After transitioning from treatment to the home environment it is common to experience feelings of boredom and loneliness. While in treatment, your days were jam-packed with therapeutic activities, and now that you are home life can feel a bit dull.
Those in recovery can expect boredom and listlessness while the body readjusts its dopamine production and intake to a state of sobriety. Remember that recovery from substance use is a physical process with mental effects caused by alterations in brain chemistry.
In the early months of recovery, it is essential to take a proactive approach against boredom, as it is a powerful trigger to substance relapse. By anticipating that feelings of boredom will occur, and having a plan in place, you can reduce the threat of boredom to sobriety. Continue reading to learn helpful tips for managing boredom in recovery.
Sober Activity Tips
Maintaining sobriety requires an ongoing and mindful effort. It isn’t enough to merely want to be sober—you must actively carve out a new sober lifestyle. This means adding daily and weekly routines that will help to stave off the culprits of boredom, loneliness, and stress through sober activities.
Consider these four tips for keeping boredom in check:
- Understand why you feel bored. After leaving substance use behind, many will begin to notice they have more time on their hands. Between this, and avoiding old acquaintances from the substance use days, boredom can ensue. Being able to recognize the reason for your boredom can help spur you to take action.
- Stay connected. In many ways, boredom and loneliness seem to go hand in hand. Even when we have nothing exciting to do, as long as we are in the company of a good friend our recovery is still protected. Understand the need to stay socially connected to friends and family to both avoid boredom and guard sobriety.
- Develop new sober friendships. If you have few people in your life who are safe to be around in recovery, you must be willing to make new friends. It is important to be proactive. Don’t be shy about seeking out and cultivating new sober friendships.
- Try a new hobby. Early recovery is a great time to explore some new hobbies. A new hobby captures your time and attention, as there is usually a learning curve involved. Developing a new hobby brings a sense of accomplishment, as well as a productive new pastime to fill that spare time.
Sober Activities to Try in Recovery
Consider these engaging sober activities to combat boredom:
- Start a Fitness Group. Organize a hiking, running, or cycling club. A sober fitness group helps you get regular exercise while also providing needed social time.
- Take up Paddle boarding. If you live near a lake or the ocean you can try out paddle boarding. This activity has become a very popular pastime, as it is both relaxing and invigorating at the same time.
- Get Involved in Volunteer Work. What better way to battle boredom than to engage in charity work? Look for some local community volunteer opportunities and offer your services.
- Register for a Class. If you have an interest in a particular topic or in learning a new skill, check out the local community college for inexpensive and convenient classes.
- Nourish your Soul. Even quiet pursuits can help alleviate boredom. Cultivate your spiritual side with prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading when boredom hits.
Overcoming boredom is an essential coping tool in early recovery. Create a handy list of boredom-busting activities to deploy when you find yourself with too much free time on your hands.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, and provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.