The Unseen Threat of Boredom in Recovery

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Recovery programs are filled with a myriad of therapeutic practices. With group therapy, individual therapy, and various experiential programs and scheduled practices, one’s time in a residential treatment facility or sober living facility can be well scheduled, with regulated time for activities and intermittent free time for self-care. 

While part of this is to help each person understand the breadth of therapeutic options available to them, there is another reason that one’s time in these programs is kept busy. Boredom can be a major hurdle throughout the recovery process, and while this may seem innocuous, it can prove to be a detriment if one’s plans are not prepared to fill this new, sober swell of time. 

There Will Be an Influx of Free Time

The engagement with addictive practices, whether it be the use of alcohol, drugs, gambling, or any other kind of addiction, takes up a large amount of time. While an individual is suffering from addiction, much of the day can be spent engaging with these addictive substances or practices, or even planning one’s day around the availability of them, taking up one’s time and brainpower. 

Addiction can compel a person to schedule their days down to the minute for when they can or cannot engage with an addiction. While the cessation of these substances is paramount for recovery to truly begin, it can immediately present a unique issue.

Those who have suffered from addiction may not have been practicing other hobbies or interests and can find themselves lost when left with this swell of free time. An individual may only know how to fill this time by engaging with addictive substances, and this new free time and boredom can be a trigger in-and-of-itself to reengage with these substances. 

Being prepared to fill this time is essential — both in being open to the programs available while in recovery as well as being prepared to schedule and fill one’s day with hobbies, interests, and self-care while outside of the recovery sphere. 

Keeping Mentally and Physically Active

Boredom has both a mental and physical component, and both must be addressed in order to quell urges and prevent gaps in one’s day effectively. While addressing one’s physical boredom by getting the body moving is undoubtedly helpful, mental stimulation is also necessary to keep one’s mind healthy and busy with sober thoughts and goals, rather than reverting back to thoughts of reengaging with an addictive substance or practice. 

Likewise, an individual may be stimulating their minds, but a body at rest can fall back into previous routines if unaddressed. Developing a way to combat this boredom on both fronts is essential to a holistic approach to this unique hurdle. 

Creating a Plan to Combat Boredom

Addressing boredom doesn’t mean that an individual needs to always be involved in a recovery program. Rather, combating boredom simply means that an individual needs to have a way to direct their energy in whatever way they see fit, so long as it continues to align with the sober goals they have set for themselves. 

Taking practices from one’s time in residential or sober living can create a great baseline for addressing boredom outside of the recovery sphere. Translating dedicated times for self-care and effective practices such as yoga and time for meditation can all be effective ways to set up a great framework even while outside of the recovery sphere. 

Creating Physical and Mental Self-Care Plans

Since boredom is physical and mental in nature, it is important to have ways to address both sides of it throughout one’s day. However, this doesn’t mean that an individual has to do them both at the same time. While things like music, dance, sport, equine therapy, and art involve both the body and mind, it is also possible that an individual finds that they respond especially well to cinema or media therapy to stimulate their minds. 

This can be a great tool for addressing the mental side of boredom. However, it may also be appropriate to incorporate a physical component in one’s day, such as going on a routine walk or jog or doing some gardening can all keep the body moving and distract from falling back into old habits. 

Reducing Boredom in Recovery

Boredom is something that many don’t consider when embarking on their recovery journey or when moving from a sober living facility to living on their own in the “real world.” However, it is a very real hurdle, and it may take some dedication to continue reprogramming one’s body from gravitating towards previously destructive behavior when bored in an effort to fill time in the only way an individual may know how. 

Scheduling one’s days out in advance, creating physical and mental hobbies, and keeping busy with recovery programs and self-care can all help to mitigate the impact of boredom and continue to help define one’s sober life going forward. 

Boredom can be a unique hurdle throughout your recovery, and it is important to fill one’s day with effective recovery practices and personalized self-care techniques. At Everlast Recovery, we are prepared to help you create an individualized approach to your day that can help you fill your time with the best and most applicable practices for your unique situation. With personalized therapeutic approaches, such as art, music, and other experiential therapies, we can help you create a base for you to build upon and fill your day with sober hobbies, interests, and structure. Our supportive community of peers and professionals can provide a swell of new ideas, as well as a consistent air of support while you discover your best practices and new, sober identity. For more information on how we can help you tackle this unseen threat of boredom in recovery or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.

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