Advice columnist Carolyn Hax publishes advice and suggestions from readers when she goes on vacation and one reader who attended Alcoholics Anonymous as part of addiction recovery, wrote in to advise other readers on one way to really get the most out of life. His advice was not just aimed at people who were working on overcoming addictions, but it is a testament to the way one man turned his life around.
“Sometime in early sobriety I concluded that I could do anything — or I could drink. You know, alcoholics and addicts spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on barstools talking about what they are “going to do someday.” In those early days I was busting with energy…and needed to do more than sit in AA and talk. The energy was both physical and mental.
So I ran, went back to the gym, swam, focused on my work, came to terms with a bad marriage, etc. And decided to actually engage in some of those pursuits I thought about.”
The man decided that instead of a bucket list (as list of things one wants to do before one dies that is often composed by people who think death is near), he would make a life list. He set out to learn something new each year and to do the things he once just talking about while was still addicted to alcohol.
He also encourages those he mentors in Alcoholics Anonymous to also try to do something new each year–and it can be anything. His list and the lists of those he has met don’t just include daredevil things like jumping out of planes. One woman went to college when she thought she was too old. The man who wrote in to the column has ridden camels, gotten a second master’s degree and learned to sail.
Engaging in new interests and hobbies is one way that that people who are transitioning back into daily life after time in a drug and alcohol rehab center can gain confidence and turn away from their former life.