Jason heard people talk about their hectic, busy lives and he just couldn’t comprehend it. He listened to them complain about ‘not having enough time in the day’ and thought they were crazy. What’s wrong with them? Couldn’t they see how incredibly long and boring each day was? What in the world were they doing with their time?
Since he stopped using, Jason had all kinds of time on his hands. In fact, some days dragged on endlessly without purpose. Sometimes, this made it hard to stay sober.
Back when he was using drugs, Jason’s days were consumed with getting high. He spent hours every day tracking down, buying and doing drugs. Now that he no longer dedicates his days to drug use, he’s finding that there’s a big chunk of every day that seems void of purpose. This scenario is a common one for the newly sober. If not handled well, it can be a very dangerous situation.
Many get this wake-up call; they find themselves bored with new circumstances and surroundings. With their old “purpose” removed from the day, they aren’t sure how to spend their time – and this can lead to relapse.
A Different Perspective
The key is to realize that your new-found time means freedom, not boredom. You no longer have to devote all those hours of each day (and week, and month) to drug use. You’re free to do so many other things now! To turn from boredom to freedom, find ways to spend your new free-time wisely.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Try New Things: Is there a hobby you’ve never pursued? Classes you would like to take? Places you’d like to see? It’s hard to stay bored while investing in new interests.
- Set Some Goals: These don’t have to be complex or difficult. Feel free to shoot for the moon, but be okay with simple goals too. Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids. Perhaps you never finished your degree, and you’d like to do that now. Setting and working toward goals are good ways to keep your time and attention occupied with healthy pursuits.
- Serve Others: There’s not a place on earth that offers absolutely no serving opportunities. Even if you head to Antarctica, you could care for the penguins. Giving back in some way is a great use of your new free time. Find a local community organization, a national non-profit, or perhaps the treatment center you attended, and ask how you can serve others.
Remember to Be Still
While it’s good to devote time to these new activities, it’s important to realize you don’t have to fill every second of the day. Creating a frazzling schedule sans drug-use isn’t healthy either. Accept that your boredom is normal during this stage of adjustment. It may be annoying, but it won’t kill you. Let it spur you to try new things, but don’t let it make you frantic. Take time to mourn the loss of your old life and the friends you don’t see any more.
Practice resting and simply enjoying your freedom. Then, develop a new healthy pace that includes the hobbies, events and relationships that your new-found freedom allows.
Additional Reading: 7 Sober Activities for Cold Winter Months
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