Keep Yourself Busy to Keep Yourself Sober

Sober |

One of the biggest obstacles to sobriety is free time. If you’ve got time on your hands then you’re likely going to ruminate, dream, imagine, and perhaps long for an old way of life. If you’ve got free time in your day then you might begin to think about your life while experiencing good and bad memories of an old lifestyle.

You might have feelings and thoughts that could lead to cravings. And if you’ve got time on your hands, especially if you’re alone, what’s going to stop you from following those cravings and drinking or using again?

Staying Busy

Having free time is a common situation that precedes relapse. However, you can prevent that if you can keep yourself busy. In fact, a common way to prevent relapse is to establish a routine. Having a daily routine provides structure, stability, and safety.

Having structure, stability, and safety are sure ways to maintain your sobriety. A daily routine might include preparing for the day, work, volunteer, family time, time for self care, attendance to a 12-step meeting, preparing for bed. These activities can be structured so that you know what you’re doing at given times in the day and you don’t have to think about it.

Have a Routine

A routine also ensures that your mind is on the task at hand. If you’re working, then your attention is required there. If you’re spending time with family, then your thoughts and feelings are necessary for the relationship to continue to grow. Staying busy requires that your attention is stays anchored on the activities you’re involved in.

Keep Your Cravings at Bay

  • Exercise.
  • Sober Living | LakehouseRecoveryCenter.comWatch a movie.
  • Listen to new music (not songs that remind you of your using/drinking days).
  • Get creative.
  • Start writing in your journal.
  • Play a game.
  • Take a shower.
  • Call someone you love and tell them you love them. Talk for awhile.
  • Connect with your higher power through prayer or meditation.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Go for a hike.
  • Surf the Internet for sobriety sites and find some inspiration.
  • Engage your intellectual mind through reading or writing.
  • Go dancing with friends.
  • Attend an event offered by a sober living community.
  • Challenge yourself to learn a craft or skill you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t, like playing the guitar.
  • Dive into your work life and let your achievements there motivate you.
  • Sober Living | LakehouseRecoveryCenter.comPractice running for a marathon and then find one to participate in.
  • Plan a romantic (alcohol and drug free) evening with your partner.
  • Take your children out for the afternoon.
  • Read a good novel.
  • Write a letter to a friend.
  • Make a list of all the things you want to do achieve in your life.
  • Create a list of all the wonderful things you’d like to do – visit France, go skydiving, or become a public speaker.
  • Volunteer at a local public service agency.
  • Get a part-time job.
  • Become a mentor.


Of course, you might want to make a list yourself. You might begin by writing down the activities you enjoy, perhaps activities that you used to do and want to enjoy again. You might also let this list inspire you.

And you might also talk to other recovering addicts to find out how they keep their mind on sobriety and not on their wishes for returning to an old life. Getting sober was hard, but short. Staying sober is also difficult but it’s going to require your long-term commitment. And staying busy is one way to stay committed to your recovery.


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