Overcoming Boredom When You Are New to Sobriety


shutterstock_316306244Alcoholics and drug addicts typically go through a common array of emotions in an addiction recovery program. Following the initial period of physical withdrawal, they will experience periods of exhaustion, then elation as they enjoy their first days away from the substances that they have abused. They inevitably hit a period of boredom and fatigue with their newfound sobriety, at which point they are at a great risk of relapsing. Drug addiction therapists and counselors devote much of their time to assisting recovering addicts to overcome this period of boredom and to understand and realize that they have more options for an exciting and fulfilling life now that they are no longer under the control of their drug of choice.


Boredom can affect alcoholics and drug addicts on two fronts. Initially, they might rationalize their drug or alcohol use as a means to stave off the boredom that they expect to experience of they are not pursuing an intoxicating high from these substances. Once they are able to overcome this rationalization, they may feel that their newfound sobriety is too boring. This boredom typically arises in the gap between addiction and before the recovering addict has achieved full sobriety and, if not addressed, it will drive an addict away from his recovery.


A recovering alcoholic or addict can overcome boredom, first, by achieving a state of mindfulness with his surroundings. This will require the individual to practice meditation, yoga, or some other activity that shuts out the past and prevents worries about the future, but instead forces him or her to focus on nothing more than the immediate moment. Social media, computer communications, and other electronic entertainments should be removed at this stage of an addict’s recovery. These distractions are superficial and have been found to increase a recovering addict’s boredom level while pulling him or her away from the present moment.


Next, if specific situations or daily actions lead to a sensation of boredom, a recovering addict or alcoholic should strive to attach new meaning or experiences to them. Breaking up a repetitive activity with outdoor walks or using a particular environment as a reminder of good times with friends or family in that environment will often lighten the dullness of an otherwise boring task. Taking full control of that environment and imposing some sense of change on it will further reduce boredom levels.


Apart from these broad ideas, addiction recovery therapists will guide recovering alcoholics and addicts to pursue many different types of activities in their first weeks or months of rehab. While addicted, an individual will typically do little more than try to satisfy his cravings for drugs or alcohol. In the early stages of sobriety, a recovering alcoholic and addict should be encouraged to participate in enjoyable activities that were missed while he was in the throes of his addiction. These activities will alleviate his boredom and will set a plan for additional things that can be done when his sobriety is better established. As a precaution, a recovering addict or alcoholic will need to avoid any activities that take him into bars or nightclubs, or back into the neighborhoods that fed his addictions before he became sober. An addict’s triggers will always be waiting to drag him back into his substance abuse habits. He will need to find new activities that keep him away from those triggers.
If you have been delaying any attempts to solve your drug or alcohol problems out of fears that your sober life will be a boring life, the staff and counselors at the Lead Recovery Center can give you additional ideas and greater clarity of understanding how a sober life can and will be anything but boring. Please call us at 1-800-380-0012 for a confidential consultation and for more information on how we can help you establish an addiction recovery program that will overcome any concerns over boredom that you might have.