It’s not uncommon to feel bored while you’re in addiction recovery. That can be especially true if you’ve turned to drugs or alcohol to improve your confidence and social life, or if you’ve commonly engaged in risk-taking behavior while under the influence.
Recovery is about learning an entirely new lifestyle. One that’s free from drugs, alcohol and other habits or coping mechanisms that are hazardous to your well-being. Part of learning a new lifestyle means taking on new hobbies and activities that can help enhance your quality of life and pass time while you’re in recovery. Undertaking new hobbies is also a good way to reduce your risk of turning to drugs or alcohol as a means to cure your boredom.
The Dangers of Boredom in Addiction Recovery
Boredom might occur in recovery because of a lack of exciting things to do, but it can also be a chemical response to reduced levels of dopamine—the chemical your brain releases after drug use. Dopamine creates intense feelings of pleasure or euphoria and without the substances you used before recovery, chances are your brain is releasing much less as you venture into sobriety. While boredom isn’t fun for anyone, it can be especially dangerous for those in recovery, who may turn to old habits to entertain themselves.
According to data published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in 2000, an estimated 40-60% of recovered addicts struggled with relapse. While more recent data is difficult to come by, it can be assumed that the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have likely resulted in an increase to those already staggering numbers.
Although relapse is a common part of the recovery process for many, it comes with extreme risks. After detox and recovery, once drugs and alcohol have cleared from your system, returning to typical pre-recovery dosages can result in a much higher overdose risk.
How to Combat Boredom in Recovery
Thankfully, you can find plenty of sober, addiction-friendly activities to keep your mind occupied throughout the recovery process. Consider some of the following activities when you’re feeling bored:
- Exercise: Exercise, including simple activities like taking a walk or going for a swim, can encourage dopamine production and help you get over boredom quickly.
- Take a class: Immerse yourself in something that interests you—take an art class, a cooking class or even a course at your local community college.
- Play music: Learn an instrument or practice on something you know how to play already.
- Join a club: Find local clubs or groups that offer the opportunity to connect with peers who share your interests—just be sure to avoid those that meet in bars or pubs.
- Find a support group: Support groups meet regularly and are a great way to help you get through your recovery journey with support from others who understand your struggles.
Start Your Recovery Journey
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, contact Baystate Recovery Center for help today. Our helpful intake counselors can work with you to discuss your available options and find a solution that fits your needs. Call us today at (855) 88-SOBER or reach out online for help.