Stay Busy to Stay Sober

For some people, when boredom shows up in their life, it’s time to get high. With too much time on their hands, their thoughts may begin to get the best of them. Or it might not have anything to do with the way their feeling or thinking, but simply a desire to have some fun can prompt someone to use drugs or drink when they’re bored. In fact, researchers have found that for a segment of the population, there is a strong relationship between boredom and substance use.

In fact, being bored can be the beginning of substance use. Boredom can trigger someone to begin experimenting with alcohol or drugs. And of course, boredom can keep a person returning to a drug again and again. Eventually, the continued use of a drug can lead to an addiction. In fact, for some people, it is the apparent thrill of drinking and drug use that prompts them to want to continue to use. For this reason, feeling bored can often be associated with cravings. Furthermore, boredom can lead a person to relapse in their recovery.

In fact, some people want to avoid the feelings of boredom in their lives as much as possible which is precisely why they avoid recovery. Some men and women believe that once they get sober, they will return to living a boring life. Despite the problems that their substance use brings, they continue to use in order to maintain a level of excitement in life.

If you know that boredom has played a role in your substance use and you’re trying to stay sober, you might consider the following tips:

Plan ahead. If you know that you’re going to be alone for a few days, perhaps you’re not working or your housemate is going out of town, then plan to schedule all your free time. You might make a plan to visit friends, volunteer, finish the art project you started, or work extra hours. You might also talk with your sponsor about how to occupy yourself during the free time that you have.

Find ways to entertain yourself. If you’re the type of person who gets bored easily with the same old routine, see if you can change it from time to time. You might take the scenic route to work, dress differently on occasion, or ask for a new place to sit at work. You might spend the night at a friend’s house instead of at home. Or you might take the day off once per month and take a drive somewhere. If your daily schedule feels like it’s getting old, see if there’s a way you can make changes to it.

Schedule more pleasant activities. If you know that you have plenty of work or chores to do, the anticipation of that can stir up feelings of boredom. To avoid this, make sure you’re planning experiences of enjoyment and pleasure in your week.

These are suggestions for avoiding boredom in your life, especially if you’re trying to stay sober. If boredom has triggered substance use in the past, then try to stay busy to stay sober.


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