While someone is addicted to alcohol or drugs, much of their time and energy is spent thinking about, planning or being intoxicated. When they finally become sober they may suddenly find themselves with hours of free time and not know what to do with it.
They may also have dealt with depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-pity throughout their addiction. Because of these different factors, someone in recovery may experience feelings of uselessness that can endanger their sobriety.
They need to find new ways to spend their time and begin to feel that they have value. These are some ways people can fight their feelings of uselessness during treatment.
1. Look for New Hobbies
With more free time and many hours to fill, it is important for people to find new hobbies in recovery. Boredom can lead to cravings which could be dangerous for their goals of remaining sober. Recovery is a time to explore new activities and find something that makes you feel fulfilled and engaged.
2. Communicate with Peers
Staying connected with the other people in your recovery program is an essential part of treatment. You can talk with someone who might be experiencing the same feelings of uselessness and find solutions together. Loneliness leads to emptiness but being connected can make you feel valuable in someone's life.
3. Discuss Feelings with Your Therapist
If you are feeling worthless and don't know what to do be open and talk about these feelings with your counselor. They can provide some advice and guidance when you are unsure how to resolve your emotions.
4. Stay Busy
Many recovery programs create a busy schedule for their patients because having nothing to do can contribute to feelings of uselessness. Make a list every day of things you need to get done and don't spend too much time being idle.
5. Attend Support Groups
Going to twelve step meetings every day can not only be a way to keep your schedule full, it can be an experience that helps you stay connected to your goals of being sober and it also gives you a feeling of purpose. Your participation in a group meeting can help you feel valuable.
6. Find a Spiritual Practice
At times, spirituality can help combat feelings of uselessness and recovery is a good time for addicts to find their own spiritual practice. It does not have to be any specific religion but simply something that makes you feel more in touch with a higher power and your role in the world.
7. Volunteer Your Time
Helping other people is one of the best ways to fight feelings of uselessness. You can provide a service to someone in need and experience the joy of giving and being selfless. You might look for volunteer work like feeding the homeless or doing a beach clean-up. Do something that you feel passionate about and you will feel that you have something meaningful to contribute in your life.
8. Work with Other Addicts
If you are a member of a twelve step group you might find it fulfilling to work with other addicts and become a sponsor. When you help other people in the early days of their addiction you remain steady in your own sobriety because you know that they rely on you. You will not feel useless when you are helping someone struggling with a problem you know so well.
9. Plan Group Activities
In your new sober life you will have to find different ways to have fun with your friends that don't involve drugs or alcohol. If you are feeling down or useless, plan a fun group activity that everyone can enjoy.
10. Make a Routine and Stick with It
If you already have most of your days planned out and you come up with a set routine there will be less time to feel bored or useless. Create a routine for your work week and the weekend so that you have less free time to fill and you know what you are doing every day.