Alcoholism and the Curse of Too Many Hobbies

My fellow recover-ers are doubtlessly familiar with “too many hobbies” syndrome. We wasted so much time drinking or using drugs that we feel like we need to play catch-up with everything that life has to offer. Finding my sense of purpose (and just things to do) has been a real struggle for me over the last year. How many activities are too much? At what point do I admit to myself that there’s too much on my plate and I need to drop a few things? Which do I drop? It’s agonizing.

My current medication regimen has made me slightly, er, manic. In the last four weeks, I’ve purchased a $700 DSLR camera, a $750 sampler (music instrument for those not into electronic music), and a plethora of other art supplies. I also decided that I was going to get into leather working and have a few tools for that but no leather yet.

Now, these are all things that I’ve had an interest in throughout my life. I’ve always wanted to learn photography, ever since I was a teenager. I couldn’t afford the equipment while drinking, of course, so now I am playing catch-up. Udemy offers several great courses on beginner photography which have already increased my skills exponentially! If I decide I need to get rid of some hobbies, photography will definitely be the one I’ll make sure to keep because it’s so applicable to daily life. Everybody likes seeing pictures or having their picture taken. Being good at it is a great way to spark conversations.

Music has also been a part of my life since I was 17. I was much more serious when I was younger and even released a couple of EPs back in the day. However, I need to check myself to make sure this isn’t just some mid-life crisis sort of thing. I’ve barely even used my Maschine Mk3 since I bought it; it’s sitting on my desk with a list of cleaning projects on top of it at the moment. While I do have an interest in making music again, I am being realistic with myself: I’m not going to be a world-renowned producer or a rock star or anything, this is purely for fun.

When I went on my trip up north I brought a huge pad of newsprint, a drawing board, and a pencil set I got ultra-cheap on Amazon. The idea was that I was going to sit out by the pond and sketch nature the way Thoreau would have done. I used one side of one piece of paper the whole time I was there, but part of me believes that’s because people just wouldn’t leave me alone.

Possibilities exist for me to fit all of these activities into a weekly routine; I need to get better at planning my whole week ahead of time instead of just one day each morning. It’s very difficult to track your long-term goals when you’re only plotting the afternoon. Video games are quickly becoming a thing of the past in my life; I still try desperately to play and enjoy them but I simply do not find them entertaining anymore. It is the actual definition of beating a dead horse at this point. It’s just such an ingrained part of my life that it’s difficult to let it go. Since a lot of my bad habits revolve around gaming, I think it’s definitely something that I should bite the bullet and get rid of.

So, I do have time. I could probably not take on another hobby but I think the ones I have right now are manageable. Leatherworking is the one I’d like to put into my #1 spot with photography a close second. I could actually supplement my income with leather projects once I get some skill at it. There’s a rather good leatherworker on Instagram who is helping me with tool choices and beginner projects so I am very grateful for that!