Conquering Boredom in Recovery
There are a lot of time consuming aspects of being an addict in active addiction. It seems that every moment of your day is spent thinking about drugs (wishing you had them, or how to go about getting them), finding drugs, using drugs, or recovering from using drugs. With so much time dedicated to the activities of active addiction, one of the biggest challenges in recovery is how to fill up the time that was spent dedicated to perpetuating the cycle of addiction.
Recovery is about getting to know who you really are while remaining clean and sober. Part of discovering who you are is by trying new things. Make a list of new things you would like to try – a hobby you have always wanted to take up or visiting places you have always wanted to go. Boredom in recovery can be alleviated by learning more about yourself and the things you enjoy.
Goal setting in recovery can also be helpful in fighting boredom. Now that you are clean and sober, what would you like to accomplish? Perhaps you would like to take a class at a community college, or go back to school to earn a degree. Maybe you want to dedicate yourself to being a better parent and spend more time with your children. Your goal can even be as simple as improving your physical health by eating healthy, exercising, and getting adequate sleep. Whatever your goal, focusing on the things you want to accomplish will not only keep you motivated, but fight boredom as well.
While conquering boredom by working on enhancing your mind and body are important in recovery, honoring your spiritual self is just as important. If you already have a connection to your concept of spirituality, your time can be spent doing things to strengthen this connection and make you feel more at peace. If religion and spirituality has never been your thing, start thinking about your concept of a higher power, or what having a spiritual life means to you. Connecting to a power greater than yourself is one of the biggest gifts of recovery; taking the time to find it and develop it can be a major task in recovery.
Another way to fight boredom in recovery is by taking the time to give back to others. One of the most helpful things you can do in recovery is to make a list of all of the things you are grateful for. This not only serves to give you a new positive perspective on your life, but may inspire you to show your gratitude for these things by volunteering your time to help others, or even just saying thank you to those that have helped and supported you when you needed it most.
While feeling bored is quite normal, especially in early recovery, it is important to know what to do in order to deal with these feelings and refocus your energy on something positive in order to avoid relapse. Overcoming boredom in recovery might not just serve to change your life for the better and keep you on track, but may also be able to positively affect the lives of others as well.
Jessica Parks is a certified alcohol and drug counselor in the state of Illinois and has her M.A. in art therapy counseling.