How Does Boredom Make Drug Abstinence So Challenging?

For someone who’s addicted to drugs, few experiences are as painful as boredom. When you’re bored, you feel agitated and angry. Sometimes you might not care, and, other times, you’ll feel ignorant bliss. But no matter the severity of your boredom, the feeling can contribute to substance abuse later. You know you need to keep your mind occupied, but sometimes you don’t think you can. Wait until you see just how bad boredom is for your recovery.

Boredom and sadness

Boredom can make you feel lonely and empty. When you either have nothing to do or nothing to do interests you, your mind often drifts to a dark place. You can’t help but wonder if you’ll always feel this empty. And because boredom makes time move slowly, the sadness you feel is increased the longer you can’t stay occupied. Simply put, boredom and sadness go hand-in-hand. When you feel bored, you’ll feel sad, and when you feel sad, there is a very good chance you’ll feel bored. You don’t necessarily have to distinguish between the two. The point is understanding that sadness makes you want to do drugs. So, if you’re struggling with depression, or even simply feeling sad, you should always talk over your feelings with your addiction counselor. Remember, boredom and sadness create a cycle that never ends. So if you can’t overcome your sadness, at least find a way to talk about what you’re feeling. At least then, you’ll have the added benefit of passing the time.

Boredom and anger

Boredom makes you angry. Part of that comes from feeling a loss of control. You simply can’t figure out why you’re not satisfied with how you’re spending your time. That boredom makes you want to abuse substances. That’s because drugs induce pleasure and when you’re bored, that’s a feeling you’d like to experience. You can still do things like have fun with friends and go to new places, anything that’s different from what you normally do. Often, boredom comes from doing what you always do the same way. Interestingly, that means there can come a time when you even get bored of using drugs. Still, if you’re working on your recovery, know that you need to have a plan to deal with boredom. Because the anger can be strong enough to make you want to act.

Boredom and risky decision-making

Another problem with boredom is that it clouds your judgment. Instead of making decisions on your behalf, you act aggressively, irrationally, and without respect for boundaries or rules. When you’re so frustrated with boredom you don’t think you can take it, it’s tempting to want to do things that would be reckless, risky, or even dangerous. Anything to generate some excitement. But the reality is, this kind of thinking is most often a threat to your health. When you begin to think you need a major reward for everything, you find yourself chasing greater risks for less of a reward. Naturally, taking risks can generate a great thrill. But if the loss presents itself in financial duress, then clearly, you know you have a problem with risky decision-making. Simply put, if you sit too long in boredom, there’s a chance you could do things you’ll regret later. Hence, the reason to have daily activities when you’re in recovery is that you have something constructive to focus on. Remember, there are different types of boredom, so ideally, you know what it is you’re feeling. That way, you can always get ahead of your decisions.

Boredom has the power to ruin your recovery. Boredom also has the power to serve as motivation for great things. If you learn how to occupy your time, you won’t get bored. Occupying your time means choosing activities and tasks that align with your goals and visions. While you won’t always be fortunate enough to do what you want, you should fill your day with positivity. For more information on recovery and addiction, visit for essential guidance and support.

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