Beating Boredom in SobrietyLeave a Comment
Boredom is one of the worst enemies that a drug addict or alcoholic might face during his recovery from substance abuse. In most cases, drugs and alcohol ingrain themselves so deeply into an addict’s brain and thought processes that he forgets how to entertain himself without the artificial stimulation that he receives from drugs or alcohol. An addict might emerge from a rehab program with a great degree of energy and optimism, only to be waylaid shortly thereafter by crushing boredom that nudges him back to using drugs or alcohol. This situation was aptly depicted in the movie, Trainspotting, in which a protagonist, who is recovering from heroin addiction, finds himself numbed by boredom in a bingo parlor that his parents dragged him to in an attempt to entertain him away from his drug-using friends.
Overcoming boredom first requires a recovering addict or alcoholic to avoid social situations that offer him the opportunity to use drugs or alcohol, and also to find substitute activities to engage his mind and spirit in place of abused substances. A recovering addict who visits his old haunts thinking that he can find entertainment there without using addictive substances will often find himself faced with friends who have no such similar qualms about using drugs or alcohol. He will compare how he feels with friends who appear to be enjoying themselves and before long, he will cast his reservations aside to join them. Addicts and alcoholics who have established a strong sober lifestyle may be able to handle these social situations, but individuals who are new to recovery and who have only recently exited a recovery program are best served by avoiding these situations altogether.
This relegates those individuals to finding new friends, activities, and social situations that do not involve drugs or alcohol. Recovering addicts who feel bursts of energy in their sobriety can use that energy to pursue athletic activities that will feed upon themselves to generate additional energy. Experiences with substance abuse and newfound sobriety can also open artistic talents that might have lain dormant while that individual was under the effects of drugs or alcohol. Counselors and therapists can help recovering addicts and alcoholics to develop individual recovery programs that will replace substance abuse with more positive and healthy activities to fend off any feelings of boredom.
Avoiding boredom in an addiction recovery program can be a particularly difficult task for teens and adolescents who are unable to find new friends or activities that can engage their interests in their sober states. Counselors will be attuned to this problem when working with recovering teens and will work on delving deeper into a teen’s psyche to discover his interests and proclivities. Merely suggesting new activities that worked for other recovering teens will rarely work to help a teen avoid boredom. Parents and family members can be a good resource to help recovering teens and their counselors to find the things that interest them and to suggest activities which fit those interests. Trying several different activities might be necessary before the right activity is located to entertain a recovering teen addict or alcoholic.
The best method that any recovering addict or alcoholic can use to beat boredom in sobriety is to find something that distracts him from the cravings and temptations to relapse into using drugs or alcohol. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California has worked with countless numbers of adolescents and young adults to help them find the best activities and events to create those distractions and to keep them sober. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.