Boredom is different from loneliness but can be equally dangerous in precipitating a lapse or relapse. Boredom is a feeling of tedium, monotony, dullness, restlessness or world weariness. Boredom can be mistaken for loneliness. It is the weariness that results from predictability in your life. It does not necessarily mean that you are doing nothing. It means you are doing nothing new. When boredom is experienced during recovery, it results in excitement-seeking behavior, which may paradoxically lead to a return to drugs and alcohol. Then the repetitive use of drugs or alcohol often results in further boredom and loneliness.
The cure for boredom is like the cure for loneliness. Try these:
- Find new activities that can be done alone and with others.
- Take the risk of meeting new people in different types of settings than you are used: go to a skating rink, curling rink or swimming pool.
- Take an active interest in other people’s needs or welfare and give of yourself: help repair or paint a relative’s home, babysit a nephew or niece, or plant a garden.
- Check for negative attitudes and dysfunctional thinking and do some self help reading.
- Develop new skills and interests.
- Update your “Exercise, Recreation and Social Activities Plan” at least every two weeks.
You must get physically moving before boredom or loneliness will lift. Don’t just sit and wait for better times. Take action. No matter how badly you feel, loneliness or boredom will diminish or disappear when you focus attention and energy on exercising, relaxation techniques such as meditation, learning new skills, and studying to excel at your work or school. Don’t wait for your feelings to get you going. Get going on creating your new identity and achieving your life goals, and your good feelings will catch up with you.