet in pursuing their creative passions. These can take the form of music, writing, acting, or the visual arts. These pursuits are a valuable and healthy aid to recovery as long as they continue to support your journey, rather than hinder it.

Sports and Exercise

Physical activity is a great way to deal with difficult emotions like stress and burn some calories in the process. Many people in recovery say that exercising or playing sports has been a great way to help them feel better about themselves during difficult times. Exercise like running, yoga, and Zumba are great ways to relax the mind and body. Spending too much time in your head can be unhealthy and physical activity helps to get you back in touch with your body. Exercise helps you get in touch with the mind body connection and focus energy and concentration. It’s important to be aware of how much time you devote to sports or exercise, as it can often turn into an addiction in itself.


Helping others is a great way to develop compassion in yourself and to feel that your actions have value and can make a difference. These are two very important qualities to foster during the recovery process and volunteering can help develop both. Extending a helping hand is part of the 12 step program as well. Those in recovery choose to volunteer their time to a cause that speaks to them. Often, it’s devoting time to others who are struggling with addiction. In other cases individuals choose a cause that they have a personal connection to, such as animal rights, environmental organizations, or children in need.


It’s a good idea to stay in touch with personal hobbies that have provided happiness and enjoyment during your life. This can include anything from horseback riding to pottery to playing music with a band. If you’ve always wanted to take up a certain activity, now could be a good time to finally give it a shot. The thrill of learning something new and putting it to good use in your life is a way to foster feelings of self esteem and value.