Bored of Being Sober?
Isn't it boring being sober? That's what a lot of people are put off by when they think of being a newly sober alcoholic or putting down the drugs.
It's understandable that people feel that way, because after all being trapped in addiction is usually a time of high drama, and it's very, very time-consuming in itself. All that time spent hiding, lying, conniving and recovering – no wonder your life is feeling empty now you're sober.
Being bored is, perhaps surprisingly to non-addicts, a major cause of relapse. And that's why it's vital for people in recovery to fill their time. A lot of the old haunts will have gone, at least for now. You may have to have left some friends behind.
So what do you do when you're newly sober? Embrace it, enjoy it and start living your life again.
Discover who you are
When you're coming out of the fog, it's often been many years since you really knew who you were – so get exploring. Try new activities, find out what you like. Commit to something you used to enjoy before you got involved in addiction or start learning something totally new.
I can not emphasise enough how important it is to find other people you can be around sober. Find a forum with other people in recovery, join a meet-up group - either one for teetotallers or one that is unlikely to involve drinking.
Stop waiting for the phone to ring, and organise things to do for yourself.
Spend time healing your body
Cooking new and nutritious things is an awesome way to spend some time looking after yourself. Plan a whole day of menus and start creating. Really good experimental cooking can take up a lot of the day, especially if you go to the market to pick up fresh produce.
And although sometimes we don't feel like it, exercise is a great way to get well and improve your mood, too. Find something you enjoy, whether it's walking, table tennis, martial arts or jogging, get active. Your body will thank you.
Be grateful it's only boredom
If you do end up spending a day in the doldrums, remember boredom will not kill you. Addiction will. Write a list of all the things you are grateful for being able to do now you are sober – and do them!
Don't let yourself believe in boredom
Boredom is only in the mind – only you can create it. Boredom is the absence of you doing anything. You have the power to control that, so get going!
by Beth Burgess, Therapist and author of The Recovery Formula, The Happy Addict, and What Is Self-Esteem?