Don’t Let Boredom Jeopardize your Sobriety

Why is it that when someone, with an addiction problem, contemplates getting clean, they immediately take on the thought process that their life will become boring, as if substance abuse was their salvation and their only pleasure in life. It takes a while for former addicts to realize that there are so many wonderful things in life to enjoy and so many ways to live life to the fullest without the help of any substance.

There is great danger in boredom for someone in recovery. There is too much time to think and reminisce, often leading to relapse. Boredom can lead to depression, anger, and bitterness. All too often this leads to thinking that sobriety is not all what it is cracked up to be and then starts the justification of using just one more time.

So it is very important to stay busy doing things that are productive and you will truly find that soon there will not be enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want to do. It might take you a bit to get started finding things to do that you enjoy and can afford but it will be well worth it. You actually have to discover yourself all over again to discover things that you like to do.

It is a very good idea to try a number of different activities and hobbies because you don’t want to get stuck with one new passion as that can also become dangerous. Try exercising, jogging, gardening, playing an instrument, writing, or painting. These are just a few ideas but feel free to explore yourself, this is your time now.

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  • When I became serious about not getting high all the time, I created a fun looking mini-poster and taped it to my mirror. I creatively wrote the words of all of the activities I enjoy that don't include getting high. Things that use my talents and help me be productive. My plan was to look at it whenever the thought of using came to my mind to remind myself that there is something better I could do with my time. It really helped.
  • It's a very useful thing to occupy yourself with projects and mini-projects all the time when going through recovery. Keep yourself entertained by being progressive. This is a key thinking that I have: "Be concerned about the process, not the product." This means that you don't have to finish what you're doing quickly, just be glad that you are doing something good and go with the flow. Allot 30 minutes for a project, stop and rest for 5 minutes or eat, then burn another 30 minutes for another project, and so on. This technique, called the Pomodoro technique, will help you get over boredom.
  • Definitely hobbies are the way to go. You need to replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones. You can't just quit something and expect the void to be filled automatically. You're very right that you need to explore and create, and experience new things, otherwise you'll go back to your old comforts because you're used to relying on them. Maybe joining a support group is a healthy idea, or making yourself accountable to a workout buddy or a pet that needs exercise. Boredom is for sure a quick fire way to get back on the wagon.
  • I remember being so bored when I was getting clean. What made things worse is that I was convinced everyone else was out on the tiles, having a great night. I ended up taking a second job just to keep myself busy. Throwing myself into work was definitely the best option and really did keep me out of trouble. 
  • There are two things that we can do to solve this problem: remove the boredom itself or prevent relapse in case of boredom. To remove the boredom itself, I guess people already know that filling your free time with exciting and enjoyable activities is the best way to go. Not only because it will keep your thoughts busy, but also because it will keep you more positive. 

    However, there will be time when you will be bored no matter what and I think preventing relapse during the time of boredom is equally important. Personally, when I was trying to cut smoking, I always try not to keep cigarettes at home because during the time of boredom, I would not be able to resist the temptation of grabbing one. I think the same thing can be said for other substances. As long as the access is limited, even during that short period of boredom, the hassle of going out alone might prevent you from relapse during that period.
  • chinne writes >>>Why
    is it that when someone, with an addiction problem, contemplates getting clean,
    they immediately take on the thought process that their life will become
    boring, as if substance abuse was their salvation and their only pleasure in
    life.<<<

    For me, my addiction wasn't the only pleasure. But, "my
    addiction was a delivery system into spiritual reality which is my ONLY reality."

    i don't view my addiction in a negative light as I once had. My addiction which was a symptom had a purpose and the
    purpose was recovery from the reasons (problems) of why I used
    self-destructively which was my emotional / mental states. My drug of choice helped
    me realize that I wasn't unaware that I was suffering from depression which
    began in childhood. What I called boredom was actually depression, which is
    very common for the addicted. Labeling it boredom can be denial for those that
    don't want to face the truth of depression, it was for me and many others I've
    known.

    My drug of choice took away my depression, pain and
    suffering, that's why my drug of choice felt so good and why I became addicted.
    The problem is that my drug of choice stopped working due to tolerance. But, the
    problem of it not working anymore turned into the solution, because my drug of
    choice (symptom) forced me to take a look at the "ME" the problem.
    For if I'm not the problem, there isn't a solution.

    chinne writes >>>There
    is great danger in boredom for someone in recovery. There is too much time to
    think and reminisce, often leading to relapse. Boredom can lead to depression,
    anger, and bitterness. All too often this leads to thinking that sobriety is
    not all what it is cracked up to be and then starts the justification of using
    just one more time.<<<

    The spectrum for depression is very wide and commonly boredom
    is a misconception for depression, especially for the addicted, which includes
    non-substance addictive behavior, e.g. gambling. Many who claim to be sober
    aren't, they're abstinent and can remain abstinent for years, but they're not sober. This is due to not addressing the issues of the causes and conditions of
    their depression and why they became addicted.

    Consider this quote by David Stewart, MD from his book "thirst
    for freedom"

     “Few people realize that sobriety is an action
    of insights and skills far beyond mere abstinence. Sobriety is a creative
    discipline in the art of freedom of growth and of love. To be yourself is to
    become yourself.”
     

     

  • zawnv writes>>>If you
    have a mental illness, such as PTSD, depression, or schizophrenia, getting
    sober is a major accomplishment that deserves much celebration. Sobriety,
    though, is the beginning of your journey and not the end. Treating your mental
    illness is a key to successfully surmounting the obstacle of addiction while
    achieving a healthy, happy future.<<<

    “Few people realize that sobriety is an action of
    insights and skills far beyond mere abstinence. Sobriety is a creative discipline
    in the art of freedom of growth and of love. To be yourself is to become
    yourself.”
     David
    Stewart, MD from his book "thirst for freedom"

    In general I agree with what you wrote zawnv, but due to the
    spectrum of mental illness being so wide and science being in many grey areas
    with limited light regarding treatment, e.g. bipolar affective disorder, broad
    brushing which many, MD's and rehabs tend to do is dangerous.

    I've been involved in my recovery as well as involved with
    helping others in recovery for well over 40 years. All that are or were
    addicted and I've known (100's) became addicted due to emotional / mental
    issues. In other words, emotional / mental issues precedes addiction which
    usually begins in childhood.

    Addiction is the symptom and not addressing the emotional /
    mental issues (causes and conditions) even while not practicing ones addiction is
    abstinence, but not sobriety.

  • Hobbies that interest you are great, but I think the best hobbies that promote growth are those that allow you to create and be creative. You can say this about all of the arts. There are also other avenues other than the arts that allow you to be creative. If you know how to code, create a project that's near to your heart. It could be a game, an app, or a website; the opportunity to be creative is still there. Gardening is also very worthwhile. There's nothing quite like the feeling of growing something out of your hard work.
  • Definitely a supporter in this theory. I suggest picking up a hobby or an activity that can take up your free time, without making you feel bored or tired. This could even be a video game; just anything that keeps your mind off of using. And this could be more than a distraction. I have gotten so good at soccer that I start on my local club soccer league. Hobbies are fun to pick up, and will aid you in your quest to sobriety.
  • Distractions could help keep people away from those drugs, as well as other basic activities such as chewing gum. Hobbies are one of the main factors for a healthy recovery, it keeps the addict focused on something besides drugs. 

    I support your theory 100 percent, and I know a friend that actually started playing basketball all the time so he could get away from his crack addiction. Now, he is going to a D1 college and is on his way to the NBA.
  • Their fears do make sense, though. They have a lifestyle and friends that they are used to and that are all tied in to these substances, and of course, they could (and probably should) change their life completely, abandon all of their friends and start playing boardgames instead of going to parties...

    But from where they're standing, it just does not sound like fun. It sounds pretty much like some hellish opposite of fun! In a way, it's comparable to those people who hate their jobs, hate their colleagues, hate their lifestyle, but enjoy the stability... except that instead of hating this stuff, addicts love it. Or have the feeling they love it. The same way people cannot contemplate going vegetariand and giving up their favorite meals, alcoholics cannot imagine being happy without their favorite drinks.

    But like with the vegetarian diet, a no-alcohol diet is not boring. People who eat meat just are used to have meat as the star of their dish, and don't know how to have good food without. That's why if they wanted to make the change, the best way to do it would be to introduce them to a great diet that is exciting as well as without meat! Same goes for addicts. If you want them to quit, they should have things to look forward to, not things to regret.
  • Boredom can lead to stress and stress can lead to taking drugs. Have something to do. Or have a walk in the park, go to the movies or even visit friends. You can have a novel to read at free time. Have a schedule and maintain to it. You will later find that you do not have free time. You can also play your best game or go compete swimming. You can go to the gym, bible discussion or even fishing.
  • They keep coming back to drugs/substances because for them, those are the only things that keep them interested in life, those stuffs give them pleasures. However, it's totally a huge misconception. Maybe yes, drugs give you a bit of a pleasure, but that's just temporary. Like what you have said, there are so many things that you can do with your life which will give you permanent bliss, only if you are willing to move.
  • Sometimes the simplest tips are the best ones, boredom means we have too much free time, so we need to be occupied or else we start thinking about consuming again. 
  • I think this is because of what you associate drinking with. Drinking are associated with parties and get-togethers. So I believe that they drink that without drinking they can no longer do the fun stuff that used to. To counter this they must first realize that there are many other ways that you can have fun that does not involve drinking, like going to the movies go site seeing and there are others. At the end of the day it comes down to preference. Even if you don't find these activities you can still party and not drink however that will take a lot a self restraint and you should not try unless you are confident that you won't fall back to the  same old practices.
     
  • I find that when trying to stop using a certain substance boredom can often play a big part in recovery. When you have nothing to do and are in a position where all you can do is think, you will more than likely start to think about the substance and crave it a lot more. To the point where unfortunately you may find yourself using. I would suggest  trying to keep as busy as possible during recovery that way your mind is on everything except the substanse your trying to avoid.
  • That is the answer to this problem ebzo, we need to keep busy, we need to be occupied and while we do that we might even find something we enjoy doing. 
  • As I have written many times, and will write many times more, I'm sure, substance abuse is very seductive.  Depending on their drug of choice, when an addict quits, the reality of the situation is that life as you know it often does become boring.  Sometimes a person has to go through a renewing of their whole thought process to feel like normal, regular life is pleasurable. 

    So, I agree with you, it's good for a person to develop their talents instead of looking to a drug. It's a process though.  Everybody is different, and what is easy for one person will not be so easy for the next person.  Patience is key. 
  • I wonder if the perceived boredom of not getting high has to do with a decrease in serotonin levels from heavy drug abuse. Since the brain is wired to having so much serotonin, wouldn't it perceive that it was bored or it may be boring to not keep up with the drug abuse that alters the serotonin?
    If that is true, then it would make total sense to keep busy with exciting and new things to keep up the serotonin and those neurons firing.
    Either way, it's great advice and thanks for sharing!
  • Getting clean does not have to boring at all. There are plenty of great activities and hobbies you can take up. Exercise is one of the best ones. Any outdoor activities, reading, group activities, building things, and much more. Once you put your mind to something you are interested in you can make it fun and doing several things can work better too. 
  • There are plenty of things that someone can do to make them take their mind off of the thought of going back to that dark place and relapsing, and lots of ways to make people not bored! Hobbies, watching TV or movies, hanging out with friends who are good influences on you and not making you want to turn back to drugs or alcohol, going outside, traveling, trying new things, working!
  • I don't know why people would even make boredom an excuse to do drugs or turn into a drug addict. You can do so much in this lifetime. I guess the realization never sank. There's no one going to be responsible for your "fun." Happiness is best achieved through your own efforts. You can't let other people spoon-feed you with happiness. At the end of the day, it's an inside job. 
  • You will not feel the boredom if you always have that positive thoughts that everyday you can be a productive person in your own way while on your recovery. Explore the things which interest you most and focus yourself on those things and for sure your mind and emotions will be active and you can achieve your goals to stay away from your past bad habits.
  • I managed to jeopardize my mental sanity a little bit with boredom. I used to get drunk just because I was getting bored of the real world. Nothing much was really happening to me and drinking alcohol or using substances helped getting me through the day.
    It's a very, very bad habit.
  • Definitely true! Whenever boredom clouds up your mind, just remember how far you've come just to give it up. Focus your mind on sobriety and don't make brash decision that you know you'll end up regretting. Or best be with someone you can talk to avoid boredom.
  • I think occupational therapy is the best bet, to avoid getting iffy to boredom. It's the mind that is the culprit. If we can engage in enough useful work, it not only brings in a sense of accomplishment but also rises self-esteem. Increasing social contacts keep us occupied as well. People start to enjoy their life again and any apprehensions of boredom will be a thing of the past. 
  • Well, I try to fill my spare time with something to do even if that is useless.
    Right now, I'm playing online games and they are working for me pretty great and I'm not thinking about using since they are quite addicting.
    That might look like a wast of time to some but it's really helping me and I advice everyone to try video games when recovering.
  • I find that hobbies and exercise help me. I've gotten in better shape than I've been in in years, I've started reading again, plus I devote as much time to my work as I can. I'm aware that I'm distracting myself to keep my mind off of addiction, but I still feel good about myself in enjoying hobbies I haven't allowed myself to partake in in years
  • One thing I've found to be helpful with establishing new hobbies is to create a sort of blank calendar that I can cross off. Each day that I do my hobby that I'm trying to establish, I make a big X on the calendar. Seeing the calendar fill up as I become more set in my hobby is a very encouraging reminder to keep moving forward. 
  • I fill the voids with arts and crafts.  But the days of addiction has left something missing in my life.  I had troubles with my parents and the way they treated me.  These problems manifested themselves in the form of alcoholism.  I kicked the habit awhile ago but the feelings in betrayal and abandonment are still there.  
  • Getting involved in some interesting activities will help the person recovering from substance abuse to stay sober. You can pick a new hobby - do something that inspire creativity or something that you have always wanted to do. Reading a book, going to movies, biking or any other stuff that may distract you.
  • @jenniferabernathy that's a great idea! it serves as a great reminder for sure. 

    i am going to do that with several new hobbies i've been thinking about. 

    brilliant!
  • @fraggit1 , I have just recently discovered computer games myself as a way to distract myself from wanting to drink. My thought on that is, they are not a waste of time if they help us past a difficult spot!
  • This for me is a massively important issue for me. I think boredom can make or break a persons recovery from addiction. Its esy to say find something else to do or find a hobby, that's good advice but what happens in the moments when you can't find anything to do or the gym is closed etc?

    I try to fill my time up as much as I can by doing alsorts of things and I very rarely think about alcohol in my case. But, as soon as I get bored or find that there's nothing to do, the first thing I think about is should I have a beer? Just one won't hurt will it?

    Of course I don't, but that's when the temptation is at its strongest for me.
  • I agree being bored is no excuse to start backing drinking. Your boredom is your on fault it's up to you to find ways to occupy your time. I to do arts, and crafts it helps me a lot who knew I was so creative.
  • Overcoming boredom without resorting to drug use was a major barrier for my recovery, but one I managed to nail eventually.

    The problem is that once you're as thoroughly addicted as a lot of people end up, you really do have trouble taking pleasure in anything else; on a chemical level. If I was to point to the single most valuable thing I did to overcome boredom-induced drug use, it would be getting a puppy. My dog is a living, breathing, whining reason to get out of the house for walks, to socialize her so that she's calm with other people and animals, and someone I can teach things to. As a result of getting her I now walk every single day, and even jog; I make a point of speaking to people I meet on our walks in a calm and confident manner because that makes my dog calm and happy. 

    It's not like I knew that getting a dog would do all that for me, I totally lucked into it but oh boy it helped a hell of a lot. I can say "no" to a calender or phone reminder to do fifteen seconds of exercise until the end of time, but it's pretty damn hard to ignore a sweet, loving little fluffball who relies on you entirely to get out and about, and goes slowly insane if you don't. 
  • I leave myself notes, reminder alerts. Its weird but it helps. No one knows you better than you right? Recovery causes violent mood shifts so when I'm at my best I leave notes for when I'm at my worst.
  • This right here is my husbands way of thinking. He is a recovering addict/alcoholic but has recently relapsed on alcohol. He only drinks on the weekends and when he is off work, and he limits himself, but still..relapse is relapse.

    Anyway, I hear this so often from him. He is bored, he doesn't know what to do when he isn't working. He has no hobbies but can not think of one that sounds interesting. He has so many talents that he could easily find something to keep him occupied.

    The nearly 4 years of sobriety for him was amazing, but he would still complain about being bored, but he would find something to do to ease the boredom. We would take rides through the country, go get ice cream, cuddle, watch movies, or take the dog to play. But since he has started drinking on his days off, he doesn't really want to do anything much.

    He doesn't start drinking until late in the evening, but when he wakes up, he normally will sit outside in his truck listening to the radio and be on his phone on the internet. He does this until it is time for him to go to work. There are many things that he could do but he just chooses not to. 

    I love him so much and wish he would find a hobby that he could enjoy and stop drinking again, but there is nothing I can do or say. I hope he will find sobriety again and we can start riding around again, or cuddling, or anything that doesn't include drinking. 
  • @aimeep80 i'm sorry that you are having to contend with this.  have you expressed to him your true feelings on the matter?  it seems as if you two have distances yourselves from each other (or he has)....and that really is not what you want. it's no fun to feel as if you are being neglected or not getting your desires met.

    i would have a real heart to heart with him.  if you are not comfortable with what is going on, you can tell him. could this be an eventual deal breaker for you? if so, let him know. you don't have to settle for second best....communication and quality time together is very important.

    it sounds like he has lost sight of who he is. he may be struggling with some internal issues...or just not know who he is anymore. when i was rediscovering myself, i had no idea what i liked to do for fun. none. it took me some time and trying different things to figure it out and i'm still learning.

    maybe you could suggest doing things with him...or just cuddling with him when you can.  let him know that is important to you.

    if you have talked to him, what does he say about this?
  • I think, it can be when they had the addiction they were busy and it seemed that that gave them life and it feels like now it is not exciting without it. Many turn back to the addictions they fought as they gave them excitement even though it was temporary and also it is kind of like when we eat something it satisifes us for some time than we get hungry. I, think a person needs to change and also do other things so they can have a positive life.
  • @dominica Thank you so much for your kind reply. I appreciate it. I have expressed my feelings to him numerous times but he feels that I am trying to "make him" stop drinking. That is not the case though, as he is a grown man and he knows what he is doing. I believe that he is very mad at himself for drinking again, and that he has withdrawn because he is ashamed. I wish he was not ashamed but I can't do anything about that either. 

    He and I have been together for 18 years and married for going on 15 years so it isn't a deal breaker. I love him so much and I'm being patient. I feel that he will come around. I worry about him a lot but I know that will not solve anything. I just focus on myself and keep myself occupied. I do feel that our communication needs to improve but I just figure that he wants his space and I will give it to him. Thank you so much for your reply!
  • We get bored whether we are trying to get clean or not.  The key is to find things to do that you enjoy to take up time and keep your mind off of destructive activities.  I like to garden, digging in the dirt can use up a lot of energy.
  • I'd have to say that boredom can really be a problem. I remember smoking more than a pack a day just to pass the time. I still get cravings simply because I am bored (specially when my daily schedule tends to feel a little too dull because its just the same damn thing every day). Unfortunately I don't have enough hours left nor the energy to add anything else to my schedule.
  • Definitely part of any recovery plan should be determining activities that can be used to fill the void that will be left from drug activities.  The more you are able to divert your concentration onto a new hobby or activity, the more likely you are to have success.
  • Yup, bordem, in my opinion, is a very very big reason why alot of people relapse / drink / smoke / do drugs or whatever, but you really have to push through the bordem and find activities to be involved in. Remember, for most people drugs are not the go to for bordem, and that most people, when they are bored, end up doing very creative things instead :) Bordem can, in fact be a positive driving force!
  • Boredom is the enemy of sobriety. Go out and enjoy life while you can, but make sure that it is something that does not involve drugs or alcohol.
  • @jenniferabernathy I am definitely going to have to try this. That is such a cool and unique way to cure your boredom.
  • I agree that boredom is a major factor in relapse. When you are bored you think, when thinking, the old thoughts of using will most likely happen, especially in people who are recently clean. Everyone is different, so there will be some people who can be happy with going to grandmas and helping her pull weeds or to sit down and read a book, draw etc. To not keep busy is to feel you are missing something. As an addict, that is not good. If you have kids, find things to do that you can also do with them. 
  • I concur with the fact that boredom can take its toll on
    your psyche when it comes to relapse. Finding things you love to do is the cure
    for this and even finding things you’re not good at and creating a new found
    skill can be therapeutic also. Growth is something we must do or we decline
    spiritually, mentally, and physically. I try to fluctuate between the two stick
    with things I am comfortable with doing and finding new things to learn. Doing
    both will keep you busy and focused on healthy things.

  • I've heard that boredom is a lack of creative energy.  So to help with the problem of boredom, learn to exercise creativity while keeping busy.
  • I fully agree with the title of this thread. Idleness is the workshop of the devil so everyone should avoid that situation. Much more with recovering addicts or those who just came out of the rehab, I guess we should keep ourselves busy with productive activities.
  • I try to find new hobbies and sports to try on. It takes your mind off your addiction and lets you meet new people who can change your perspective about life.
  • When my husband was smoking, he would always say that cigarettes helped calm him aside from giving him some space against boredom. As I saw it, boredom was the main reason why he would smoke frequently. When he is busy, he can pass an hour or 2 without a cigarette but when he is just reading, he would smoke 2 or 3 sticks in an hour.
  • Definitely one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is what you are doing in your free time.  If the bad part of you life was a major chunk of time, then leaving that behind will open up a lot of free time.  Definitely have a plan in place such as hobbies, exercise or education to fill that time with something benefitical to your recovery.
  • This boredom thing is my worst enemy when it comes to wanting to smoke meth!
  • That is exactly why experts recommend to people to get a hobby when trying to stay clean and sober. Keeping your mind occupied in other things and not related drugs or alcohol ofcourse is really important. If that hobby is sport related it gets even better as you keep both your mind and body healthy.
  • OP, this is a great post, and a really important topic that I feel should be discussed more often in the recovery community. Other recovering opioid addicts i know talk about "post-acute withdrawal syndrome" or PAWS. The idea behind PAWS is that withdrawal has three main phases: the acute phase, the "pink cloud", and the post-acute phase.

    The acute phase is the physical withdrawal from the drug. In my experience, this is the easiest part of recovery - it might take up to a few weeks if you are withdrawing from something like suboxone or methadone, but it is definitely easier than the parts that come next.

    After you are over the physical dependence comes the "pink cloud" - the euphoria you feel at being over your withdrawals. But then, the post-acute withdrawal sets in - the soul-crushing boredom and depression that drives us to relapse.

    As a previous poster said, boredom is the enemy of true sobriety. It takes a long time for our brain's reward circuits to adjust to "normal" levels of sensitivity - for some of us, perhaps they never were "normal" to begin with. (Hopefully, this is something that your doctor or therapist can address with you during your recovery.) During that time, we experience low levels of excitation in our brains because they expect the wallop of a dose of drugs or alcohol, and instead only receive the normal things that we do in our lives. I've found that frequent physical activity and getting out in the sun and fresh air REALLY helps to lower my own "reward threshold" and make my brain get back to "normal" more quickly. Also, trying my best to be social - even when I don't feel like it - helps to keep me from getting bored or depressed and using again.

    I wish the best of luck to everyone struggling with this difficult part of getting and staying clean. Peace, love, and unity.
  • I know I have the issue of eating or drinking alcohol when I am bored. I try to distract my self by taking a walk or getting some type of exercise. Also, often when people are bored, they tend to be lonely as well, so I will sometimes call a friend to chat. Usually I am really bad at calling people because I am an introvert, but I force myself to do it.
  • I agree, boredom is usually what lures a person back into an addiction. Sometimes remembering what lures us out will keep us on the sober path.
  • I would like to thank you for these insights. I thought about what you had to say and it makes a lot of sense. I am certainly starting to be happy that I joined this forum. I have never thought about it before, but I am now. I think I am learning a lot about myself and my own issues. These are things that my family has recently pointed out.
  • It is also to note that there is a fine line here. While you want to stay active and involved, it is important to not get TOO involved in a way that is going to cause stress, which will then make one more vulnerable to dangerous and unhealthy coping strategies.
  • Ugh I totally feel you, I always just feel my self thinking whenever I'm bored i could go for a bowl now or something. It's just like how some people eat when they are bored with out really thinking about it, it just happens!
  • I'll tell you why: BECAUSE THEIR LIVES ARE BORING! Drugs make doing nothing an activity. Being a couch potato feels like you did something that day. "What did you do today, john?" "Oh you know the boys and I did a little drinking/smoking" remove the drugs and he answers "Nothing, we just sat there doing nothing" Doing nothing is boring.
  • An idle mind is the devil's workshop. If you are in recovery, you can't be idle. It is when you are idle that boredom comes in. And the best way to kill boredom is to keep busy with things that excites you the most. Things you love to do. That way you don't get tired or bored. Your mind would be busy and excited, and you won't have the time to think about drugs.



  • I am one of the people who really needs to keep busy - if I don't, then the only thing that I can think about is getting a drink, and it has horrific effects on my addiction symptoms. As a result of this, I do everything that I can to be able to keep busy, including exercising, playing on games, watching television, going out with friends.. basically anything that I can possibly do to keep my mind away from drink. It works, the majority of the time.
  •     Always be productive. If you realize that you are doing nothing, you start to get in to your emotions, and soon enough, will pick up that bad habit again. So control yourself and do something that requires your focus.
  • Sometimes it really does get hard to stay motivated and you get lazy. But i know that you really have to try to concentrate. Although this whole topic applies to everybody, not just recovering addicts
  •      Yes, I concur, boredom is a main factor that instigates a spark of lust for your former addiction. do not be aquiescence when it comes to this, just learn to be more pompous, or something along magniloquent. Seriously, do you really want to ruin all that time you dedicated? No, then be productive and fill your day with productivity!
  • This is why I advocate for hobbies and past-times. If you occupy your personal time (not on job, etc) then you have no time to regret or fall back into old habits. Just keep your mind occupied - games, movies, music, writing, art, hiking, outdoors stuff - ANYTHING not your old addiction!
  • Boredom is perhaps the most common trigger of a relapse. However, having friends who you can have fun with can really distract you from backsliding into addiction. In fact, the money addicts use to buy drugs can do a lot productive activities. Focusing on your hobbies and passion can also help you avoid boredom. Instead of just lazing around at home on the weekends, go out for a swim, camping or even a road-trip with a group of supportive friends.
  • Boredom is the enemy! Hobbies and trades are the best. Finding something that piques your interest and gives you happiness. Even friends and family. Anything you can use to benefit youre recovery process
  • Yes, yes yes!!!!
    Perfectly stated. Sobriety is actually more than its cracked up to be. And it gets easier!!
    That said, be careful throwing yourself into work for a cure of boredom. It wears you out. And we need time to relax and HEAL!! This is my #1 mistake. Still working too much but I'm making money and not wasting it. It's such a free feeling. You can get there. One. Day. At. A. Time.
    I'm not perfect. I was the worst person you can be when I was stealing from my family and awesome friends. Yep. Not worth it. I feel just so much better and free.
  • All excesses are bad, even if you exceed in doing good things, right things, or needed things like having to work. Building a life in balance is hard to achieve but not impossible.

    Not just boredom, but loneliness and other depressing factors may contribute to make the wrong choices when we don't know what to do with those sentiments, or when you do the wrong things.

    However the important is stopping and amend our steps, walking then through the right pathway.
  • Being bored certainly doesn't help an addict's situation. Getting bored means that he has no other thing to do that would distract him, therefore he/she will get back to whatever he/she 's addiction was. It's really important getting distracted by anything else other than addiction in order for the getting clean process to get easier.
  • Being bored will definitely make it harder to quit an addiction. When someone is bored, he or she will most likely look to whatever their addiction is as it will keep their mind off of things. It is very hard to resist since boredom takes over. Without self-control, it becomes difficult to put a limit on certain things. With a little willpower, anything can be overcome!
  • I'm a person that has a tendency of getting bored easily. Therefore I can relate to much which is pointed out in this post. Those are some really great points and I wholeheartedly agree that it's important to keep busy. Especially with something that is productive and won't steer one back into a state of dependency. And yes, it's harder to get something going in the beginning but it's worthwhile once you do. 
  • Sure that is true especially if you do not have lots of friends or family to help you out. But there are lots of fun things to do apart from getting high. The problem is that people are too busy complaining about a closed door that they do see another door has opened. I think boredom is a state of mind. It is not like you have been thrown in a hole or complete solitary confinement.
  • Really great advice.  I find myself as you said having to "rediscover" myself.  Along the way I lost sight of who I am and what I have to offer outside of the addiction. Lately I've been pouring myself in to fitness, hitting the gym regularly and trying to eat right. Also trying to be the best father/husband I can be, seems somehow those things got lost at some point to and I have to relearn how to do it.
  • I also think that there's a strong link between some body recovering from substance abuse and boredom, simply because if you've been taking a drug for so long, you get used to having that effect, that buzz in your life and when you do stop taking the drug, then that goes missing and it takes you a while to actually get used to being in the real world again.
  • It's important to take up a new activity or hobby that can just get your attention in its entirety and keep you looking forward to the next day. I think everyone has something they would really love to do. Who knows, they may even turn it into some money making activity. If you fancy playing the sax, why not pick it up and make it your goal to get to a certain level every month? Why not pick up drawing or painting or even singing. Join some club for some activity and make relationships that will keep you busy.
  • It is for this reason that one needs to stay busy with other activities so as to succeed at staying sober. Most people turn to hobbies as it is a fun replacement to addiction and it gives one a feel-good effect. I know someone who after quitting alcohol put all his efforts into helping others come out of the problem. It sure worked to keep him busy!
  • This can be really tough. I think most of the posts in here have covered the why's as to how boredom easily leads to relapse. I've noticed addicts I have worked with complaining about being bored and wondering why some of their co-workers don't want to run around and be excited and energetic. Some people just aren't like that and like to focus on work. I wonder if boredom is why the "Charismatic" church in the US is so full of former drug addicts. They are looking or some sort of head high to give them a rush they no longer get from drugs.

    A very good reason to warn young people off drugs even more. It totally affects brain chemistry and pelasure centers.
  • I totally understand, boredom is a bitch especially when alcoholism or whatever addiction was your source of fun. It will seem like everything will become dull in your life without the thing you once cringed to most but that's not true. There are lots of other hobbies out there.
  • I am actually stuck with a ''bored'' smoker,  he often says that he smokes out of boredom.  I don't know if I should believe him or not.  Maybe he does smoke out of boredom,  maybe not, but a big part of me thinks that is just his excuse.  But he does seem to smoke less when he is busy. I've told him he should find new hobbies, but he seems busy enough... with his work and working on our house, still he find the time to smoke 5 cigarettes. 
  • @seraphine I have a friend who is like that, but he really does not smoke that much. It's like one a day. It's still not good for his health, though.
  • Very well said during my initial sobriety recovery I had nothing to do to replace what should've been my drinking time. I felt miserable and sad my therapist recommended I go join a group or pursue my love of writing so I did both. I became much happier then and when I got a new job I became secure with myself and ended drinking altogether.
  • I've heard it said many times... "There's nothing worse than a bored addict." Keeping busy is essential, IMO.
  • @AtlantaSports  At least your friend only smokes one cigarette, my fiance smokes 5 or 6.  i think your friend can easily quit smoking one daily, everything will be ok as long as he doesn't start smoking more, then it would surely become a problem. 
  • @seraphine he could easily stop smoking. Have you talked to your fiance?
  • @AtlantaSports  Of course I have, but no matter what I do or say, he won't stop :(  He claims he ants to stop too, but I think that is a lie... He just says that because he thinks that is what I want to hear and that it will appease me.  In a way he is right.  But now I'm starting to feel very convinced he doesn't really want to quit.  If he did he'd at least try going without a smoke for a day or so, but he doesn't even do that. 
  • Thank you so much for that, and certainly boredom could be a problem a lot of the times but surely there is a way out of it.
  • @seraphine I would say you should give him an ultimatum. Do not make it something serious, but show him that you mean business. Make him want to quit.
  • Agreed.
    Hobbies and things that bring you joy are key.
    However, and this is not for everyone, I found sometimes I can benefit from being bored.
    When I find myself with that bored feeling, I just stop and think.
    I pretend I am a noble content animal like a wolf. Ever observed an animal just doing nothing and being content? I try to stay still, still my breathing and mind and take in every detail of whatever is going on around me at that moment. After a few minutes I feel content and no longer bored, I am enjoying just being alive!
  • Hobbies and friends. 
    When I was fighting the hardest part of my battle I kept coloring supplies around. Sounds silly but it really helped a ton and kept my hands and mind from being idle. It was very therapuetic.
  • Finding something you can excel in can provide as the best distraction and what's even better about it is that you get to pick up a new skill or improve on an old one. Having this in your life not only keeps you busy enough to not turn to addiction but it should also give some much needed confidence because feeling fulfilled in finishing a goal helps a lot.
  • I'm still struggling with my bordom, I used to practice playing guitar but it doesn't interest me anymore, I've added 1-2 hours of walking and running to my daily schedule but I still have so many free hours spent to the useless internet browsing...
  • A good thing to do is to find a Get Paid To site and start making extra cash for yourself. Trust me that's time consuming. So if you're somebody that's struggling with free time take up a side job. Read a book, watch a movie, exercise, just stay active.
  • I think it's a withdrawal symptom of the mind. I mean the mind knows you've been locked into this addictive routine for so long, so it finds it hard to imagine that you're going to give it up - for what? Usually good, positive activities do not come to mind so easily. It's also because the mind likes to maintain its current order of things. It's very uncomfortable leaving a comfort zone. That's why so mnay people are convinced they will be bored even before trying to quit a bad habit.
  • Idle hands and all being what they are don't let it be an excuse to relapse. Boredom is a preceptual issue a lot of the time and you are the only one that can remedy it.
  • Boredom is truly something anyone who has struggled with addiction should avoid.
    It's not only about the risk to relapse, but could e even worst. Sometimes people fail to stay sober taking an addiction back, that's for real.

    However there are times when boredom may push people to commit suicide, as another option to avoid relapsing, and this is even worst decision someone can make.
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