I think boredom in recovery is a good sign, because I see it as evidence that the brain is repairing itself from damage caused by alcohol abuse.
Bored If You Drink, Bored If You Don’t
Alcohol is often seen as a way to make a boring situation more bearable. But, when you think about it, is it really fun to just sit around and drink all the time? In active addiction you trick your brain into thinking that you are having fun, but it is an artificial emotion that is dependent on a deadly substance. On top of that, it is lazy, unoriginal, and not creative fun.
After I got sober, I realized that drinking is actually an incredibly boring activity. It only provides the illusion of entertainment.
However, recovery was boring at first too. Despite getting back into all of my favorite activities that I missed when I was in active addiction, I still found myself bored sometimes.
Your Brain Is Healing
According to a scientific article called “Alcohol and the Prefrontal Cortex,” from the National Library of Medicine, “alcohol has profound effects on the function of the prefrontal cortex.”
Another scientific article from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports, “People who have been drinking large amounts of alcohol for long periods of time run the risk of developing serious and persistent changes in the brain.”
This is sad and scary news to a recovering alcoholic. However, if you find yourself bored with recovery, this could be a very strong indication that your brain is healing from damage caused by drinking!
For a very long time, scientists thought that once the human brain reaches adulthood, it cannot generate more nerve neurons. Sometime around the 1960’s, it was discovered that the adult brain actually can generate new nerve cells in a process called neurogenesis.
Boredom Encourages Creativity And Productivity
So, how does this information relate to boredom in recovery?
The head of the Cognitive Neuroscience Department at Deakin University, Professor Enticott, says that boredom “sparks activity” in the prefrontal cortex. He says we can choose to use boredom as motivation to “create a productive shift in our environments.”
In other words, boredom encourages creativity and productivity.
For the first year of sobriety, I was able to entertain myself by reading horror fiction, learning Japanese, skate boarding, and other exciting things. So, if I was engaging in all sorts of fun activities in my recovery, why did I still find myself bored sometimes?
After about a year of sobriety, I realized that my life lacked something important. Something meaningful. What did all of my leisure activities amount to other than to kill time?
My life lacked purpose until I began writing. This is my purpose, and I’m as addicted to writing as I used to be to drinking.
The brain is an incredibly active organ, and guess what… You were born to use it! You were born to do things, incredible things, productive things, the kind of things that change the freaking world around you!
Are you passionate about the environment, civil rights, or animal rights? Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer somewhere like a homeless shelter, animal shelter, or recovery center?
What career path have you always wanted to pursue? Could that still be an option for you? Baby steps count. Moving towards something that moves you is what matters here.
Boredom in recovery is a good sign, because it can lead you to your purpose in life.
Experiment with some different things to find your calling. When you find it, you’ll know. Dive deep and give all your focus to the new endeavor. If you’re still bored, try something else.
Once you fall in love with your purpose, you will never be bored again. Passion for your personal projects becomes the fuel that propels you out of bed. It dominates your thoughts. It becomes your everything. Sound familiar?
Your purpose replaces the urge to drink for good.
The farther you dive into your purpose and true mission in life, the farther you travel away from your old addicted self. Your purpose becomes a part of your identity, and it takes your self-esteem to new heights.
That’s why you’re bored in recovery. You have a purpose. You just haven’t found it yet. Keep looking. Imagination is the only limitation.