The Number One Enemy of Recovery
Stress? Tragedy? Surgery? Many people think that the number one enemy of recovery has to do with a stressful situation like moving, change in employment, addition to the family, or else due to something tragic, such as the death of a loved one. On a more technical basis, many think recovery is threatened by a medical situation such as major surgery that would require the use of pain medications.
While all of these can certainly jeopardize your sobriety, there’s something more insidious. In reality, Enemy Number One to your recovery is…boredom.
Why is boredom the most detrimental to recovery?
First of all, boredom has a tendency to sneak up on you. That’s why we say it’s ‘insidious.’ Boredom isn’t something that happens drastically all at once like, a death or an accident. It has a tendency to slowly creep into your daily life, even without you realizing it. When you are living in active addiction and maybe even in early sobriety, everything is topsy-turvy. There’s usually a lot of drama, excitement (good or bad), and an unknowing of what’s next. Once you get clean and sober and start putting some time together, life tends to slow down. This is mostly a good thing. For many, though, they are just as addicted to the lifestyle that goes hand-in-hand with active addiction as they are that drink or drug. Therefore, when life calms down, they tend to start feeling bored. Like there’s something missing. And that’s when they start to feel that itch to use again.
Boredom leads to Complacency
You’ve probably heard it a thousand times: becoming complacent in your recovery can lead you down the wrong path. Many times, people blame complacency for their relapse when, at the root of that is actually boredom. And that is why boredom is the number one enemy of recovery. Complacency generally means ‘contentedness’ however, in the rooms of recovery, we say it to mean becoming too comfortable. When you think about it, when you settle into a routine and then become bored with it, well, that’s how complacency starts.
Boredom is Temporary
Boredom isn’t just something that you experience from time to time when you don’t have plans or anything else pressing. It’s also a general feeling of monotony and tediousness. You’re working your recovery program and things are falling into place. You have a steady job and place to live – this might be totally new to you or something you haven’t had in a while due to your addiction. At first, it feels great to be a functioning, ‘regular’ member of society. But, inevitably, routine – as much as that’s good for people like us – begins to take its toll. We start feeling unstimulated and wonder, “What else is there?”
This is actually quite normal. Everyone experiences these thoughts and feelings. And, it’s temporary. Once you settle into a daily routine and have your basic needs taken care of, it’s time to start exploring other things – the pursuit of happiness. What are your passions? Hobbies? It’s time to find out about you and start incorporating the stuff that you enjoy into your daily life. It’s not just about working and paying bills.
Recovery from addiction means more than simply no longer using alcohol or other drugs. It means having a life beyond your wildest dreams. One in which you are happy, healthy, joyous, and most of all…free.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.