Recovery from addiction is a time of significant change. Those navigating their first steps outside of a center for alcohol and drug treatment and establishing a new, sober lifestyle will face many changes to their daily routine.
Addiction takes over many aspects of one’s life and affects one’s physical and mental health. Active substance use disorder (SUD) tends to fill up one’s day-to-day schedule. The elimination of the use of addictive substances from one’s life often frees up a large number of hours. This newly “free” time can be both an opportunity and a difficult stressor. Preparing for the threat of boredom and creating an active, engaged schedule are crucial steps to guarding one’s sobriety.
One’s time in a dedicated recovery program is often filled with new experiences, activities, and programs, including individual and group therapy sessions. While this is done to expose those navigating their newfound sobriety to new relationships and hobbies, it is also a key aspect in continuing to battle the threat of boredom. Engaging in interpersonal activities and social gatherings can be a core part of maintaining one’s sobriety inside and outside of rehab in Hawaii.
The use of addictive substances can take up much of one’s daily life, often dominating one’s thoughts from the moment one wakes up throughout the day. Overcoming addiction is more than embracing strategies to cease the use of addictive substances. Long-term recovery also requires replacing one’s use of drugs and alcohol with new practices and routines.
The Threat of Boredom
Free time can seem like a wonderfully relaxing opportunity for many, but it can also spawn stresses and urges for those navigating the early stages of recovery. Unfilled time may even trigger a relapse in some individuals. The open hours may compromise their motivation to continue their recovery, or they may feel compelled to fill this blank time on impulse. From compulsively spending money to reengaging with drugs or alcohol, boredom can birth or reignite any number of unhealthy coping strategies.
Others may develop other unhealthy practices due to boredom that impacts one’s mental health. Thrill-seeking behaviors can open an individual up to more high-risk scenarios in recovery. In contrast, others may use excessive social media or “doomscrolling,” exposing themselves to content that is not conducive to their sustained sobriety.
Sources of Boredom
Boredom can manifest for various reasons, and identifying the reasons behind one’s boredom can inform the best approach to addressing the situation. For some, boredom results from a lack of motivation and can be an effect of inconsistent goal-setting or feeling as if one’s goals are perpetually out of reach. Regardless of why boredom manifests, it is essential to address it to prevent it from developing into self-destructive behaviors.
Combatting Boredom in Daily Life
Scheduling one’s day with personal activities, responsibilities, and continued engagement in active sober practices is essential for combatting the adverse effects of boredom. Keeping one’s mind and body busy can reinforce a healthy lifestyle and identity. Each individual will have their own best practices and activities to keep their days full, and finding each individual’s best outlet is crucial for maintaining one’s sober transformations.
Keeping involved in recovery efforts is essential. One’s journey with recovery and sobriety is never “completed,” and there will be newfound stresses and people along the way. Starting or continuing to engage in outpatient therapy, cultural groups, volunteer opportunities, and community gatherings can all be great ways to continually involve oneself with others and create a healthy routine complete with regular outlets and interests.
Take Pride in Hobbies
Scheduling time for hobbies and actively exploring one’s interests is a core part of effective recovery. Hobbies can be anything an individual enjoys, from artistic endeavors to sports, board games, reading books, or watching films. It is never “too late” to explore new hobbies or interests. Treating one’s hobbies and interests as essential parts of recovery is a great way to engage in effective self-care while combatting boredom and creating a healthier, happier lifestyle.
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Make Use of Digital Resources
While excessive use of social media can be a detriment to one’s recovery, the digital landscape can also be a great way to engage in effective mental stimulation. Using digital spaces to learn new skills, look up recipes, or connect with others who share one’s interests and hobbies can be a great way to keep connected while developing personal skills and a sober social circle. However, it is essential to manage one’s social media use to ensure that it does not become determinantal to one’s sobriety.
Keep Updating Your Goals
Ensuring that one’s goals are in reach is paramount for maintaining motivation. However, it is essential to update one’s goals throughout recovery. One’s goals, needs, and milestones will evolve as one continues to develop a sober lifestyle. Accomplishing a specific goal, such as beginning to take new classes or maintaining work attendance, should be celebrated. However, they can always be further built upon, and feeling as if one has somehow “accomplished” being sober can lead to unnecessary stresses, overconfidence, and even boredom in one’s daily life.
Boredom can be an unseen stressor throughout recovery, and we at Hawaii Island Recovery understand the need for a truly transformed, active lifestyle in sobriety. We pride ourselves on being the catalyst for a breadth of new ideas and opportunities, blending proven therapeutic modalities with continued cultural experiences, experiential programming, and ongoing social opportunities. Our rehab in Hawaii is committed to treating the individual as a whole, helping impart effective coping strategies for overcoming addiction while creating a new lifestyle and perspective in sobriety to combat the effects of boredom and scaffold continued effective routines and practices. From your first step into detox to residential and outpatient care, we are prepared to help support you throughout each step of your journey. For more information on how we can best support you after finishing treatment with us, call (866) 390-5070 today.