ARC Blog

Carpentry: an Unlikely Asset in Addiction and Anxiety Recovery

Building a Brighter Future

Anxiety and addiction are silent stalkers that can affect even those most seemingly carefree person. Both are caused by a number of factors, including stress, genetics, and chemical imbalance. For an addict, anxiety is also triggered by use and withdrawal, according to Medical News Today. Panic disorders, a severe form of anxiety, are also common in people seeking treatment for alcohol abuse.

If you suffer from these co-occurring conditions and happen to be good with tools, you have a powerful weapon against them literally in the palm of your hand.

Mood-boosting work

Working with your hands is one of the best ways to redirect your mind. Building something, whether it’s a small deck, bookshelf, or backyard treehouse, can give you purpose as well as something tangible to see through to completion. And, as Jim Benson of Personal Kanban explains, finishing tasks no matter how small gives the brain a dopamine rush that can make you feel good in the moment; steady doses of dopamine can also make you crave similar healthy rewards. And your carpentry skills, in addition to opening up job opportunities, can be put to good use in other areas that will bolster your recover.

Skills that heal

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence explains that volunteering can boost your self-esteem and make a difference in the lives of others who may be struggling with sobriety, abuse, homelessness, or poverty. As someone with experience in construction, you can use your skills to volunteer framing homes or hanging drywall for Habitat for Humanity. You might also find that carpentry skills come in handy if you want to donate your time to building dog houses or making general repairs at your local animal rescue. Many local charities also have an ongoing need for men and women who can make repairs and upgrades to low-income seniors’ homes. Doing good work for others is a way that you can give back to your community and may help you alleviate some of the guilt leftover from your using days.

Encouraged by education

It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you enjoy your work, there is always room to learn new methods and add to your skillset. You might, for instance, combine your knowledge of carpentry with business classes to launch your own handyman or construction firm. You may even be encouraged to earn a new degree or finish what you started as a teenager. Completing your education can help you take care of “unfinished business” if you dropped out due to drugs or alcohol.

While your traits and talents can help, there are still plenty of others ways to further your recovery efforts. A few of these include:

  • Exercising. Taking care of your body can help you overcome both addiction and anxiety. This is another area that tells your brain to release chemicals that lead to feelings of mild euphoria. Consider visiting the gym if you’d like access to a variety of different equipment – most also offer group fitness classes such as yoga and dance and team sports opportunities.
  • Cooking. The food you eat is vital to your health and recovery. Cooking meals for your family is a great way to fill your time while bonding with your spouse and children. Rehab Village notes that cooking doesn’t have to be expensive and suggests grilling and baking.
  • Spending time in nature. The outdoors is so much more than a cutscene of our busy lives. Health explains that being outside can ease depression, improve focus, and even strengthen your immunity to disease. If you live in a highly populated area, time away from the concrete jungle may be even more important. People who live in the city are more likely to develop a mood or anxiety disorder.
  • Writing. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a great way to purge your mind and body of negative emotions. It gives you ownership of your reactions and can help you recognize what triggers your anxiety. This is important during drug recovery as the same actions and situations may also lead you toward relapse.

No matter what career or hobby you choose, make sure it is something you enjoy. And if carpentry happens to be your expertise, use it to your advantage and you’ll build yourself a brighter future.

Monica Smith has struggled with addiction her whole life. She discovered a passion for carpentry which helped her overcome her struggle. She created in order to help others struggling on the path to sobriety.


Monica Smith has struggled with addiction her whole life. She discovered a passion for carpentry which helped her overcome her struggle. She created in order to help others struggling on the path to sobriety.
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