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Dealing with Boredom in Recovery

dealing with boredom in recovery

After graduation from an addiction treatment program, it is essential to keep the recovery momentum going. After all, the biggest threat to one’s long-term sobriety is their potential for relapse. Relapse can occur with the experiencing of several “triggers,” including stress, the experiencing of negative emotions like anger or grief, and social events or situations where drugs and alcohol are present. Dealing with boredom in recovery can also trigger relapse.

When one is used to the constant stimulation of substance use—from the synthetic high to the pitfall of “crashing”—the sometimes long stretches of downtime in recovery can feel overwhelming. However, dealing with boredom in recovery is crucial for maintaining sobriety and finding fulfillment in life after addiction. Below are some effective, practical strategies to manage boredom and securing a higher level of wellness.

Practice Your Coping Skills

If you’ve recently graduated from an inpatient addiction treatment program like the one offered by Northpoint Colorado, you’ve probably learned to develop a certain set of coping skills. These skills may have empowered you in the past to manage physical discomfort, regulate your emotions, and challenge underlying assumptions about yourself.

Remember, these skills can apply to boredom as well as any other uncomfortable emotion. Define, question, and explore your boredom, without judgment. Why is it the usual ways of keeping yourself busy now seem inadequate? Maybe it’s time to reevaluate your priorities or reconsider whether your actions are in line with your values. In approaching boredom this way, you’ll be better equipped to overcome it.

Establish a Routine

Having a daily routine helps establish a sense of stability in your life. Planning your days with activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being can minimize the chance of boredom creeping in. It can also provide a welcome sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Setting goals for each day, week, or month helps to add structure and narrative to one’s days. Getting in shape, learning a new skill, or pursuing your education or career goals are all gifts of purpose that not only help you in dealing with boredom in recovery, they build self-esteem.

Avoid Time Killers

With the dawn of the 21st century came a ubiquitous tool that can instantly smother boredom. It’s called the phone. Whether it’s in line at the coffee shop, while waiting for a stoplight to change, or makiung it through a long Sunday afternoon, the phone is always at the ready.

Unfortunately, looking at your phone doesn’t solve the problem. You’re not addressing the underlying causes of your boredom, and you may be aggravating it over the long term. Worse yet, time much time on your phone can instill complex and negative feelings all by itself. Numerous studies suggest that too much time on social media can stir up feelings of depression and anxiety. There’s even a slew of terms to describe the negative feelings caused by too much time on the phone: headline anxiety, doomscrolling, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

Before reaching for the phone or some other quick fix, try to keep a productive default activity at the ready. Try placing books on all open surfaces, or keep those knitting supplies in a high-traffic area. The idea is to train your brain to engage in something productive when boredom strikes.

Try Something New

Challenge yourself physically or intellectually by trying something new. This could involve taking up a language course, enrolling in an online class, or attending a workshop or seminar. Continuous learning not only stimulates the mind, it also broadens horizons, creating new opportunities for personal growth. After all, boredom can serve be a sign that it’s time for a new challenge. 

Then again, trying something new doesn’t have to be anything major. Something as simple as taking a different route to work or putting a new spin on the same old lunch can offer a fresh perspective.

Explore Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness practices such as meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you stay grounded and present in the moment. They also provide a healthy outlet for stress and anxiety, two classic relapse triggers. Dedicate time each day to mindfulness practices to cultivate inner peace and resilience against boredom and possible cravings.

Find Peer Support

Many people in recovery choose to enter a peer support group. Doing so gives one the opportunity to practice accountability and learn coping skills that can apply to real-world situations. Peer support also keeps the relapse triggers of boredom and isolation at bay.

Also, if you have completed a formal addiction treatment program, chances are you will be able to take advantage of a rehab alumni program. These programs can provide benefits that extend far beyond the time you logged in rehab. Meanwhile, numerous studies suggest that that people who actively participate in an alumni program are more likely to maintain their sobriety over the long term.

Fortunately, the alumni program at Northpoint Colorado is open to anyone who has completed an addiction treatment program at a Northpoint center. Our goal is always to help you learn the skills and provide supportive resources to aid you in your recovery journey.

Boredom is just one of many hazards in early recovery, but it’s not fundamentally different from other challenging emotions. It requires a proactive approach and a willingness to explore new avenues for diversion, growth, and personal fulfillment. Remember, recovery is not a destination but a journey. Dealing with boredom in recovery is just another step in a rewarding life that is free from addiction.

Learn More About Dealing with Boredom in Recovery with Northpoint Colorado

Relapse prevention is a lifelong goal for those who have graduated from an addiction rehab programs. The best way to achieve this goal is with the support of a proactive and well-designed prevention plan. Want to learn more about creating a relapse prevention plan? Find the help you need today from Northpoint Colorado. You can also turn to Northpoint for relapse prevention therapy during rehab. Call us today at 970.762.2353 or complete our online form.