Recreation and Focus in Recovery

Recreation and Focus in Recovery

Addiction can affect every aspect of an individual’s life. It can leave a person feeling isolated in their disease, and its effects will often inform many of their actions throughout the day. One’s emotional state, professional performance and even how they spend their leisure time can all be influenced by the use of drugs or alcohol. 

Addiction affects one’s body just as much as their mind, influencing their choice of activities and how they spend their energy. To address the complex effects of addiction, it is essential to create a recovery program that can simultaneously treat the mind and body. Trying new hobbies or coping mechanisms that utilize recreation for the mind and body can further focus one’s energy through the recovery process. 

Benefits of Keeping the Body and Mind Active

Addiction and the urges that it causes can take hold of either a mind or body at rest. It is vital to keep both aspects active to help prevent relapse from setting in through one’s journey to sobriety. Keeping busy at all hours of the day may not be feasible; it may be more beneficial to engage in activities or communities that require a person to expend as much excess energy as possible in a healthy and productive way. Pent-up mental or physical energy can cause one to seek some kind of stimuli. For those in recovery, it is possible that the brain may still default to filling this space by reengaging with drugs or alcohol and increasing the chance for a relapse. 

The mental and physical self work in tandem through the recovery process. Exercising only one may still leave a person vulnerable to relapse on the other front. Those who enjoy media therapy or reading as a significant part of their recovery are encouraged to continue to pursue these venues. However, they may also benefit from having a physical outlet, such as going for a walk, bike ride, yoga, or even establishing an indoor workout routine in one’s living room. 

Similarly, it is important that a person stimulates their minds just as often as their bodies. Those who work highly physical, repetitive jobs may benefit from supplementing their day with mentally challenging activities, such as critical thinking problems. They may also explore media therapy for challenges on character analysis or dissecting thematic elements pertinent to their own recovery story. 

Creating Hobbies that Accomplish Both

Many therapeutic approaches utilize one’s body and mind simultaneously to create the best possible result. These activities incorporate a physical element and provide goals or challenges along the way to give the mind something to focus on, improve on and ultimately overcome. Sports can be an excellent therapeutic exercise that incorporates a lot of mental and physical energy. 

For example, in tennis, there is the obvious component of running to reach the tennis ball, swinging a racket, and sprinting across the baseline. However, much of the therapeutic benefit can be seen in just serving the tennis ball once. To serve, a person first has to be moving their entire body consciously, transferring strength and energy from the ground, through their feet, legs, and up into their arms as they swing to hit a ball that is overhead. The mind has to pay attention to the form of the body, but it also targets a very specific section of the court, giving a clear goal and thinking of serving strategies. Do I want to serve wide or towards the middle? Fast or slow? What kind of spin will give me the edge against this opponent? Body and mind are working together to create a whole picture and operating entirely without leaving gaps for drugs or alcohol to invade one’s thoughts.  

Find an Option That Works for You

Sports are just one example that utilizes recreation to focus the body and mind. Music therapy, such as playing an instrument and dance, can get both mind and body involved. Yoga, creating art and even animal-assisted therapies can all provide this kind of approach and its benefits. These approaches are less about trying to find a way to distract oneself from an urge than fulfilling physical and mental needs that a person may have to help alleviate cravings before they even surface. 

While engaging in sports doesn’t mean a person will never feel the urge to re-engage with drugs or alcohol, it can provide a holistic escape that can lead the body to believe that it doesn’t need substances, during that game, or even just during that serve. Convincing the mind and body that it doesn’t need drugs or alcohol, even for a minute, is proof that a person is growing towards the change they want to make, and moving towards a healthy, sober lifestyle. The aim is to take the focus off drugs or alcohol, with all of one’s being, and refill that space with new practices that fulfill each individual’s mental and physical needs. 


Finding a focus for both body and mind is important through the recovery process. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorders and are ready to take the first step towards finding your path in recovery, Brighton Recovery Center can help you today. We offer services from detox and sober living to partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, allowing us to help you at any stage of your recovery process. Our varied approach to recovery also allows you to personalize your time with us, and find the best route for your continued sobriety. Our on-campus gym, yoga studio, coffee shop, and more create a helpful atmosphere of community and fellowship, all focusing on maintaining sobriety and expanding the opportunities of your sober life. We offer a number of unique approaches, including meditation, art, and movement therapy to help you keep your mind and body active throughout your journey. For more information on how we can personalize a program for you, or to talk to a caring, trained professional about your unique situation, call us today at (844) 479-7035.

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