Why is Boredom Dangerous in Recovery?

Boredom was often a contributing factor in our drinking or using. We felt restless and discontent, so we filled our time with alcohol and drugs because we felt that it was the best way to pass the time. In early sobriety, it is imperative that we find healthy ways to fill our time and stay busy. Boredom is unhealthy for the average person, but for men and women in the process of recovering from addiction and alcoholism it can be disastrous.
In a 2012 Guardian article, “Is Boredom Bad for Your Health?”, Dr. John Eastwood, a psychologist at York University, Toronto, explains that boredom “has been associated with increased drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, depression and anxiety, and an increased risk of making mistakes.” Here we can see the real dangers of boredom for a person in recovery. Not only does it cause us to be at greater risk for relapse, but it also contributes to the feelings of anxiety and depression that are all too common in early sobriety. Dr. Carl E. Pickhardt, in an article for Psychology Today entitled “Bored to Death: Risks from Boredom in Adolescence”, further expands upon the dangers of boredom: “ It can feel intolerable to lose interest, to feel at a loss of purpose, to lack meaning, to feel undirected and aimless, to feel disconnected and at loose ends, to feel unmotivated, to feel trapped in tedium and monotony, to feel sapped of initiative, to feel empty of caring with nothing worth doing, to feel bored stiff, bored to tears, bored out of one’s mind, bored to death.”
As we engage in our recovery, we need purpose and meaning, to feel connected and motivated to bettering our lives as newly sober people. When we lose our sense of meaning and purpose, we begin to see little value in continuing on the path toward recovery. Boredom may lead us to letting up on our recovery program, and as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous warns: “It is easy to let up on a spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe.” With boredom comes cravings, loss of motivation, and the potential to give up on recovery altogether by relapsing in an effort to bring about some kind of excitement. However, by exploring new hobbies, activities, or engaging in our program as a way to keep our boredom at bay, we begin to grow toward a joyous life in sobriety.

Boredom doesn’t have to be a part of your story. You have the power to make changes by seeking help. Oceanfront Recovery, a men’s treatment facility in Orange County, California, offers exciting activities like hiking and yoga as part of Residential Treatment. For more information about various individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777