Dealing with Boredom and Other Challenges in Early Recovery
Staying sober is a challenge. Early recovery is extremely touchy and is a common time for people to give up and relapse. When a person leaves treatment, they are thrown back into the real world and have to deal with unexpected challenges as they come up. It’s important to expect these challenges and have a game plan for how to avoid them.
Boredom and Loneliness is a Huge Factor in Early Recovery
Ask any former addict and they will tell you that being bored is one of the worst things for them. When a person is bored, they have time to think about drugs or drinking. When they have time to dwell on these things, it is easy to give in and make it a reality. Without anyone around them to distract them or stop them, it can easily turn into a relapse, fast.
One great way to avoid boredom and loneliness is to consider moving to a halfway house after treatment. At a halfway house, an addict is guaranteed to always be surrounded by people. Even better, these people are going through the same thing as them. It’s a wonderful built-in support system to guarantee that they will always have someone to talk to.
If boredom still strikes, it is important to have backup plans. Make a list of approved activities ahead of time, just in case boredom strikes. Some ideas for this list include:
- A list of sober, positive friends to call or meet with
- Local AA or NA meetings
- A recipe to try cooking
- Look for jobs
- Join a gym or partake in a physical activity
- Read, write, or draw
- Go to a local park or the beach and walk
There are endless activity possibilities for a former addict, that do not involve drinking or using drugs. It’s just a matter of turning to your options in a moment of boredom.
Facing Challenges in Recovery
While an addict is in treatment and recovery, life doesn’t stop. With that, there will come situations and people that may challenge their recovery. It’s their job to learn how to face these situations and not give in to temptation.
While in treatment, an addict should talk to their therapist about the biggest challenges they think they might face once they are done with treatment. Together, the addict and therapist can come up with ways to gracefully sidestep hurdles and continue moving forward in sobriety.
People, Places, and Things
Knowing triggers is a huge part of being able to avoid them. If an addict knows what they are, they will be less likely to put themselves into situations where they may become a problem. Or, if they know they will have to face them, they can make sure to prepare themselves.
People in an addict’s life who they used drugs or drank with are likely people they should avoid to protect their sobriety. While difficult, the number one thing at stake is the addict’s health, and if they relapse, that will all go downhill. Many of these people aren’t true friends. They are people who are seeking a “partner in crime” or someone to bring down with them. It isn’t worth it.
Places can cause a person in recovery to relapse just as easily. A no-brainer would be to avoid bars if the person was a former alcoholic. The same is true for individuals struggling with drugs; certain locations must remain off-limits. Even if they have no intention of relapsing, these places can trigger feelings and emotions associated with drinking or getting high.
As far as other triggers go, it is important to get rid of things that were prominent when the addict was in active addiction. Make sure there are no bottles of alcohol or any drug paraphernalia at the place where they live, in their car, or anywhere else they frequent. Same goes with a favorite shirt they would wear, etc. These things shouldn’t be around to mistakenly glorify the addiction.
No One Said Recovery Was Easy
An addict in recovery is bound to run into countless challenges in early recovery and beyond. They are rebuilding their life, and that isn’t easy. Additionally, they may not get the exact job they want, the car they want, or relationship they want right away. All these things take time. It’s important for them to exercise patience with all things and namely themselves.
An addict needs to remember to always focus on their recovery. They need to do something for it every day, whether it is to attend an AA or NA meeting, meet up with sober friends, get in touch with their higher power… whatever works best.
If an addict runs into challenges, which they inevitably will, it is important to rise to the occasion and face them head on. They can talk to a trusted friend or professional about their emotions and concerns. They can reach out to resources and people will rise to the occasion. The great thing is that while addiction is extremely lonely, in recovery there is always a network of sober support to keep a person lifted and on their feet.