Boredom in Recovery

Think for a moment about how much of your time and attention was focused on your drug of choice when you were still involved in your addiction to alcohol or other drugs.  There was the time you spent actually using drugs, but there was also the time you spent under the influence of drugs and the time you spent acquiring drugs.  While you were under the influence of drugs, you were likely not able to do much of anything else.  Acquiring drugs involved not just getting the drugs from your dealer; it also involved the process of getting the resources (e.g. money) that you needed to purchase drugs.  This does not even count the time you spent thinking about drugs or recovering from the influence of drugs.  A substantial part of your time was focused on drugs.

Once you begin the process of recovery, the time previously spent on drugs is now empty hours that you may not know what to do with.  This reality creates a certain amount of boredom.  You have a whole lot of time that used to be occupied by your addiction.  You must find a way to fill that empty time.  It’s important to realize that your mind, your thoughts, will naturally be attracted to your previous behavior.  When you terminate that behavior, you have to find some way to occupy the time you previously spent on drugs.  It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum.  When you stop using drugs, it creates a kind of vacuum in your life, time that you may not know what to do with.


Further, you must find positive ways to fill that time.  Often, people who want to stop using alcohol or other drugs end up adopting a different behavior to occupy the time they used to spend on drugs.  They may start smoking, for example.  People who have started to recover from drug use might start drinking instead.  Among other terms, this is known as ‘transferring your addiction’ or ‘cross addiction’.  In such cases, the person remains a victim of addiction.  They just become addicted to something different.  This is not really recovery.  It is really just replacing one addiction with another.  Freed from sin by the gift of faith in Jesus Christ, it would be foolish to remain a slave to one substance or another.  An addiction must be replaced by something positive and healthy, not by a different addiction. Giving in to boredom will often lead you to adopt a different addiction.  It is much better to replace an addiction with a habit that is not self-destructive.

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