Boredom in recovery is common, but it’s also dangerous. Many people suddenly discover that they have excess time on their hands now that they’re not using drugs or alcohol. On top of this, they’re often distancing themselves from old friends and acquaintances who still drink or use drugs.
Furthermore, because drugs stimulate the brain’s dopamine centers, the things that are normally interesting often feel boring and dull to people in recovery. Things won’t be like this forever, but in the meantime, knowing how to cope with boredom in early recovery is key.
Let’s learn more about why people often experience boredom after addiction treatment in Phoenix and how to overcome these moments without returning to drugs or alcohol.
Why is Boredom Common in Recovery?
When you’re new to sobriety, boredom is a powerful trigger that can send you back to drugs or alcohol. By understanding this emotional state, you can protect the work you put into drug rehab in Phoenix. Here are some of the reasons why boredom is common during early recovery.
- Extra time on your hands. Drugs and alcohol take up a lot of time, so when you’re newly sober, you naturally have a lot more free time on your hands. People in recovery are always surprised to see just how much time drugs and alcohol consumed! Now you must find ways to fill this time with healthy, productive activities. There’s only one problem….
- Everything seems dull. Drugs and alcohol overclock your dopamine system. As a result, things that should be normally rewarding seem underwhelming. There is no quick fix for this. Your brain needs time to restore its balance. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the dullness in everyday activities can make your life seem more boring than usual.
- Distance from social circle. Chances are, you spent a lot of time hanging out with others who used drugs or alcohol. Now that you are sober, you have to distance yourself from these people. Not being able to hang out with your social group regularly can also leave you feeling bored, lonely and isolated.
- No longer sure what you enjoy. Addiction has a way of robbing people of their identities. It’s very possible that you don’t even know what you like anymore. It will take time to rediscover your hobbies and passions. But until then, you might find yourself feeling bored as you’re not sure how to spend your time.
Dangers of Boredom in Addiction Recovery
Having too much time on your hands can be a problem for most people, but it’s downright dangerous for someone going through addiction recovery. When you feel bored for too long, it can cause you to feel resentful and look elsewhere for entertainment and excitement. Some of the things that you might do to fill the gaps are:
- Overspend your money on things you don’t need
- Stay inside and isolate yourself from others
- Engage in hazardous or illegal behaviors like gambling or theft
- Swap your substance abuse addiction for another like technology or shopping
- Have risky, unprotected sex
- Spend time with negative influences
- Return to drugs or alcohol
How to Overcome Boredom in Recovery
Everything in addiction recovery takes time. You might feel bored when you transition home from outpatient rehab in Phoenix AZ, but this state is not forever. However, in order to become less bored, you must rediscover your passions, talents and interests. This takes time, but you will get there.
Here are some of the best ways you can overcome boredom in recovery:
Join a support group
It’s important to spend time with groups of people in recovery, but you have to choose the right people. The best place to find instant friends is through a support group. You can choose any support group that feels comfortable to you – a 12-step group, SAMHSA self-help or peer support group or a group your doctor or therapist recommends. Participating in these meetings allow you to form connections with people who understand what you’re going through.
Try new activities
Keep an open mind in recovery – this is a period of self-discovery. Try some of the activities you used to enjoy before your addiction and see if they offer you any enjoyment. If they don’t, try something new. Don’t feel discouraged, as it’s possible that you have different interests now, and that’s okay. The key is to find new types of enjoyment such as walking with a friend, registering for a cooking class, coaching a sports team or reading books at the library.
Balance your schedule
When clients complain about being bored, we look at their schedule. Sometimes, they have too much time that’s unaccounted for. If this is the case for you, you can benefit from rearranging your schedule. Maybe start the day off with a walk, meet a friend for coffee on Wednesdays or volunteer at a local organization a handful of times a week. The trick is to structure your days so that you’re not bored but also not overwhelmed.
Avoid time killers
Many of us reach for our phones when we’re feeling bored – and it’s not a healthy habit. Everyday things like standing in line or waiting at a red light have suddenly become a chore. Avoid mindless activities like scrolling through your news feed or constantly checking social media. You can end up wasting a lot of time this way without having any feelings of accomplishment.
Do some chores
If you’re still rediscovering your passions, you might not have any activities to fall back on yet. Pass the time by doing chores or offering to help others with their tasks. Chores are boring by nature, but we have no choice but to do them. So instead of sitting there feeling bored, you can wash the dishes or fold the laundry and be bored. Before you know it, you’ll have passed some time while getting things done.
Continuum Recovery Center Will Set You Up for Success in Recovery
Continuum Recovery Center offers various levels of care to treat those with substance abuse and mental health disorders. We introduce our clients to a variety of coping mechanisms that can combat boredom such as mindfulness, meditation and art/music therapy. We also provide all clients with an aftercare plan that they can follow when they return home.
To start your journey to recovery, contact Continuum Recovery Center today. We are here for you regardless of where you are in the recovery journey.