10 Things I Love in Recovery

happy people in recovery

When I first got clean thinking that I would “love” anything in recovery was so beyond my scope of thinking. Coming from the life that I had been leading and unsure about the life I was entering into, having a passion or an interest for anything seemed unfathomable. “How do we have fun in recovery? Make friends? Find hobbies? Come to rely on intrinsic rewards?” These were all questions that initially went unanswered. Fortunately for myself (and countless others!) we grow into not only liking things in recovery but also coming to love aspects of it as well. Here is my list of 10 things that I have grown to love while in recovery.

1. Nature

Before I got clean, the times that I spent outdoors were usually on my way to or from a mission to stay loaded. If I was physically in nature, I was likely mentally and spiritually very far away. Today, I have found so many healing properties of spending time in nature and I can really be present in my surroundings. It has been studied that spending time in nature helps to decrease anxiety. I know that whether it is a short walk around my block, going to the beach for a bonfire, or finding a hike with friends, spending time in nature is a love I have grown to have.

2. Animals

I have always liked animals, sure. Who doesn’t like scrolling through Instagram looking at reels of cute baby elephants rolling around in the mud or goats fainting? There was a big difference when I gained the opportunity to actually consciously interact with the animals around me versus being checked out and letting videos on screen pass through my peripherals while I am only half invested. With a sober mind I can truly appreciate the value of getting jumped on by my friend’s puppy or realize that I instantly de-stress when I marvel at the flock of ducks flying overhead.

3. Going to Bed

Holy moly! This has become such a sweet and wholehearted love of mine. Ok yes, sleeping is something that we will always have to do by default, but when I was loaded, most times I would not ‘go to bed’, rather I would ‘pass out’ eventually. There was no ritual behind it, there was little sense of appreciation for a long day completed and finally settling into my safe space where I can be cozy, calm and finish the day out. I tell you, I physically get the warm fuzzies that moment I finally sink into my bed for the night. (and for bonus points remembering my gratitude for even HAVING a bed of my own now!)


4. Volunteering

It’s an undeniable truth that while I was loaded my main concern was myself and myself only. Turns out I have a heart and a big one at that! I think many of us in recovery end up so appreciative of the lives that we have today that we ultimately want to give back to those who are still struggling. Each of us have special areas which are more personal to us as well and our gift of having ‘been there’ is impactful to those who are still there.

5. Music

OKAY THIS! Music has always been a ‘feel good’ for me- concerts, listening to my favorites loud in my headphones, even attempting to play instruments which I clearly didn’t know how to play. But just like everything else in my addiction, this passion of mine slipped to the wayside and occasionally became a halfhearted attempt at increasing serotonin. Once I was no longer bound to substances and the fog over my head lifted, I was able to experience these things to degrees which I never had before. I can experience live music without the nagging distraction of getting more intoxicated- hell, I can even afford concert tickets! But what’s priceless are the chills that I get up and down my spine when I’m not just hearing the music but actually feeling it.

6. Trying New Things

Kickboxing, karaoke, bingo, softball, going to museums. These are just a few things that I never would have had much interest in trying in the past. One of the greatest things I’ve gained from recovery is a sense of open mindedness and willingness, with that comes along opportunities to actually apply the open mindedness and willingness. Go figure! I’ve had so much fun trying new things, whether they were a one off or I have grown to incorporate them in my regular routine, I love that I have the capacity to even try these things today.

7. Holidays

Oooh. This is a touchy one for most people in recovery. I get it. Holidays in recovery are usually some of the LEAST favorite and unloved times of the year. Reminders of [many] a ruined past holiday or the absence of family can make the addict in recovery cringe and wait nervously for the holiday to be over with already. I have been this person exactly. However, somewhere along the line and a handful of years of sobriety later my feelings of hatred have softened, and *dare I say it?*, there have been moments of holidays that I have actually LOVED. Memories which I’ve been able to create, people I’ve surrounded myself with & places that I’ve gone which have gradually helped to bring new and loving memories into my catalog of holidays instead of just hurt and pain.

8. 12-step meetings

Hear me out. I know this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially early on in recovery and especially if you’ve never really gotten to truly experience a connection with a 12-step community like AA or NA, but this is my blog post and I’m telling you about what I’ve come to love! When I was new in my recovery the thought of so many new people, hearing wild stories day after day, cheap coffee and church basements sounded incredibly unappealing. Somewhere along the line the new people I met became familiar, the wild stories were relatable AND inspiring, the cheap coffee stayed cheap but I was grateful for something warm to drink and a church basement wasn’t just a basement, it was a place where I knew I’d be seeing my friends, getting hugs, and getting in touch spiritually. I love getting to meetings. I love exploring new ones and I love being a regular at other ones. I love that something I thought I could never love ended up something so essential to my daily life.

people in recovery laughing enjoying their fellowship

9. Laughter

When I was detoxing I could hear laughter in the other room from some of the other clients who had been in treatment longer than I had. I remember laying in my bed in pain just thinking of how I couldn’t wait until I had the capacity to laugh about things too. Well, it happened and thank god for that. The laughter I have been able to wholeheartedly experience is by far one of the things I’m most grateful for. Belly laughs. Laughing until my face hurts. Friends who know exactly what to say to get me to laugh. Coming from a life lead before where not much was very funny and laughter wasn’t very sincere, this is truly a gift of recovery which I love and value.


Is this cliche? I’m okay with being cliche. It’s honest. Recovery has absolutely given me tools and opportunity to grow in ways which I never thought could be possible. By putting one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, I have been able to act estimably, make choices which make me feel good about myself at the end of each day, and learn, morph and evolve into a person that I not only like, but have learned to love. I treated myself unkindly and without love for a long time. This kindness and love may be long overdue, but I intend to utilize the rest of my days working towards more of it.

If you’re looking for a great sober living community with people that really care, Stairway Recovery Homes has multiple sober living homes in LA. We have great recovery homes for both men’s sober living and women’s sober living. Give us a call for a tour!

About Heidi Marcz

Director of Alumni and Case Management Heidi has been working in the field of addiction for the past 4 years, has a RADT and moonlights as a blogger and Brainpaint Neurofeedback Technician. If asked, there is nothing in the recovery field that Heidi won’t do to learn more or to be of service to the newcomers. As alumni and outreach coordinator, Heidi feels she has the unique opportunity to keep continuity in the community- even after people have finished their initial SUD programming. Events range from seasonal activities, fundraisers, service events and special interest activities. Heidi is excited to perpetually generate more community cohesiveness, fun & gratitude for others and herself.