Counseling for Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Reflections

Benefits of Boredom

When clients come to me with addiction issues, one thing they struggle with is boredom.  Feeling "bored" is something most have felt at some point in their life. Boredom, however, seems to be a particular struggle when one is overcoming an addiction.  Because of this struggle, I think it is important to understand the roots of boredom and how this can be addressed.

 

When you drink or take a drug, your body is in an altered state, and you feel good.  The more you drink or take drugs, the more tolerance you develop and the more it takes to achieve the desired altered state.  Overtime, you are likely to depend on something outside yourself to feel how you want to feel, and you are likely to want or need to feel that way all the time.  One thing that a recovering addict eventually learns is there is nothing quite like a drug or drink to achieve the quick surge of instant, pleasant numbness or excitability (depending on what you're taking) and there is nothing that quite alters their state so quickly.  Then, for the addicted individual they can become used to living life at the extremes.

 

When there are no longer substances you are putting in your body,  you have a "new normal." Addiction becomes all-consuming, and you are either planning on using, using, or recovering from using.  You no longer have that preoccupation, and you know longer are feeling life at the extremes. You are likely to be experiencing a lot of new feelings, and due to not having the previous stimulation, one of them is "bored."  

 

In addition to having the new time on your hands as a sober person,  you are likely to be experiencing a struggle with relationships. Most people in recovery find that they lose a number of friendships when they become sober, and they need a new support system.  This can be a lonely time especially without support, which is when AA or other support groups come in handy (often in addition to more formal treatment programs.)

You are likely to find that activities you used to enjoy are not as fulfilling, and may need to find new hobbies.

 

Another thing to consider in terms of boredom is that you may need to challenge your idea that feeling bored is such a bad thing anyway!  Often when people take a break from constant, compulsive activity they can engage in reflection, make necessary changes, and develop other parts of themselves.  You can learn the value of quiet relaxation, become a calmer more reflective person, and engage in activities you might not previously have thought you would enjoy.  

Here is a link to some new activities to try during recovery.  

http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Tools_and_Homework/Relapse_Prevention/activities.htm

 

Making the necessary changes to sustain a sober life can be challenging, but certainly not impossible.  If you find yourself struggling, seeking personal therapy may a necessary, helpful step.