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Sober and Bored? Here’s What To Do About It

Are you reading this right now because you got sober recently and feel so bored you might spontaneously combust… or worse…drink?

You are not alone, my friend.

Getting sober is like learning to walk again after a terrible accident. You should be able to go about living your life without drinking alcohol, but you feel utterly useless and have no idea what to do with yourself.

I mean, look at all this TIME you have!

The hours you used to devote to drinking and recovering from drinking have to be filled now with… well, who knows what?

The more you think about it, the more it annoys you, which is unfortunate because you already feel rather annoyed these days.

Let’s help you get started, shall we?

Have no fear! I’ve been where you are, as have thousands of other sober people who had to learn to have a life again after sobriety.

Reasons You Might Feel Bored in Sobriety

It’s pretty normal to reduce the entire experience of boredom in sobriety to missing alcohol and believing that getting drunk is the primary way you (and everyone else) have fun.

In fact, when you first quit, it feels like everyone in the world is out getting drunk but you. The FOMO can be maddening.

But what if there is a physiological reason contributing to your feelings?

To unpack some of the underlying reasons you feel bored right now, it helps to understand what alcohol does to your brain.

A bored, sober woman stares down at her phone
understanding the causes of boredom in sobriety

Alcohol artificially boosts serotonin and dopamine in your brain.

This is important to remember when thinking about boredom. First, let’s revisit some terminology.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness, well-being, and pleasure. It’s also responsible for moderating moods and emotions. Serotonin depletion can cause major mood swings and feelings of sadness, anxiety, and irritability.

Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness. It is also responsible for regulating movement and emotional response. Dopamine depletion can cause apathy, boredom, and lack of motivation.

That latter experience feeling like everything is gray and dull and lacks meaning? That’s called anhedonia. A lot of people experience anhedonia when they quit.

Let’s discuss why that is and what you do about it.

Serotonin and Dopamine Depletion in Early Sobriety

When you use alcohol (or any substance) to artificially boost serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain, you create an imbalance in the brain.

Our brains don’t like imbalance and will work very hard to correct it. That overcorrection is what you’re probably feeling right now.

Alcohol can produce 2 to 10 times more dopamine in the brain than natural rewards. So now, you’ve got two big problems on your hand:

  1. Your brain is going to produce less dopamine to balance out the artificial boost you give it every time you drink, and
  2. Natural rewards now pale compared to the artificial rewards that alcohol gives you.

So it’s not that sobriety is inherently boring; it’s that your serotonin and dopamine levels are now very low.

Additionally, when you drink heavily for a long period of time, your brain will actually start to shut down dopamine receptors in the brain’s reward center in response to the artificial boost of dopamine from alcohol.

When serotonin and dopamine levels are low, we become less motivated and less interested in our surroundings. This can lead to feelings of extreme boredom and apathy.

It’s why nothing seems fun or exciting, and you struggle to motivate yourself to have a good time.

For more on anhedonia and extreme boredom in sobriety, I recommend this video:

Your brain needs time to recover.

The good news is that your brain can adjust and restore balance to your internal world. The longer you stay away from alcohol and give your brain some much-needed TLC, the less you’ll feel like life is dull and uninteresting.

Alcohol robs you of the ability to feel naturally motivated and inspired. Those feelings don’t come back immediately when you quit.

It takes time.

How long? It honestly depends.

Acute anxiety and depression from the withdrawal process can ease within a few days to a week. But for many people, lingering feelings of anxiety, depression, and general malaise can last weeks, months, or even longer.

It largely depends on factors such as:

  • How much and often you drank
  • Genetics
  • Pre-existing mental health conditions
  • Lifestyle
  • Whether you get treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions

But it is helpful to be able to say, “I know life feels boring now, but it’s because my brain is taking time to heal. It’s not always going to feel like this.”

Now that you know the chemical reason for your boredom, let’s explore additional factors that might be contributing to these feelings.

Then, we’ll talk about solutions and treatment!

Sometimes being sober is boring because your life revolves around alcohol.

Let’s address another reason life without alcohol feels boring. If you’ve created an entire social life around drinking, it is natural to be afraid of life without it.

When I was a heavy drinker, everything involved alcohol. If I was sad, I drank alcohol to feel better. If I was hanging out with friends, we were getting drunk. Did I have a stressful day at work? I drank alcohol.

My friends and I got together for happy hours after work. On the weekend, we went to bars and clubs. During the day, there were all-inclusive brunches. It all felt normal, even the terrible parts like awful hangovers and hangxiety.

When you remove alcohol from your life, you free up all the time you spent drinking and recovering from drinking. If you ever sit down to do that math, you will shock yourself with how much time went towards drinking.

It’s hard to fill that time, especially when dealing with alcohol cravings and triggers.

Sober man is bored and rests head on his hand at his desk
Why is sobriety so boring?

Alcohol didn’t make life fun. It just made you not care.

When I drank alcohol, I could (and did) sit and do nothing for hours.

My husband and I would plop down on our balcony drinking Jack and Sprite, chain-smoking cigarettes, and scrolling on our phones. Fun, right?

Sometimes we would watch a show, but even that become untenable for me after a couple of drinks because I did not have the attention span for it.

I used to love going to bars for hours. I’d sit around a table with friends, ordering rounds, and gossiping. It was fun!

Or was it?

I have gone to bars with people I genuinely like as a sober person, and I don’t stay for longer than an hour or two if nothing is happening.

Why? Because it is boring!

Getting drunk did not magically change the dynamics of that situation. It made me not care. We were all just sitting around and getting drunk, perfectly content to not really do anything together.

Sobriety pulls back the veil on your social life.

I realized that sobriety was not fundamentally boring. Alcohol merely blurred my perception of social situations.

I can go to a party where people play games while drinking and enjoy myself. Why? Because the games are fun!

Sobriety forces you to re-examine your social life in ways that are uncomfortable. In the absence of alcohol, do you even like talking to your “friends”?

My social circle changed when I got sober because I realized that many of my relationships were based on getting drunk together, and that was it.

Once I realized that I had to rediscover what fun meant to me.

10 Tips For Overcoming Boredom in Sobriety

Once you understand that your brain needs to recover and regain balance, it’s time to start inserting some joy back into your world.

This can be a daunting task.

It’s not as simple as “getting out there” and “trying something new.” It’s hard to do that when you suffer from extreme depression and anhedonia. The very things you should be doing to feel better require a level of motivation you might not be able to fathom.

And that’s okay.

But I’m going to explore solutions for people who sit at various points along the “sobriety is so boring” spectrum. Take what applies to you and leave whatever doesn’t.

Sound good?

1. Get counseling or therapy.

If you quit drinking and experience any new or worsening mental health symptoms, please consider therapy.

So many people quit drinking and end up walking around in a dopamine deficit state, struggling to find joy in anything.

That’s not a sign that life is boring without alcohol. It just means you need additional support.

A therapist can help treat the underlying symptoms through therapeutic modalities like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or trauma-processing techniques.

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, your doctor may even recommend medication to help treat depression and anxiety.

And while these things might sound serious and scary, it’s important to note that it’s one piece of a larger puzzle. Recovery and sobriety are often complicated.

But it’s comforting to know that you don’t have figure it out on your own. There are people out there who can help.

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2. Accept that you are in a transitional phase, which will take time.

Sobriety is a major lifestyle change. There is an initial learning curve. It’s important to have the right mindset about sobriety.

Don’t get down on yourself because you can’t get wasted at the bar with your friends anymore. You don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole

Remember, it’s not that sobriety is terrible, but that your brain is trying to grapple with the sudden loss of dopamine.

Think of it as an injury.

Just like you would be patient and gentle with a broken leg, you gotta give your brain the same tenderness.

That being said, drinking FOMO is real and must be dealt with. Sometimes admitting the truth to yourself is the first step. 

Related Post: Why Quitting Alcohol Can Feel Like Grief

3. Communicate openly and honestly with others.

It’s perfectly okay to say, “Hey, I’m in a weird spot right now.” 

On the one hand, you have no idea what you’re supposed to do with yourself. A lot of people don’t feel good when they first get sober, so it’s totally understandable if your feelings are all over the place.

And on top of all of that?

You’re lonely.

Your friends are out getting drunk, the same as they always do. Meanwhile, you’re at home wondering how many days it would take someone to find your body after you’ve choked on those peanut M&M’s you’ve been knocking back during your latest Netflix binge. 

When I quit drinking, I was lucky to have a spouse that supported my decision. And yet, he still had no idea how to support me.

I didn’t know either.

This is probably new for your friends and family, too. Don’t be afraid to communicate how you’re feeling.

Is it going to cure your boredom? Not on its own, but maybe it starts a conversation and a friend comes over just to sit with you and make sure you’re good.

Some days, you’ll want that.

4. Build a strong support network.

Sometimes boredom in sobriety looks like not wanting to be around anyone. We want to isolate and sit with our feelings.

But we actually need the opposite of that.

Early sobriety is a critical period when community and support networks are critical. This can be hard if your social life previously revolved around drinking. It’s even harder if your loved ones don’t support your sobriety.

Right now, you’re doing a very hard thing, and sometimes hard things feel lonely. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to connect with like-minded people who are fellow travelers on this path.

Join in-person groups or online communities like our Soberish Facebook group to get started.

But also, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get involved in activities around your community.

Is there a cause you care about with volunteer opportunities? Are you religious? Can you get involved at your place of worship? What about groups that center around exercise like running clubs or boot camps?

Forming healthy connections with other people is an important of this process. It’s one of the many ways you will relearn how to enjoy life again without alcohol.

5. Find a hobby and/or social activity to get involved in.

Staying busy is a great way to stave off boredom and create space for healing the parts of your brain that took a walloping from drinking. It’s particularly therapeutic to find something to do with your hands.

Here are all things working with your hands can do for you:

  • Sense of accomplishment: Completing a project or creating something with your own hands can give a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem, which can help combat feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness often associated with depression.
  • Mindfulness: Engaging in hands-on activities can be a form of mindfulness practice, which can help individuals focus on the present moment and reduce ruminative thinking. This can do wonders for symptoms of depression and anxiety. Eventually, you’ll get so good at your new hobby that you can “lose yourself” in it, which is really restorative in the way your brain needs.
  • Distraction: Working with your hands can be a healthy distraction from negative thoughts or emotions and help break the cycle of negative thinking that often drives us crazy in early sobriety. Learning a new skill will take 100% of your undivided attention. The time you spend learning to knit is time you are NOT spending thinking about how much you want to drink.
  • Social connection: Engaging in hands-on activities with others, such as taking a class or joining a crafting group, can help build social connections and reduce feelings of isolation, which we just discussed.
  • Stimulation of reward pathways: This is a huge one. Engaging in hands-on activities can stimulate the brain’s reward pathways, releasing feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin – precisely what we’re lacking right now.

How to Choose a Hobby

Choosing a new hobby to occupy your time is not always easy. It may require a bit of soul-searching, especially when your motivation is at historically low levels.

What did you enjoy doing before drinking came around and took over your social life? If you must dig WAY back into childhood for this answer, then do that. 

Before I started drinking too much, I loved to write. It was my passion. I kept a notebook and pen beside my bed in case I woke up in the middle of the night with a brilliant song lyric or poem. 

That is the activity I’ve buried my energy into since quitting. 

I would totally love to learn to knit or DIY refurbish a chair like they do on Flea Market Flip, but for now, I mostly stick to writing and playing with my very active (and talkative) five-year-old daughter.

What did you like to do? Don’t worry if it’s cool or age-appropriate. If the internet has shown us anything, it’s that neither matters. 

It doesn’t even have to be crafty. 

Have you always wanted to learn to dance salsa? Get on Google, find a class, and make it happen. Plus, you might meet some cool people, and that’s always a double win. 

6. Take a fitness class or go to the gym. 

Exercise is critically important in early sobriety and for ongoing mental health and wellness. It’s a great way to boost dopamine and endorphin levels naturally.

So much of this list is not just about finding things to do, but treating the underlying causes of extreme boredom in sobriety.

Exercise is something that can attack the problem on two fronts.

Depending on where you live, various options are available to you. Spin class, yoga, pilates, CrossFit, Zumba, Bootcamp. 

Pick something and try it. If you don’t love it, try something else. 

I’m a fan of Class Pass because it allows you to try out several different gyms and classes without having to make a commitment to any of them. 

A word of caution: to the greatest extent possible, get out of the house for this part. Check out community centers or any yoga-by-donation events if money is an issue. Join a fitness club like a local running or walking group.

It will help you get out of the house and moving which will make you feel better.

But if you can’t or aren’t able to do a group class, at the very least, take a tech-free 30-minute walk every day. I promise it will do wonders for your mental health, which, in turn, will help you feel motivated to do more things.

7. Go on a field trip.

If you have a willing friend or family member, take them along. If not, that’s cool too. 

I found myself planning little outings when I got sober because I needed to figure out what it meant to have fun again. 

So I went to shows at the local performing arts center. I dragged my husband to the zoo and aquarium. Is a new museum opening up within driving distance? We were there. 

When you get sober, you realize there is an entire daytime pulse in your city or town that you never really felt before. Things that people do during that day that don’t involve recovering or boozy brunch. 

Do you know the vibe you get when you travel to a new place? There is nothing like experiencing a brand-new city or country. Try to tap into that energy for your local area.

8. Get out in nature. 

Whether going for a walk in your neighborhood, visiting a park, or tackling a nature trail on foot or bike, find something to do to get fresh air. 

We are stressed-out, overstimulated, tech-obsessed creatures. Pile on some sobriety struggle, and it’s a recipe for madness. 

Getting outside and communing with nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve mental health and cognitive function in both kids and adults. 

Start with going for walks for 10-15 minutes every day. Pursue outdoor activities like kayaking or fishing. Go camping. 

You will feel better. If nothing else, it will give you a much-needed reset. 

6. Start journaling.

I’ve included this separate from hobbies because I don’t believe that journaling is a hobby. I’d classify it more as a tool. 

It’s something I do in addition to my own creative writing. 

Unloading some thoughts onto the page can help you figure out your feelings. Are you bored? Or are you lonely? Depressed? A combination of all three?

You have to understand what you’re feeling and WHY you’re feeling this way in order to change it. Journaling helps you do that. 

It also opens up space to approach your internal world differently. One of the biggest impediments to my sobriety during my relapse days was my inability to avoid getting consumed by emotions. 

I over-identified with every negative feeling in my body. 

I’m sad. I’m miserable. I don’t see how any of this gets better.  

These feelings were paralyzing. But I didn’t know what to do with them besides feel them. And the more I felt them, the more intense and blinding they would get. 

How journaling helps beyond boredom. 

Journaling allowed me to step outside of my emotions. I could pour my heart out and every irrational thought onto the pages. 

When I was finished, it was like someone had hit the refresh button on my brain. The intensity dimmed. I could go back and re-read what I wrote and approach it from the perspective of an outside observer. 

Oh, okay. I keep going on and on about Friend X who didn’t invite me to this event. And I’m really mad about Event Y. There’s clearly something going on there. What can I do to fix this? If nothing, how can I move past it? 

When you begin to view your negative thoughts and feelings as problems to be solved rather than the embodiment of who you actually are, you liberate yourself. 

It’s like figuring out how to play the guitar. It’s awkward, slow-going, and hurts like hell, but you’re committed to figuring it out.

So you deal with the unglamorous parts until you’re able to sweetly serenade the masses with your rendition of Wonderwall.

You might even consider working through some shadow work prompts to do some deep work.

9. Volunteer

One of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling bored in sobriety is to find a way to serve others.

Volunteer at your local shelter or thrift store. Sign up to do some work in your community garden.

Are humans not your thing?

Volunteer at the local Humane Society to walk dogs or pet cats.

Volunteering is a great way to reconnect with your community. Helping others actually boosts our own mental health and feelings of self-worth. Plus, it helps us with our emotional sobriety and wellness.

If you have the time, sign on to a longer-term project like helping with this year’s charity bake sale or the big 5K race your city holds yearly. You’ll get to meet new people and be a part of something positive.

If nothing else, it starts to chip away at any notion you might have that you’re unworthy.

10. Focus on eating nutritious food.

It is very common for people to replace alcohol with sugar in the beginning, which is detrimental not only to your waistline and physical health but your mental well-being as well.

Remember that one of the things we’re attempting to do is not only get out there and experience fun activities that don’t involve alcohol but also heal the underlying damage in our brain from drinking.

Part of that equation is eating better food.

Fried and overly sugary foods will also artificially spike your dopamine levels and cause your brain to overcorrect, leaving you feeling irritable, depressed, and cranky. These are all things you’re trying to overcome from drinking.

By focusing on eating healthy, nourishing foods, you are actively working on reversing those symptoms.

It’s especially important to eat foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. Heavy drinkers are notoriously deficient in thiamine.

Your doctor may even prescribe you supplements to correct vitamin deficiencies, which is why I always encourage them to visit their doctors and have an honest conversation about their alcohol consumption.

It’s likely your doctor will order some bloodwork, which can be the start of your path to physical recovery.

Will eating salads and drinking water make your boredom go away? Not exactly, but it can make you feel better, which has a ripple effect on whether or not you enjoy your life.

By removing the alcohol and making those necessary lifestyle changes, we increase the chances of becoming people who can enjoy the simple pleasure of life once again.

Additional resources to fight boredom in sobriety:

If you’re interested in this topic, there are a few books I highly recommend that will help you understand what’s going on and how to get past it:

I also recommend watching this very lengthy but enlightening interview on the Huberman Lab with Dr. Anna Lembke.

Final Note on Feeling Bored in Sobriety

Whether your sobriety has you wallowing in boredom or self-pity, please know that it will get better. Even if you have no idea HOW things can change, trust the process and keep working on it.

Feeling bored, sad, lonely, or anxious about something are all very human things to feel. You’ll never entirely escape them.

Sure, you tried to do that with drinking, but look where that got you!

So now comes the arduous task of learning how to manage the tough stuff without a chemical crutch like alcohol.

This is the part where you figure out how to enjoy life without a little something extra to help loosen you up.

And you know what?

It’s great!

Even if you don’t see it now. Maybe you think I’m full of shit. I certainly would have if I’d read this article five years ago.

But I PROMISE you, if you keep moving forward, things in your brain will start to click. Dark clouds will go away. And one day, it will occur to you that you’re actually happy and enjoying your life.

In the meantime, the Soberish community is here to support you and help you get there.

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49 Comments

  1. This was a spot on article for me. I am already implementing some of the “stay busy” suggestions. Sobriety is very challenging but the feeling of finding my true self again is so awesome and rewarding!!!
    Thank you for your articles.

  2. I drank because I’m not happy with my life for reasons I can’t change. The extra serotonin and dopamine from the alcohol gave me the ability to keep on keeping on. Quitting booze to be prescribed an SSRI along side dopamine stabilising medication seems counter-productive to me since I’ve literally just swapped one drug for 2 others but that’s what the doc has said so who am I to argue. I’m not sure what the answer is when the root cause of the reason I drank can’t be fixed and all I remember from before I started drinking was feeling this way.. That’s why I started drinking. I don’t hate drinking and I don’t want to stop drinking. I’m just trying to make myself do it because I feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do because alcohol is unhealthy. 74 days sober now and don’t know how much longer I can go.

    1. How’s it going now Simmo? I hope you’re OK. I’m 3 weeks sober and feel like I’m not really living.

  3. I think some of us have boring lives and you’re kind of glossing over that. Sobriety hasn’t made my boring job anymore interesting, or my city anymore livable to me. I still have to work 60 hours a week to support my family. I have learned a lot of coping mechanisms that work at times, acceptance, mindfulness, prayer….but some stuff is objectively boring regardless of dopamine and serotonin levels, and having to play mental gymnastics to accept your reality is challenging.

    1. We’ll never be able to avoid boredom completely. I completely agree with you there. It’s part of the human experience, but if you feel bored and miserable constantly, that’s a red flag that something is amiss and should be addressed.

  4. This was an excellent read for me. I remember feeling lonely and bored at the beginning of my sobriety a few years ago but now I enjoy my life in a different way . There’s no crazy “fun” any more but I’m much happier and no longer struggling with depression.
    3 years on and I still love reading inspirational positive articles.
    If you don’t find this article helpful just move on to another one .
    Thanks Alicia.

  5. if this helps someone, I am not judging that, thats awesome, if that is what they desire.

    HOWEVER, this seems like an incredibly hetero- and neuro- normative understanding.

    if this helps you, I am serious in when I say I am legitimately happy for you, no questions asked.

    The reliance on “the life before booze” really puts some of us to Spanish inquisition vibes though, as we hated it even more before. In that vein, to myself and others, this smacks of gaslighting, (and once again, I cannot stress enough, that if this does it for you, fucking awesome).

  6. Really enjoyed this article.. feeling so depressed, lonely and BORED right now after 4 weeks of sobriety.. this has really been an air freshener so thank you so much. Inspirational. I was lost but now I am found. I even laughed at the part about how long it would take to find your body. Been there too. I feel ready to keep going now knowing with your promise that it will get – eventually – better.
    Thank you.
    Sam

  7. I’m 148 days dry and everything is BORING. I take it, dear writer, that you don’t have kids or work a full time job? I don’t have the time to join a gym, venture into nature, or go on a bloody field trip. The way you talk there’s 48 hours in a day. I did all my drinking in the house. I never actually went out so I’ve got “gained” any more free time. Everyone is different – this is your experience. Your advice doesn’t work for real world people with kids and 40 hour per week, full time jobs.

    1. I actually do have a child and work a full-time job on top of the hours I put into making this website happen. It sounds like you’re in a rough place, and I hope you find a way to pull yourself out of it.

      1. Thank you Alicia for this site, I am retired and have hobbies, although alcohol has stopped me doing my hobbies, drinking beer is my downfall, longest I have gone without beer was 5 days last week, hopefully with your advice I can move on to keep sober and carry on with my hobbies, thank you.

    2. And what about all the time you spent on your addiction? Use that free time for your family now. Duh. Don’t make excuses.

      Great article, Alicia. By the way I have a deadly auto immune disease, kids, my own business etc and I can fit these tips into my lifestyle easily instead of complaining how bored I am and doing nothing because I am now sober.

    3. Wow, Mr. Negativity. Rearrange things. I too work and have kids, but k could tell the family that three nights a week I’ll be home a little late because I’m going to work out or do something for me for a couple hours. It’s necessary and as necessary as work. If we aren’t good for them when we are home we aren’t good at all. Figure out easy ffys meals for those days or grab carry out for everyone on your way home. They won’t miss you as much as you will gain (and then too jn the big picture) if you come home a little later a few days. Also- there is no one size fits at for everyone, but this writer has some great ideas. You are rotten for being so critical and nothing will ever make you happy (obviously not your chosen home life either) if you choose to be miserable and refuse to look out side the box. Yuck!

  8. I just liked doing it because i was terrified of incarceration. Long before I ever had any trouble with the law, I remember saying that drinking is fun and would be good for me because

    A) i had no addictions
    B) no money problems
    C)I was a college student & had a life full of buzzing activity

    Now i have addictions, money problems, and I’m not a college student with a life of buzzing activity.

  9. I was struggling greatly with the physical ailments of drinking, namely the weight gain, drinker’s remorse anxiety, the all-day hangovers, and the restlessness and exhaustion from never getting solid sleep thanks to brutal acid reflux.

    I decided to quit drinking a few days before Christmas and to use my New Year’s resolution as an excuse for my drinking buddies, who to this day still don’t understand why I quit and have even come across as resentful towards me, like they think b/c I quit that I’m judging them. I sincerely am not judging them. I just tell them why I quit (when they ask), and I think their insecurities get triggered. This is when they start joking that I must have gotten a DUI… to make themselves feel better, I suppose.

    Many of the bar relationships I had have all but fractured. When I visit the one person I still meet up with regularly, I just simply don’t drink while he does. I stick with diet sodas, red bulls, and I’ll get some wings or something.

    But my boredom at home is bad and getting worse. I have no desire to drink again b/c, frankly, the bad outweighs the good. But with it being 110 degrees outside now (and over or near 100 for 4-5 months out of the year), spending time outside just isn’t an option for me. When I do spend time outside, it’s to go skiing. But that’s quite a drive from where I live, is only possible 3 months a year, and is getting quite expensive even just going a few times a year.

    Not drinking led to marijuana use. Smoking pot cured everything for me for a while. It’s absolutely what I want to do, but the anxiety it caused about random testing at work defeated the purpose of taking it, so I quit that too after only a couple weeks. I mean, what’s the point then, right?

    Often times, I’ll be at work daydreaming about wanting to go home. But, on my way home, I’ll ponder what on earth I’m gonna do at home for 6 hours all by myself. Once home, now I can’t wait to go back to work. It’s a vicious cycle.

    Whatever you do, please don’t reply with the suggestion to seek counseling. That is such a cop-out by people who think they’re helping and just can’t admit that they don’t have an answer b/c there isn’t one. All therapy does is enrich people who can’t help. And I already have a dog if I just wanted someone to listen to my problems.

    I also have a side business, and that has kept me busy most days. But the problem with working so hard on the weekend is that you feel burnt out going back to your “real job” on Monday.

    Truth is, there is no cure for this. We just have to accept that substance abuse was a choice we made and we have to deal with the consequences of quitting. Something I’ve done to help curb the cravings to be bad is:
    • I think a lot about what the consequences would be if I didn’t quit;
    • I think a lot about how the drinker’s remorse makes me feel so guilty and how I don’t want to let myself down like that b/c that’s worse than the boredom;
    • I’ve made a conscious effort to not “screw over Tomorrow Gil”. What I mean by that is, if “Today Gil” doesn’t drink, then “Tomorrow Gil” won’t have a hangover, get a DUI, be fat, etc.

    Then, I came onto this site and see so many people with similar experiences and feelings. The suggestion to someone to seek counseling really irritated me, but I have to admit, seeing so many people feel the same way about this has given me a bit of a serotonin boost. I guess the old adage is true: There’s safety in numbers.

    1. I so appreciate what you’ve said. You hit the nail on the head, there is no cure for this & we have to accept the consequences of quitting. I think acceptance of something is the road to healing. Facing things & accepting then brings about peace. Thank you for helping me come to this realization.

  10. This really helped I hadn’t thought of the chemical connection and that makes sense and knowing these feeling will get better is a relief cos they are not great. I’m quite introverted so relearning to socialise is challenging. I’m 3 months in and the anxiety is really hard. I go home earlier and I assume everyone’s having more fun but I still love my friends even if i worry they love me a little less now I”m sober. I’m forced to deal with the emotions rather than bury them which I know deep down is better. It’s like relearning to have fun again, but actually the longer I’m sober the more supportive other people are of it. What I do love is that today I would normally have been broken by a hangover, snapping at my family, worrying about what I’ve said and did last night, checking my face for damage and obsessing about how I’m ruining my health. Instead I’m drinking coffee, listening to the birdsong and planning my day. That’s got to be an improvement.

  11. The problem is that I don’t have time. I didn’t give up all my old hobbies to drink while staring at the wall all night. I started drinking because I literally never have free time – maybe five minutes at a stretch, certainly not long enough to play my guitar or go for a hike. Drinking made hours of endless chores and projects bearable, and deadened my awareness of the fact that no matter how much I accomplish and how much I deprive myself of sleep to get “everything” done, I’m going to have to do it all over again tomorrow. I used to love reading and now, at best, I only get to read five pages in one day. And that started months and months before I started drinking, so it’s not the alcohol that made it that way. It made it bearable though. I want to stop drinking but without it there literally is nothing for me to enjoy except sleeping.

  12. Day 1, walked to the mailbox which occupied about 1-min. of my time…

    Threw some laundry in the washing machine, occupied about 5-min. of my time…

    Otherwise, just staring at the walls and pacing the floors of this empty home…

  13. Thank you for this article it had really helped, i decided before Xmas 2021 I was going to take a break on wine and loose some weight and get healthy, I’m only a few days in but feel amazing. Im awaiting a hip replacement so I’m home a lot at the moment, during the day it’s fine I keep busy but the evenings are slow and boring. I drank to help with to sleep so I’m hoping this improves . It’s nice to know I’m not alone and can’t wait to be able to walk my dogs again to feel normal.

    1. You’re definitely not alone! It’s so hard being homebound when you’re trying to find healthy distractions. Wishing you luck and a speedy recovery once that hip replacement comes through!

  14. The problem is that drinking never took over my life in that way. Most weekends I got out and about sober for at least one day. I always exercised in the morning before my first drink. And even when I was drinking, it wasn’t like I just sat there and stared at the wall. I still managed to read, watch movies, write, play music and participate in my other hobbies.

    Giving up drinking hasn’t left me with a void of time to fill. It’s just made everything grey and lifeless. Even the things I only ever did sober are unbearable now.

    1. I can really relate to what you’re saying here. I DID get to the point in my addiction where it took over my life and I got sober and did the 12 step recovery thing 100% for 3 years.

      I decided to try occasional using about a year ago and have had zero problems so far. It’s been infrequent and my life is completely different now than it was before I got sober but my therapist wanted me to try an upcoming break without using for fun like I had planned and I was bored to tears.

      It’s these infrequent breaks that allow me to successfully navigate and manage my life and all of the joys and responsibilities. It IS my hobby and my me time.

      I truly don’t see the harm in doing it recreationally the same way other people take actual vacations. I just take vacations in my own head lol.

  15. Hi! Sober for 12 days now…struggling with all the floods of emotions and how bored i feel. I now realize how MUCH alcohol was part of everything i did and how much time I floated around in the Sea of Drunk! Going out to eat doesn’t feel appealing because when we went out it usually involved drinks. Friday & Saturday was the big days full of drink so weekends have lost their fun. I know it will pass and deep down I KNOW with every bone in my body that I don’t want to go back to drinking but DAMN it is hard! That is ALL I think about! Lol.
    At night I thank my team-Angels, God, the Universe and anyone else and everyone out there praying for me to stay on track because I made it through another day! I believe it Does get better! So here i am <3

  16. Thank you for this article. I am slightly different in the sense it has been 2 and a half years since I stopped using and it wasn’t alcohol. I am just finding this issue of boredom a real problem in my life. Shouldn’t this be past by now? I never really took the time after stopping to really work through my root cause of addiction nor what I wanted to do with my life afterwards. I just kept busy with work. This no longer does the trick.

  17. Nice Article. I’m not sure what I want. I do know that drinking cures my boredom. I have ADHD and RHA. So the alcohol helps me to sit down. But I found myself drinking in bed to rest my body. I have plenty to do as a single Mom who lives with her elderly Mother. So my goal is to put the bottle down to become a more productive person. Thanks for your article.

  18. I got my 5 month chip last Tuesday and I feel great. I enjoyed this article and look forward to more. What I found myself doing early on was to look up, and write down new recipes to try. And I have tried a few. I am also looking into baking. Can’t seem to get a sour dough starter to last lol. Whether it’s good or bad, i have noticed an uptick in my shopping, nothing crazy, but nothing that was really truly needed. Getting full time hours at work helped too. And going to aa meetings. I developed a weekly routine where I see one of my good friends and my sponsor of sorts, and we have dinner and play a game before a meeting. Having a routine seems to help, and when I have to work and miss it, I notice, in a good way. Stay sober, stay happy and stay well everyone 😊

  19. My problem is weed makes everything better i love it its wonderful execpt i cant have a good job so i quit smokeing ended up a constant drunk traded the one i loved for something much worse trying to just have a day in between drinking need better but not ready but damn it

    1. Hey, Bob! Thanks for sharing this. It sounds like you’re using weed and alcohol to manage your life in a way, and it’s not working out. Have you thought about counseling or other support system?

  20. Thank you so much for this article. I have been sober for 6 weeks, mainly due to health and the weight it has put on. I have been working from home since March 17th (COVID) and will be here until 2021. I work the News Desk for a TV station and it is brutal at times. I miss going into the office. Also, my husband works evenings so now I am truly bored. Not a problem during the day, but bored and lonely in the evening. So, between being on a restrictive diet that does NOT include alcohol or popcorn, it has made me super emotional at times and bored. I am a Christian and love reading scripture to re-direct my mindset. I know this abstinence is worth it, on all levels, I won’t allow boredom to overcome me. 🙂

  21. I’m newly sober (6 days) and I’m STRUGGLING with boredom. I always knew alcohol took up a lot of time in my life, but my mind has been blank about what to fill it with. These are absolutely awesome ideas and i appreciate knowing that I’m not the only dealing with these new parts of sobriety.

  22. Decided to read this article , wanted to remind myself of the early days of sobriety. I am sober 14 years this New Years! I didn’t think I could go 14 minutes without a drink. I was bored yet filled with anxiety. I had to make a step by step list and follow it through out the day because I couldn’t even get out of bed. With Gods help and a forgiving family, here I am clean and sober and happier than ever. Getting and staying sober is one of the hardest thing’s you’ll ever do. But it is so worth it !

  23. Boredom is a huge issue. Even when my husband and I are out with friends or business events, the wine dials down my boredom and impatience with the mindless conversations. Dinner and television after a long day is extremely boring. A glass of wine or more helps with that. It’s easy to say turn off the TV, but my husband finds this TV time as an unwinding time. I’m learning to knit. Reading books and I’m still bored to tears. Wine helps .
    Boredom is huge. Thank you for this article. I thought I was the only person who drank because I was bored.

    1. Hi Connie! Oh you’re definitely not alone! You know the more I found things to do that made me feel like I had some kind of purpose, the less bored I became. I also have a two year old so boredom is a luxury I haven’t had in a while lol. I found a lot of times I used drinking to just opt out of thinking altogether. I didn’t want to do anything and didn’t want to not be doing anything either.

      1. Couldn’t have been said better! Don’t want to do anything and don’t want to do nothing!! Three weeks sober now. I find my self wanting something to fill my time so bad. Millions of ideas go through my head but it’s rare one actually holds my attention enough to follow through. Reading a lot of posts here seems to help a lot. Thanks for the article

        1. You’re so welcome! The good news is that what you’re feeling does pass eventually but it is a real pain in the ass to deal with in the early days. You’ve got this!

      2. You nailed it when you said that you didn’t want to do anything and didn’t want to not be doing anything either.
        That’s exactly how I felt every single day and exactly how I loved my life. It’s like I wanted everything and nothing at all.

  24. I cannot thank you enough for this article. I would have celebrated 2 years this coming November, but picked up last weekend because I was feeling bored, lonely, and really sorry for myself. Not only am I thankful for the ideas, but also to know I am not alone in this feeling.

    Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome! I’ve had a couple relapses in my past where I cannot for the life of me figure out why I drank. I was bored and just decided one day and then back to the binge I went. It happens to the best of us. Are you back on sobriety now?