Bored In Recovery? Rethink That Feeling

MarilynDavisatTIERS By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 20th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Recovery & Coping

“If you’re an addict, it controls your life and your life becomes uncontrollable. It’s boring and painful, filling your system with something that makes you stare at your shoes for six hours”. James Taylor

Been There-Done That-Pawned the T-shirt

If you think about it logically, every party where people were doing drugs and getting drunk only change the players, the decor, location or time. Outcomes for the addicted population are usually the same – guilt, remorse, headache, arrest, or spending all the money.

Since you have already participated in them, and they probably contributed to your current situation, you can view them as another example of “been there, done that” and move on, looking forward to doing something different in your recovery.

Am I Getting Boring in Recovery?

Not all issues in recovery are black and white; boredom is one. Besides the illusion that there is excitement that you are missing in recovery, the way you phrase your circumstances, such as, “My life is boring in recovery” might imply that you are getting boring.

Rethink this: Who is dictating your free time in recovery but you? Granted, everyone has responsibilities to family, work, education, relationships, authorities and children. However, you still have free or discretionary time. What are you choosing to do with it?

In addition, you now have the resources to do something exciting in your recovery without all of your money going to drugs and alcohol. You have a choice to allocate part of your money to fun or relaxing things to do. So, what do you think is fun? What are the exciting things you wanted to try but could not afford in your use? Is it time for some relaxing me time?

What Are My Interests?

The list of exciting things to do is endless; however, it should be specific to your interests and time. Check on-line for exciting things to do on a Saturday morning and see what you get. I looked online for outings in Atlanta this morning and found all of the following and some offered coupons.

• Para-sailing
• Spa Day
• Bungee Jumping
• Rafting
• Jet Skiing
• Six Festivals
• Three-day cruises
• Hire a Driver at a Racetrack
• Five Star Restaurant and Play Night
• New Art Gallery Opening
• Yoga and meditation Class with Vegan dinner
• Taking children on a field trip, or the zoo can make any activity exciting and interesting

Where Are the Other Young People in Recovery?

Find out about ICYPAA – International Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous. If socializing is important to you, there are conferences for young people. In 2013, there were conferences in:

• Las Vegas
• New Orleans
• Hawaii

Each of those places offers something interesting, exciting and not boring. Maybe it is too soon in your recovery to think about traveling, so for practical day-to-day inspiration, help, and just as importantly, a place to give voice to your thoughts, writing, and concerns, there is Young People in Recovery, a grassroots movement composed of young people who are in long-term recovery.

Faces and Voices of Recovery, an organization dedicated to education, advocacy and spreading the word that recovery works is active in providing resources for young people in recovery. Watching The Recovery Stories, filmed and presented by young people, confirm that recovery is not only possible, but also predictable for young people.

Each of these confirms that young people are active, vibrant and involved in their recovery. That is a choice open to you as well.

Watching a Film is Okay, But What about Human Contact?

If you are already attending meetings, ask people who you think are interesting, what they do that is exciting, entertaining or appealing and attractive to them. Even ask some of those “old people in recovery”.

Remember, we finally got our marbles back; but early in our recovery, we probably did not know how to play with them. Maybe in our recovery, we learned to play with them and have fun.

If we have learned anything from Match, Plenty of Fish, or E-Harmony, people connect all the time and then meet. Recovery is no different. There are multiple types of recovery support meetings with various philosophical leanings. Check all of them out and find one that supports your beliefs about recovery.

Recovery Support Meetings: It’s the Same Old, Same Old

Regardless of the orientation of the recovery support meeting, there is a lot of the same information repeated at the beginning of each meeting. Yet, if you did not hear this information read when you first attended a meeting, would you understand the type of recovery work espoused by that particular group? There are important distinctions in meetings. Some are secular, others religious or define their philosophies as spiritual.

When I was in treatment twenty-six years ago, I was fortunate to attend several types of meetings, which helped me understand the inner recovery work expected of the members of those fellowships as well as attending groups that took a more analytical approach. Varied exposure helped me make the choice of which recovery support meetings I would attend.

My initial focus was to find other people who had sustained recovery and ask how they accomplished it. Over the years, my focus is less on how to recover; I will celebrate 26 years of abstinence-based recovery this year, but more on the social component of meetings.

Boredom: Could it Be Stability and Security?

People in long-term recovery will often tell you that they realized after a few months that it was not about being bored, but without the police breaking down their door or the bill collectors calling or experiencing paranoia each time they bought drugs, that what they were feeling was stability and security, not boredom.

When our lives have been chaotic, paranoia, fears and anxieties are the norm, therefore, when the situations change in recovery, there is a modification of your feelings as well. A subtle shift in perspective might help you see that you are now feeling:

• Comfortable
• Secure
• Peaceful
• Content

Is it Boring or Lack of Chaos?

Some individuals seem to bond to the chaos and drama of life, and addiction usually provides both. When these elements are missing in recovery, do you perceive this as boring? There is a second-hand way to experience the drama and chaos of early recovery – sponsor someone, be a mentor or accountability partner for new people.

Seeing the erratic emotional difficulties, the life problems that usually surface in early recovery might just be enough to let you be grateful that they are happening to someone other than yourself, or you might become appreciate of the stability in your recovery.

I opened and ran an award winning women’s recovery home for more than 20 years in Georgia, USA. Working with over 1000 women helped me remember the old behaviors, drama, chaos and problems; this in turn helped me realize I no longer wanted to experience those upheavals in my life anymore.

Maybe reading a book on a Saturday night was not boring so much as entertaining or educational. Again, it is the small shifts in perspective that helped me move from bored by to benefiting from recovery.

Recovery is as Boring as You Make It

While there are new responsibilities in our recovery, there is also discretionary or free time. We also tend to have more funds available when they are not going to support our addiction. Are there hobbies that you wanted to try but your addiction prevented you from participating in them?

Here again, what sounds like fun to one person is not going to be for another. Spending $30 on colored pencils and getting a drawing pad may strike some as a waste of time, but you have artistic talents that you have ignored in your use and now you have the time and resources to nurture this talent in your recovery.

Drawing not your thing; then how about learning to cook from a professional chef, visiting all the tourist attractions near your home, learn to garden, write your memoir to help others relate and recover.

Living your life in recovery without the threat of a blackout, feelings of embarrassment and shame for participating in the activity sounds appealing, not boring, and it is safe to assume that even if you overdo the salt and pepper in your first attempt at cooking, you will probably not experience a hangover.

Get Out of Yourself and Give to Others

Even if you do not take up a hobby, you will have times that you have free time. Most of us have family, friends or neighbors that could use our help. Do you have social service organizations that take volunteers? Do you have a cause that you believe in – animals, recovery residence or the homeless?

Each of these groups might benefit from a donation of time or you can call and inquire if they take household donations for fundraisers. The recovery home I ran netted about $5,000 from a silent auction using donated items from people in recovery, businesses and others.

Rethinking: Is it Boring?

Therefore, next time you think you are bored in your recovery, think about your choice of perspective and actions. You can:

• Sit around and complain about being bored
• Look for safe alternatives to alleviate the feeling
• Determine if it is boredom or another feeling
• Have harmless nontoxic fun, you earned it

Boring is sitting in the lobby of the detention center, waiting to bail out our loved one, not the exciting opportunities and choices we have in our recovery. When you have choices, only you determine how boring your recovery is.

How Can You Promote Long-term Recovery?

Each person has a unique perspective on addiction and recovery. Writing about your experiences may just be the encouragement that someone else needs to recover. Consider writing on Wikinut to spread the word that recovery is possible.

For additional articles on Addiction and Recovery by Marilyn Davis

All images from Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay or Morgue Files


Addiction, Addicts In Early Recovery, Bored In Recovery, Early Recovery Lessons, Im Boring In Recovery, Recovering Addicts, Recovery Barriers, Recovery Changes, Recovery Is Boring

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
20th Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mark; thanks for moderating. I appreciate it. See where I missed putting the right image in and left my to be more careful....~Marilyn

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author avatar Retired
20th Jul 2014 (#)

Wow, congrats on 26 years of abstinence-free recovery! You get my Star Award for bringing yourself back to the world, an amazing accomplishment!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
20th Jul 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, LeRain; thank you. There were many who helped me come back, and in my own way, I have tried to encourage others to give recovery a chance. It sure beats all that was. Thank you for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar snerfu
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Hello Ms Marilyn, It sure is a drag beating the recovery blues (cigarettes my bug bear) but once we get the pep back we tend to forget that there was a time when we could not live without our dependent stimulant (cigarettes). It is nice to read about it all and helps me remember how much better I am now. Keep going.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Snerfu; I like that recovery blues. It is our attitude like you say, to remember how much better we are now as opposed to then. Thanks for your addition to the article. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Congrats on 26 years! And a truly wonderful article on recovery. Well wishes!!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
21st Jul 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl, thank you. Hope you are doing well, also. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Aug 2014 (#)

We need willpower and determination to stay the course than take the easy way out by relapsing into bad old days. Instructive, thanks Marilyn - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva; missed this somehow. Thanks as always for commenting. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Margaret Michel
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Interesting piece! Thanks for sharing!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Margaret; thanks as always for commenting. ~Marilyn

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