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Is Boredom – Not Withdrawal Symptoms – the True Enemy in Recovery?

A new study out of Denmark suggests that it’s not the cravings or physical withdrawal symptoms that come with detox that are causing patients to relapse but boredom with sober life that is the biggest obstacle to clean and sober living.

It seems like it would be a selling point to recovery. Without the 24-hour hustle of securing more drugs to maintain an addiction, addicts are free to live the life of their dreams – literally, any life that they choose to pursue with passion. However, the actions of participants who took part in the study indicate the contrary.

How Do You Fill the Time?

The study participants were all given state-sponsored doses of heroin twice a day to make sure that they avoided all withdrawal symptoms but also avoided ingesting toxic doses or amounts of heroin so that they could slowly be weaned off the drug completely. It’s not a practice undertaken in the United States, but in some countries, it’s the equivalent of our methadone programs.

With no withdrawal symptoms to plague them and no concern about how or where they would get their next dose, participants were free to fill their time as they pleased. Their response?

According to Mette Guul, head of a center for abused women and prostitutes who take part in the state-funded heroin detox program, her residents often don’t know what to do with themselves: “The women say they are lonely, bored and do not know what to do now that they do not have to chase the drugs anymore.”

In response, the center began offering more recreational programs for residents that included trips out into the community or the wilderness, cooking classes, knitting classes, and more.

Starting a New Life Without Drugs: A Daunting Task

It’s no small task to start a new life for yourself after addiction. With literally innumerable options, it can feel overwhelming. How do you meet new people? Take the first steps toward a new career? Decide what you want if you don’t know? It’s a problem that every single person in recovery faces. How do they do it? They:

  • Consider their resources. Are their classes, counseling, or life coaching available to you? Find out what you can access.
  • Take the plunge. Resources are useless if you don’t take advantage of them.
  • Follow through. If you start a class, do the homework, keep showing up, and finish the course. If you apply for a job, go back and inquire about it – and then call again, and if you don’t get it, repeat the process until you get hired.
  • Find support. Stress can come from the social aspect of sober life, learning how to schedule and manage your time successfully, or figuring out how to accomplish the basics like getting a photo ID or setting up a bank account and paying rent. Get the help you need from people who care.

A sober and balanced life starts with effective treatment. Contact us today at Orchid Recovery Center and find out how we can help you conquer addiction and take the first step toward your life in recovery.

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