When Nothing Else Is Happening

Fleeting moments of boredom are universal, and are often what drives us to stop what we are doing and shift to something that we hope will be more stimulating. What were you doing before you started reading this? Were you fully focused on another article? Or doing the crossword? Organizing your day? Or were you staring out of the window, feeling restless and bored?   Boredom has been associated with increased drug and alcohol abuse, overeating, depression and anxiety, and an increased risk of making mistakes.

Some of the boredom we feel can be attributed to the shift from a substance using to a substance free lifestyle. When contrasted with the emotional heights and lows of substance use, an abstinent life can seem dull. The brain still is adjusting to the lack of substances. While the brain heals, you may feel listless or bored. The period from 2 to 4 months into mending is often characterized by emotional flatness and boredom.

Boredom is a precursor to relapse. For many individuals, boredom is a trigger, when they were bored, they would resort to using a substance. Unless we take some action, the boredom and the relapse risk that accompanies it, will not dissipate. To have a successful healing, we need to continue to make progress. Standing still can mean losing ground. We need to take action to combat the disinterest that boredom represents. The danger of boredom is that it encourages you just to float along. Before we know it, we can drift from abstinence into relapse. The most important thing we can do is take an active role in your healing. Encouraging some kind of process and working forward toward a goal, taking up a hobby, planning a vacation, starting a friendship or help someone move forward in their improvement plans.

There are some ways we can reduce feelings of boredom, for example, scheduling every hour of the day help you identify unplanned sections of time that can be used to explore interesting activities. Staring new hobbies or picking up interests that were abandoned while we were using is a good way to defeat boredom. Some of us schedule something that we can look forward to, a long weekend, a visit with family, a concert, or a movie. It also may help us to discuss our feelings of boredom with a spouse, loved one or trusted friend. Starting new friendships with substance free people can also help alleviate your boredom.

The feeling of boredom comes from a perception that nothing around you is happening, at least anything interesting. Boredom is not a choice you make for yourself; none the less, you are likely to believe it is the outside world that is failing to hold your attention. It is importance for us to know that as your body and mind adjust to healing, it is entirely dependent on the kind of person you are and what is actually going on in your life that boredom will become less of an issue as there are many different things worthy of your attention.