A question I always hated was, “what do you like to do for fun?” I felt like the question put me on the spot, and I often didn’t even know how to answer it. I’d just stare blankly at the person asking, wondering if they thought I was a bore or weird because I didn’t even know what my hobbies were.
This wasn’t just in my active addiction that this occurred, but it followed me into sobriety as well. I had spent many years being a chameleon, being whoever or whatever you wanted me to be, and so I just had no idea who I was or what I liked. If you like a certain band, I’d like them. If you liked a certain activity, I liked it too. It didn’t matter how I felt about these things. What mattered was that you liked me because if you didn’t like me, then I was nothing. So once I got sober, I still didn’t have an answer as to what I liked to do for fun, and in fact, it took a little time for me to figure this out.
I first had to understand who I was before I could genuinely answer this question. The act of being a chameleon in my addiction, coupled with the constant stuffing of thoughts and emotions through abusing substances, left me void of any true knowledge of myself. The only thing that I did know was that I felt terrible and I hated who I was, but that isn’t really a basis from which to get to know yourself. So I set off on the search for myself and in the process, I began to find out what I liked to do.
The first steps towards learning about what I liked to do came from working my Steps, in particular, my 4th and 5th Steps. Before these Steps, I just believed that I was an awful person, but after working on them I began to more accurately see myself. I began to see that, yes, I had done many hurtful things in my active addiction, but I wasn’t a bad person. I was actually a pretty good person, I had always been that way, but my addiction drove me to do things that were uncharacteristic of whom I was at my core. Learning this freed me from a lot of guilt, and I began to be able to stand being with myself, which allowed me to further get to know who I was.
Once I began to get to know myself, I was also given the confidence to have opinions again and try different things that I wouldn’t have tried otherwise. This is the way that I learned what I like to do for fun, by trying different things. When I was in my active addiction, I never did anything. For one, I never really had extra money to do things, but also, there was always the constant fear that I wouldn’t have access to my drugs or alcohol and so I just never did anything or went anywhere. Not so once I got sober. I was able to do anything that I wanted. Well, within reason.
Being in South Florida for the first two years of my sobriety gave me access to a number of things that I may not have tried if I was still in Virginia. For one, I learned that I really loved the beach. It became one of the things I enjoyed most about living down in Florida. I had access to the beach 12 months out of the year, and I took full advantage of it. Going along with this, I learned that in general, I just loved being outdoors. I enjoyed doing anything that required me to be outside in nature, whether fishing, horseback riding, or just going for a walk. Being outside just did something for my spirit that being trapped indoors never could and so I tried several different outdoor activities to see what I enjoyed.
I also learned that I loved art and yoga. They both brought me joy and so I tried to participate in activities involving them as often as I could. It was a great experience learning what I enjoyed doing and what was even better is that I no longer felt like I had to apologize for the things I liked. After being sober for a little bit, if someone asked me what I liked to do for fun, I was able to rattle off one of the things that I listed above without hesitation and without fear that they would judge me. Sobriety has given me the ability to be comfortable in my own skin, and because of this I can enjoy what I want to enjoy.
Sobriety has also allowed me to learn that what I most like to do for fun is be with my children. For the majority of their lives, I was not really able to be present. I was trapped in my addiction, and I couldn’t be the mother that I wanted to be. Now that I am sober, this is not the case, and I love spending time with them doing everything or nothing. Being with them is fun for me, and without getting sober this would have never been.
So while it may not seem like much to some people, going from staring blankly at the question, “what do you like to do for fun” to be able to answer it confidently is a big deal to me. Being lost is an awful feeling and so having an understanding of who I am and what I like and is worth so much to me. I wasn’t necessarily looking for this when I first got sober, but today I wouldn’t trade my newfound interests for anything in the world.