Managing Boredom In Recovery

June 30, 2020

Call it idleness of the mind, feelings of futility or whatever you like, but boredom is a normal part of life for countless people. Psychologists describe boredom as what takes place when: 

  • We can’t engage in internal or external stimuli to feel satisfied
  • We are focused on being unengaged and unsatisfied
  • We attribute the feelings to our environment, not ourselves

While boredom can sometimes spur positive, creative activity, experiencing too much idleness throughout addiction recovery can have negative consequences. 

Boredom Is Common for Those in Recovery

Sobriety and boredom often go hand in hand. Before undergoing rehabilitation, a person addicted to alcohol likely filled his or her time with activities related to drinking. Tracking down and using substances and spending time with others who share the habit can take up much of the day. After getting sober, however, your time won’t be filled with these efforts. 

In fact, you may experience boredom in recovery if: 

  • You don’t have a strong support network
  • You struggle to enjoy activities you once found interesting
  • You aren’t sure of your interests when drugs or alcohol are not involved

Dealing with Boredom in Recovery 

Of the many issues you might face during recovery, boredom is more manageable than most. These feelings of idleness don’t have to come into your life, take root and become a recurring problem. Here are some ways you can combat boredom in recovery: 

  • Look for a new hobbyIf you find yourself with too much time to kill, consider a new hobby. Your interests may have changed since achieving sobriety, so don’t be afraid to attempt something out of the ordinary. You might even try volunteering at a local community center or animal shelter.
  • Change your environment.Sometimes, a simple change of scenery can alleviate problems with boredom. If you’re feeling stuck, take a walk or go for a drive to see something different. Unmotivated at work? Take a break, readjust your workstation or ask a supervisor about tackling another project, even temporarily.
  • Use boredom to do something good for yourself.You’ve made it this far, so don’t let boredom take control. Use your free time to be kind to your body or mind. Meditate, engage in exercise — find something that makes you happy.
  • Talk to someoneAlthough this might be difficult, perhaps you could call a loved one or strike up a conversation with a relative. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, consider joining a support group.
  • Learn how to embrace boredom.Boredom doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Learn to use it to your advantage and embrace those moments of stillness. Take the time to think about a new challenge, a goal you want to accomplish or how you want your life to look in the future.

How Boredom Can Be Dangerous 

While disinterest and inactivity are common aspects of life, dealing with boredom in recovery can be risky. If left unchecked, boredom can take over your life when you really need to be focused on achieving sobriety.

If you are not feeling stimulated by the environment, it can leave your mind to reminisce on the excitement of addiction. Then, it might be easy to use the monotony as an excuse to reconnect with friends who still use, which can do serious damage to the rehabilitation process. Preventing boredom throughout recovery could be the key to avoiding relapse.

Buena Vista Recovery Can Help 

The hard work involved in rehabilitation may not always be enough to prevent boredom. At Buena Vista Recovery, we are here to help you throughout the recovery journey. Reach out to us today if you are struggling with sobriety and boredom.