Last updated: 05/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
When you’re addicted to drugs and alcohol, your whole life suffers. Your mental health, your relationships, your career, and your body are all impacted by your use. And one of the often overlooked areas that declines as addiction grows is nutrition.
See, when you’re addicted, your focus is often on getting more drugs or getting drunk, not on eating right and getting a wide variety of fruits of vegetables. Add in the fact that people don’t tend to eat well when they’re high or drunk. That means the majority of people who are addicted are also malnourished.
But cooking in recovery does more than just get your body the nutrition it needs, it aids your recovery in a variety of ways as well. Here are just a few.
Gives You Something to Do
Boredom is one of the most dangerous things to someone in recovery, especially in the beginning, but when you start spending time in the kitchen, cooking up lunches and dinners, the boredom melts away. And once your passion for cooking sparks, the things you can do with it are endless. You can:
- Volunteer cooking at shelters
- Take cooking classes at a local center
- Find a part time job that doesn’t seem like work
- Start your own business
All of these things eliminate boredom and isolation and allow you to meet new people, people who share a similar passion and aren’t engaging with drugs or alcohol and who don’t know about your past or have an opinion about your recovery.
If you’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may not understand that addicts, regardless of how they appear, have low confidence and self-esteem. They know the things they’ve done, the things they’ve failed at, and the people they’ve let down. That’s why one of the best things you can do for someone in early recovery is build up esteem and self-confidence.
Learning your way around the kitchen does just that. It gives you something to do right, something to try and experiment with that’s safe and harmless. Because it’s building a skill, and you can see how you’re processing and excelling, and confidence in your abilities grow.
When you cook a savory, mouth-watering meal followed by a decadent dessert, you’ll know you can succeed.
Something to Focus On
Things can be rather crappy in early recovery. Your friends and family either don’t believe that you’re taking things seriously or they’re calling you eight times a day to check in, scared to death that you’re going to relapse.
You typically have financial troubles and ghosts haunting you from your not so distant addicted past. Cooking allows you to forget all that. It allows you to get in the moment and focus only on the simmer and the flavor, and can become almost meditative.