Boredom and Substance Abuse

After your time in a 12-step recovery program, your life changes for the better and the ways you used to occupy your time are not how you currently spend your free time. This can warrant pockets of time where boredom can develop. The problem is that boredom post-substance abuse can be a trigger for relapse. Similar to feelings of sadness or anxiety, sometimes the feelings of boredom can creep in and become inevitable.

The real question is how can we learn to manage these feelings of boredom and find fulfilling activities in our life after rehabilitation?

Managing Boredom While in Recovery

Once you have been through rehabilitation and embraced the sober living life, there are more to the feelings of boredom that drive relapse than feeling as if you have nothing to do on a weekend afternoon. These feelings can actually stem from and warrant a place of fear. Without anything to occupy your immediate attention, it’s easy for your mind to wander to any unresolved issues you might have, and that’s when things start to get uncomfortable.

The easy escape from those feelings is to drink or use. The more difficult and the stronger path is to actually address your fears which you can do by practicing mindfulness, simply taking time to think, talking things through with a friend/sponsor, or even turning to therapy.

Tips for Overcoming Boredom

Once you begin to get a handle on your unresolved issues, you’ll find it gets easier to embrace life and become the best version of yourself.

If you have old hobbies that you’ve given up, this is the time to rediscover them. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try a new activity but know that it could be time-consuming or are afraid to try. This is your time to use the new freedom, take ahold of the new you, and begin your life again.

Here are a few ways to manage your free time:

Go for a walk with a friend
Listen to podcasts
Try a new workout class or go to the gym
Take up running and join a running community
Begin to cook and try new recipes
Playing an instrument
Joining any local clubs you’re interested in
Spending time with family or friends
Going to a 12-step meeting
Volunteering and serve your local community
Discover hidden artistic talents