Boredom in Recovery: What Now?

Everyone feels bored at times. During recovery, boredom often shows itself. There can be many reasons for this. Perhaps you’ve created healthy routines, but now you find yourself doing the same thing every day. This feels monotonous and causes you to have a dim outlook on your recovery. You may feel bored while attending 12-Step meetings. Furthermore, you may feel boredom during social situations that other people seem to be enjoying. Regardless of the reason for your boredom, acknowledging your feelings of boredom in recovery is the first step in overcoming them.

Knowing how to battle boredom when it happens can help you stay active and committed to your goals in recovery. This article will provide hope, encouragement, and tips to help you to keep going, even when you experience boredom in recovery.

How Did I End Up With Boredom in Recovery?

What causes boredom in recovery? There is no simple answer to this question. Boredom can happen for a variety of reasons. When you were actively using substances, you were often engaging in or thinking about that substance. Being in active addiction could have been exciting to you on a surface level. Your brain was always anticipating the next high. At that point, stimulation came from activities related to your addiction.

Being in recovery can change those brain patterns. As the substance is no longer a part of your life, your brain is in the process of building new neural pathways for experiencing a sense of reward and pleasure. In some ways, it was easier to feel stimulated at the beginning of recovery. During treatment, everything may have been exciting as you experienced things sober for the first time in a while. Your brain was stimulated with new events and thoughts. You also learned to eliminate people, places, and things that didn’t promote a healthy lifestyle.

As time passed, you may have begun to feel redundant within the same routines and structure. Perhaps now you are also feeling bored because you are not challenging yourself within your recovery.

The Brain and Boredom in Recovery

Having a substance use disorder (SUD) changes how the brain operates. The changes can be significant and may not subside simply because you stop using the drug of choice. Addictive substances stimulate what’s called reward pathways in the brain. When these pathways become stimulated by addictive substances, the brain changes in a way that prevents “normal” everyday activities from feeling pleasurable.

This creates a cycle of illicit substance use and eventually leads to needing the substance to feel “normal.” This pattern presents significant challenges during recovery. It’s natural to want to create that sense of “high” that the substances had created. This is a major reason a feeling of boredom may occur. Things that used to bring excitement seem dull. Don’t panic, this is normal. What’s more, there are ways to overcome this type of boredom in recovery.

Helpful Hints for Overcoming Boredom in Recovery

There are several strategies you can utilize to help overcome boredom during long-term recovery. Some examples include:

#1. Practice Gratitude

Whether it is in the morning or at night, take several minutes and write down several things you are grateful for. These items can be anything you want them to be. Gratitude changes the way you think. If you want to change your life, start with gratitude.

#2. Join a Support Group

There are many community support groups that offer hope, encouragement, and connection. An alumni program may be what you are searching for. This type of program is dedicated to people in recovery and provides healthy support on your terms. Often these groups schedule social outings and athletic activities to keep you active and engaged in life.

#3. Try Something New

Have you been thinking about learning how to line dance? Try a beginning dance class. Have you wanted to try yoga? Try a tutorial. Whatever you want to do, there is no time like the present to get started. It’s okay to branch out and try something outside of your comfort zone.

#4. Journal Write

Grab a pen and paper. Write until your fingers hurt. Utilize this space as a dumping ground for your inner thoughts and emotions. Pour it all onto paper. See if any new ideas come to light that may provide a new direction. You may also discover underlying reasons for your current state of boredom.

Continuing the Recovery Journey

As mentioned above, everyone gets bored at times during their lives. This can be addressed in a variety of ways. You have to determine what works for you. Not all things will work for everyone. Be kind to yourself, have patience, and continue down your path of recovery. You have come this far in your recovery and you have a bright future ahead of you. Acknowledging your feelings is a big step in taking power over your life. Keep in mind that you have done a great job thus far. As you continue with your recovery, help is always available when you reach out for support.

Being bored happens in everyone’s life. During recovery, boredom often happens as well. This is natural. What matters is what you do with your feelings and how you work to overcome them. If your boredom is ongoing, it is important to reach out for support with these feelings. At The Guest House, we are there to guide you to create a long-term healthy life. We understand the challenges that come with recovery. We want to help you through your feelings of stagnation or boredom. If you or someone you know is struggling with boredom within recovery, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (855) 483-7800. We are standing by and are ready to help.