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Boredom and Substance Abuse

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Table of Contents

Boredom and Substance Abuse cover

It’s no secret that boredom can lead to all sorts of risky behavior, from gambling to having unsafe sex. But one of the most dangerous behaviors boredom can lead to is substance abuse. When people are bored, they often look for something to make them feel alive, and for many people that means using drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse can quickly lead to addiction, and before you know it you’re caught in a cycle of using drugs or alcohol.

Boredom is also one of the greatest dangers in early addiction recovery, because it can quickly lead to relapse. Since people in early sobriety are used to relying on drugs and alcohol for fun, they may be at a loss for what to do when they stop getting high and drunk. For those who have been sober for a while, boredom is an issue, but it doesn’t tend to lead to substance abuse as quickly. The key is learning how to find enjoyment in life even when you’re not taking drugs or drinking.

What Cause of Boredom?

Boredom is both a common emotion and a common experience. Everyone experiences boredom at some point in their lives, and there are many different causes of boredom. The three most common causes of boredom are lack of stimulation, monotony, and lack of purpose.

Lack of stimulation is one of the most common causes of boredom. When someone is constantly surrounded by the same things, or when they are not given enough new challenges to keep them occupied, they can become bored very easily. Monotony can also be a cause of boredom, especially if someone’s job is very repetitive or if they have nothing to look forward to in their day-to-day life. And finally, lack of purpose is another major cause of boredom. Lack of purpose is the feeling that one is living a life without much meaning.

Sober living homes can help with these causes of boredom by providing stimulation, challenges, and activities. Residents build new relationships, develop new skills, and learn new ways to have fun without having to rely on drugs and alcohol for a good time.

Dangers and Risks of Boredom

The dangers of boredom include addiction and complications with emotional health, including anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. It can lead people to act out and create conflicts with others. Ultimately, boredom is a normal part of everyday life, but when boredom forms a habit, the emotional state of a sufferer can become heavy and gloomy. People who are constantly bored may lose hope and even stop thinking about the future entirely, which can cause a wide range of problems.

Chronic boredom may be a factor in many of the following issues:

  • Problems in relationships or social activities
  • Gambling addiction, sex addiction, and other behavioral addictions
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Eating disorders
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Substance addictions
  • Irritability and anger
  • Unemployment

The Connection between Boredom and Substance Abuse

For many, boredom can be a major trigger for substance abuse.

While there is no single answer to why boredom and substance abuse are so closely linked, there are several possible explanations. One theory is that people who are bored may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape their feelings or to boost their energy levels. Another possibility is that people who are prone to addiction may be more likely to become bored, which then leads them to seek out dangerous forms of stimulation.

Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that there is a strong connection between boredom and substance abuse. If you find yourself feeling bored frequently, it is important to find ways to combat this feeling. Try taking a walk outside, reading a book, or spending time with friends and family.

How to Combat Boredom and Substance Abuse

Boredom and substance abuse are two problems that often go hand in hand. People who are bored are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to pass the time, while people who are struggling with addiction may find themselves bored when they’re not using drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, there are ways to combat both boredom and addiction. Here are a few tips:

  • Get involved in activities you enjoy. This can help keep you busy and prevent you from turning to drugs or alcohol.
  • Find new and interesting ways to keep yourself occupied. Try learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby, or exploring new parts of town or the world.
  • Connect with others who share your interests. Joining a club or group can help you make friends and stay busy. Making friends also reduces the risk of relapse.
  • Exercise, work out at the gym, go for a swim, or go hiking to help keep your mind clear and your body healthy.
  • Go to bed early. Rather than staying up late trying to find something exciting to do, just go to bed and enjoy the day tomorrow! Sleep is important for a healthy mind and body. Getting a good night’s sleep will also keep you from turning to drugs or alcohol. People who get better sleep are demonstrably less likely to relapse.

Does Boredom Lead to Relapse in Early Sobriety?

In early sobriety, boredom can be a major relapse trigger. When people are bored, they may start to think about using drugs or alcohol as a way to pass the time. They may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as spending time with people who encourage them to drink or use drugs. Boredom can also lead to negative thoughts and feelings, such as loneliness, frustration, and despair. These feelings can be dangerous for someone in recovery and may lead to a relapse.

After years of addiction, people’s social lives are often very atrophied. In early sobriety, you may find that your friendships are limited — and that even close family members don’t want to talk to you. While work to build new relationships are repair the old ones, you may find yourself temporarily isolated. This can be both boring and lonely. It is important to have a strong social support system to prevent these feelings from cropping up. Fortunately, sober livings allow residents to work together and find new fun activities that don’t involve drinking or drugs.

Recovering from Addiction in a Sober Living Home

Finding new sources of fun in sobriety can be a challenge for some recovering addicts. However, sober livings in Los Angeles can help to provide an environment that is conducive to finding new activities and social circles. These communities are often filled with people who are also working on their own recoveries and who can offer support and advice. There are many different activities available in sober living communities, and it is often easy to find others who share your interests. This can be a great way to make new friends and build a support system that will help you stay sober.

Read Further: Alcohol Relapse Prevention


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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