Thanks to Lisa M. Hann, author of How to Have Fun in Recovery and 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober, for this helpful guest post about how to deal with boredom when you're clean and sober.

Boredom in Sobriety

Life gives us a variety of challenges, and sometimes our emotions seem to be on a roller coaster ride. We’re up, and we’re down, and we cope as best we can. Sometimes, however, we’re just…flat. We’re neither up nor down, and we’re bored. Sometimes life just gets boring.

In addiction recovery, the boredom that seems so unassuming is actually surprisingly dangerous. Boredom is a common cause of relapse. If a former addict finds sobriety to be boring and unenjoyable, using again can seem tempting and exciting. This is why it’s so important to beat boredom in recovery as quickly as you can. Here are some tips:

Accept Boredom, and Be Grateful

Especially in early recovery, it’s important to realize and accept that boredom is a natural emotion that you will feel from time to time. Consider how different your life is in recovery compared to when you were addicted. In addiction, you rarely felt bored because you were filling your time with plenty of unhealthy activities and related drama. The “boredom” you feel is the result of living a responsible, healthy, sober life. Instead of wallowing in boredom, be proud of yourself for changing your lifestyle and be grateful for the calm.

Redefine “Fun” in Recovery

Ask yourself, What does “fun” really mean? When you’re bored, what would you like to be doing? Sometimes your definition of fun needs to change. During your addiction, you may have been having “fun” while you used drugs or alcohol, and that part of your life is over. You need to find new activities that you enjoy, and it can be as simple as watching a TV show you like or taking up a new hobby. Your definition of “fun” will need to change, just like you did.

Follow Your Recovery Plan

You should have a plan in place for your recovery, and it may include things like going to 12-step meetings, seeing a counselor, or doing volunteer work. When you’re following your recovery plan, you’re doing things with your time. You’ll have less free time, and therefore less time to feel bored. If you don’t have a recovery plan, it’s time to make one.

Seek Out Support

It’s so important to have a support system in recovery, and your support system can really come in handy when you’re bored. Your friends and family members will be there for you to help you beat your boredom. Just picking up the phone to talk to someone can be enough distraction. When you have sober friends, you’ll also have a more active social life. Friends and social activities will do a great deal to alleviate boredom. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your support system, and make an effort to spend time with others as often as you can. You’ll have a lot more fun that way.

Boredom is never a fun thing to feel, but it doesn’t have to last. As long as you’re willing to do what it takes to combat boredom, your recovery won’t be in jeopardy. Everyone gets bored sometimes, but a sober lifestyle will always be more fun than addiction.

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