There are a lot of people using alcohol and other drugs as a way to cope with larger issues facing their lives. For many, it’s legally obtained through prescription medication. But for numerous others, alcohol and other harmful drugs are used. When people attempt to quit alcohol, relapses are usually caused by the following issues:
- Stress – Happens over financial issues, being overworked at a place of employment, problems with marriage and relationships, the list goes on.
- Unsupportive environment – Maybe there are friends or family that continue to drink or do drugs around you. It’s incredibly hard to quit any kind of habit when it’s in your face all the time.
- Boredom – Drugs deplete the body’s dopamine levels, a chemical produced by the brain that causes the euphoric feelings experienced when drinking or consuming controlled substances.
Post-recovery boredom is often the result of our brains running out of dopamine. With a lack of motivation comes time sinks, ways to occupy one’s time with something pleasant and fun. But if there’s no enjoyment in those things, the potential for consuming the drugs increases, leading to relapse. How can this be overcome?
Self-Awareness of the Problem
There’s no simpler way to put it. Much like the first time quitting, you must acknowledge the problem before it can be resolved. The drive to never get out of bed, browsing unproductive websites all day, or even spending time with your significant other but with no fulfilling moods afterward are signs of anhedonia. It’s a symptom common with depression and in the recovery stages of drug addiction. And since people suffering from drug illness are essentially recovering in perpetuity, it can last a very long time. Boredom is treatable, mind you, though it might take longer for some people to relieve the feeling than other recovering addicts. But before you do anything, try and seek help from a caring friend or family member, someone that can occupy your time if you ever experience the cravings for a drug or hit when your setting becomes mundane. Even talking can do a lot for this, though medical treatment and examination by a professional should be one of your first options.
Treating Boredom when Going Sober
To help keep your mind interested and away from substances that led to your addiction, think about some of the things you might need to change in your life. To change yourself and your inability to feel good without drinking, it might be necessary for you to get out of your environment. Not everyone can do this, but staying in a home filled with other people suffering from drug abuse isn’t likely to lead anywhere but right back to the bottle.
When you associate yourself with productive people, others that aren’t addicted or motivated people in the recovering stages as you, it helps to keep your mind focused away from drugs. Get creative in finding new activities to pursue. Join a sports team with peers close to your age, or make friends with people in your position, looking to escape boredom. This is a broad recommendation, so bi-weekly chess tournaments, football at the park, or even discussing literature can help. Consider posting your story online as a warning to reach people that could potentially lead to a path that you’ve already experienced. You could use video, posts, or create groups and have daily communication between members.
Knowing What to Take
To get your brain back into the shape that it was in before the addiction started, changing your diet habits is suggested. That doesn’t mean you have to stop eating your favorite foods, however. Something that builds back the brain’s ability to produce chemicals that make us happy. Plenty of vitamin c, nutritional foods such as vegetables, and masticated fruit juices are great.
Exercise is Key
Going to the gym is a great way to pass the time when you’re not active. You can get yourself into shape by working on your cardio, or just through weightlifting. But the best part is that you’ll have something to keep you away from the habit. Plus, you’ll look and feel better after keeping at it for a while. Recovery from substance abuse can be one of the hardest things someone does in their life. That’s why you shouldn’t handle it alone. With our guidance and experience working with treatment to addiction, your relapse chances are sure to reduce. What better time is there for you to give us a call? Contact us today at 732-392-7311.