Boredom. It’s that feeling we get when every second is duller than the one before it. It’s that slow, inconvenient and exhausting feeling that makes you desperately crave for excitement and entertainment.
For many people, boredom can trigger productivity – like organizing the basement or reading a book you’ve had on your mind for a while.
But for someone recovering from addiction, boredom can lead to destructive behaviors and even relapse.
Boredom and addiction have a dangerous relationship. If you or your loved one has done the hard work of getting clean, the last thing you want is for boredom to trigger a relapse. Don’t let boredom be the spark that undoes your recovery. In this article, you’ll learn why boredom often leads to relapse and 3 ways you can prevent it.
The Relationship Between Boredom and Relapse
Dealing with boredom in recovery is often much harder than it seems. Without anything engaging your mind, it’s natural to think more about what used to make you feel good – in this case, alcohol or drugs.
For example, let’s imagine that you’re waiting in line for a roller coaster at a theme park. Time absolutely slows down during moments like this one. Normally, you’d maybe people watch or you’d start to day dream or think back to memories from earlier in the day.
But as someone in recovery, this mind wandering can lead back to other thrills you once reveled in. You may start day dreaming about the euphoria you felt when getting high and wonder why you’re wasting your time waiting in a line like this. After all, getting high was always faster and much more enjoyable.
This is the danger of boredom. Without healthy, productive ways of coping with boredom, it can lead – or at the very least, tempt – you back to drug abuse.
3 Ways to Prevent Boredom
1: Reach Out to Your Support System
During treatment and throughout your recovery, you’ve developed a strong and mighty support system. This includes family members, friends, sponsors and even others going through recovery. When you’re bored and feeling restless, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell someone in your support system.
Call or go visit one of the people in your support system. See if one of them is free to hang out with you or meet you for dinner. Invite them to an AA meeting with you or just see if they’re willing to listen to you for a bit. Talking and spending time with your support system can help keep you grounded and fix the boredom you’re feeling.
2. Practice Mindfulness
In essence, mindfulness is the practice of being more aware of the present moment. An easy way to start is to regularly meditate. Meditation can help teach you to pour all your focus into what is happening in the here and now.
When you’re dealing with boredom in recovery, your mind can create a dangerous cycle. You can start ruminating about past drug use and how it made you feel. Mindfulness can help cut through those thoughts and temptations. It can calm your mind and break up the automatic thoughts fueling the desire to use again.
It might seem challenging at first, but by making it regular habit, mindfulness is a rewarding life skill to have. All you have to do is practice it regularly and make it part of your daily routine.
3. Participate in Engaging Activities
When fighting boredom and addiction, it’s important to fill idle time with meaningful activities. In fact, that’s why many recovery programs offer engaging experiences like exercise and equine therapy when clients aren’t in individual or group therapy sessions.
Start by brainstorming and writing down a list of activities you can like to participate in. Try to think of activities that are active and get you outside. From going on a hike to exploring a local coffee shop, have your list ready for when boredom strikes. You’d be surprised by how often a simple change of scenery can help relieve boredom and keep you from relapsing.
Find Support at Fountain Hills Recovery
Whether you’re struggling in recovery or have suffered a relapse, we’re here to help. Fountain Hills Recovery is a top-rated treatment facility committed to helping you achieve lasting recovery.
Contact us today, our admissions team is ready to help you reclaim the life you had before addiction!