Boredom in recovery is common. When you’re actively using substances, most of your time is spent acquiring drugs or alcohol, getting high and sleeping off the effects. But when you stop using these substances, quite a bit of time frees up. And since you’re still building skills and learning about yourself, you may not know how to fill your time.
Having too much time on your hands in early recovery can be dangerous. It can cause you to start fantasizing about drugs and alcohol, putting you at risk for relapse. It can also make you feel depressed and hopeless about your situation, which can also make it difficult to stay sober. Plus, your brain is still healing, so negative situations can feel even more intense right now.
Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate boredom in the early months of recovery. Below are some tips to make this process easier.
Understand Why You Feel Bored
First, take some time to understand why you are feeling bored. After leaving substance use behind, you’re probably noticing a lot more time on your hands. Between this and having to distance yourself from old acquaintances, it’s normal to feel bored. However, returning to substance use is not the answer.
Establish a Structured Routine
Having a structured routine is a great way to avoid boredom in early recovery. An inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program will help you develop a structured routine that includes time for exercise, meditation, therapy, etc. As you transition back home, it’s important to keep this schedule so that you avoid having large blocks of time unaccounted for.
Find New Hobbies and Pastimes
Now that you are not spending all your time using substances, you need to find new activities to fill your time. There are many activities and pastimes you can enjoy, so think about the interests you had before your addiction. Some examples of healthy hobbies in early recovery are:
- Journaling or writing
- Volunteering your time
- Joining a gym or exercising
- Blogging about your recovery journey
- Traveling, even if it’s just to a new town in your area
- Reading or doing puzzle books
- Home improvement projects
Get Active and Change Your Scenery
If you start to feel bored, get outdoors and get active. By changing your environment, you can change your mindset. Pay attention to your surroundings – the trees and flowers on your walk, the houses in your neighborhood or the dogs playing at the dog park. Also, exercise boosts endorphins, increases your heart rate and gets your blood pumping, which are all good for relieving stress and boredom.
Think About Your Spiritual Connection
Even if you’re not religious, you can still beneift from being spiritual. Spirituality is about seeking a meaningful connection with something bigger than yourself. This can be extremely powerful in early recovery as you look for purpose in your suffering. Work on strengthening your spiritual connection and spending time with others who embrace your way of thinking. This will alleviate some boredom.
Build New Friendships
Lean on your support network. Your sober friends and family can help fill some of your time, whether it’s catching a movie or going for a walk. Also, spend time learning from the members in your self-help groups. They have a good understanding of boredom, why it occurs and how to combat it.
Start Your Journey to Sobriety
Boredom is a real challenge in recovery, but it’s no different from the other emotions you will experience. By understanding why you feel bored and being open to new friendships and hobbies, you can start building a life filled with healthy activities. To start your journey to recovery, contact Spearhead Health today. Our case management services can align you with the resources you need to make your recovery a success.