For many people with addiction, it gets to the point where they’re under the influence even when occupied with some sort of activity or responsibility. Work? I function better when I’m high anyways. Big exam tomorrow? Doing this line of coke will help me study. Baby nephew’s 1st birthday party? Might as well start cracking open some beers now. When there’s nothing to do, it can be even worse.
Maybe you’ve had similar thoughts. It’s not a surprise; thoughts like these make perfect sense when you have an addiction. You’re bored and you’ve got nothing to do so why not use drugs or alcohol?
After a while, though, you may come to terms with your addiction and decide you’ve had enough. You’re ready to kick your habit and you check into rehab. You walk out of there weeks later as a new person—clean, optimistic and rejuvenated. You’re ready to live a new and better life, free of drugs and alcohol.
That is, until you fall victim to boredom once more and the temptation begins to kick in.
Boredom in Recovery: An Overlooked Relapse Trigger
A factor in the addiction recovery process that is perhaps overlooked by some is boredom. When you enter rehab, your main concern is overcoming your addiction and getting sober. While in rehab, you’re constantly occupied and your mind is kept busy. You’re so focused on the current moment that you may not be giving much thought about when you get out—being on your own again and with a lot of spare time. If you have nothing to do to keep yourself busy or entertained, you may begin to have those dark thoughts about using once again.
Relapse occurs for many people just like that, but it doesn’t have to be that way for you or your loved one. It’s important for recovering addicts to be mindful of boredom and the devastating consequences it can have. Learning how to cope with boredom is one of the most important skills they can learn to prevent relapse. Here are a few techniques and solutions that recovering addicts can adopt to help them cope with boredom:
Pick up a Hobby
The breakdown is quite simple: you’re on drugs—you have something to do; you get off drugs—you don’t have something to do. You need something to fill the void in your life that was previously held by drugs and alcohol. Finding a new hobby or interest is a great way to fill this void.
Maybe you or someone you know has tried to quit smoking cigarettes before. A lot of people try to combat the psychological need to smoke by chewing gum or sunflower seeds, which keeps their mouth and hands busy. This is a similar concept, although this void will require more than just gum and seeds.
You need to find something that peaks your interest. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but addiction was limiting your capabilities and motivation. Now that you’ve ditched the drugs that were holding you back, here’s your chance to give it a go. This is the perfect time to pick up that guitar you’ve been wanting to learn how to play, start working out, learn how to paint or join a cooking class. You can also consider hobbies you used to enjoy doing before your addiction and pick those back up.
Find a New Thrill
Many addicts are self-proclaimed “adrenaline junkies” who are constantly seeking exciting (sometimes even dangerous¬) activities to do because they love the feeling of an adrenaline rush. Unfortunately for a lot of them, it’s this compulsive desire for excitement that led to them becoming addicted to drugs in the first place. Even if you’ve never felt the urge to do any wild or crazy stunts before, as a recovering addict, you still possess similar qualities. Seeking the thrill and chase of a high is just like seeking the thrill and chase of adrenaline, and what you may need is to replace the first one with the later.
There are many healthy and alternative thrills you can chase that can give you the same satisfaction as drugs did. This can be as simple as seeing an intense, scary movie, or riding roller coasters at an amusement park. There’s a number of exciting hobbies you can get in to, like mountain biking or paintball. You can go zip lining or white-water rafting, or even skydiving! There’s plenty of ways to get a rush without doing drugs, just make sure you do it safely—with proper safety gear and professional supervision.
Volunteering is a win-win situation for everybody involved. For you, it is a great way to stay busy and spend your spare time. Instead of sitting around and thinking about yourself and your problems, your focus shifts to others and their issues. Studies show that volunteering can improve your mood and well-being, while also giving you the opportunity to meet people and make new friends.
The other side of it is that you are helping others and making a difference in your local community! Whether it’s doing yard work for an elderly neighbor, making meals for the homeless or helping out at an animal shelter, you’re making an impact and contributing to something bigger than yourself.
Overcome Addiction and Learn How to Prevent Relapse with Footprints Beachside Recovery
Footprints Beachside Recovery Center is a holistic substance abuse treatment center that believes in treating the whole person by healing the mind, body and spirit. We specialize in treating all kinds of addiction and preparing our clients for life after rehab, by proactively addressing potential challenges and issues before they occur. We implement a unique and individualized relapse prevention plan while still in treatment, giving people the awareness to identify the early stages of relapse and the tools needed to avoid those pitfalls.
Learn more about our addiction treatment programs and our relapse prevention plan and contact us today. Our professional and caring staff is ready to help you or your loved one get sober and stay sober.