One of the most common fears people have when they’re considering getting help for addiction is that sobriety will be boring. They worry they will never have fun again. Drinking and drug use has been their focus for so long that it’s hard to imagine anything else could be as fun and satisfying. What’s more, most of their friends may still use. What are you supposed to do sober, stay home by yourself? Also, when you have a substance use disorder, there’s never any question what to do with your free time. You either use your drug of choice, or, if you don’t have any, you go find some. The prospect of having to spend your time in some other way is often daunting. However, it’s not as big of a problem as it appears to be. First, there will definitely be some boring times, especially early on. You can’t spend your time in the way you’re used to and you haven’t yet come up with something to replace it. What’s more, many people experience post-acute-withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS, in the first months of recovery. This is often characterized as a sense of emotional numbness and is thought to be caused by low levels of dopamine and other chemical imbalances that result from addiction. If your dopamine levels are very low, nothing is very interesting. You’re likely to feel bored quite often. However, this is only temporary. It will gradually go away. In the meantime, try to put boredom into perspective. Boredom is better than being broke, being in jail, being hungover, divorced, sick, or whatever else finally made you consider getting help for your substance use issue. Second, sobriety will open up a whole new range of possibilities. When you’re in the grip of substance use disorder, you pretty much do one thing. There is some comfort in that, but it’s also very restrictive. It shuts out better possibilities. Although it may take a little while to find better ways to spend your time, you will have more options than ever before. You’re only limited by your imagination and how much work you’re willing to put in. That said, it’s better to avoid boredom and loneliness if you can help it. Those tend to be triggers for people starting out in recovery. The best solution is usually to connect with other sober people. Go to a meeting, or meet someone for lunch. Consider taking a class, such as an exercise class at the gym, or a cooking class at the community college. Classes are a great way to start learning new things and meeting new people with similar interests. In a pinch, try just going out for a walk or playing a video game. We live in a time when there’s so much to entertain us that boredom is almost nonexistent for most people. Find something to do, even if it’s only a temporary distraction. You will find more stimulating and fulfilling things to do as you go.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.