Many people find that boredom is a major trigger to using drugs, even if they may be at the right Methadone or Suboxone dose. You might use “only” once or twice a week. You might say that you are bored and don’t know what to do, so you use. You might find that hanging out with the wrong people causes you to use. Are you hanging out with them because you are bored and don’t know what to do?
Boredom is a good sign. I love it when patients tell me they are bored. Boredom means you are getting better. In the past, you may have spent your time waking up in withdrawal, only able to think about where you will get money for your fix. Then there is time trying to score, and then being high. Being addicted to opiates is a lot of work, and it takes up a lot of time. When you are getting better, you may find that you have a lot of extra time on your hands.
One way to deal with boredom is to explore a hobby. Maybe you used to like to do some art or play a musical instrument, but gave it up when you started using drugs. You have likely forgotten how much you like to do these things. Art and music are great for relaxing and feeling creative. If you have never tried art or music, now is a good time to try. Go into an art store or a used musical instrument store and see what is available. It is fun, and can be a life long source of enjoyment.
Exercise is a great way to fill those boring moments. It is also very good for feeling healthy. You don’t have to dive right into boxing, skiing, or cycling, but you can work up to it. Walking a block, then jogging a block, and so on, is a great way to start. Don’t push yourself too hard at first. You want to set a pattern for yourself, and so you don’t want to overdo it at first. In the winter, skating and just walking in the snow are more fun than you may think. Give it a try.
Hanging out with friends is also a great way to deal with boredom, but be selective about which friends you hang with. Hanging with user friends will only result is one thing – relapse. Maybe you had friends, that did not use drugs, that you stopped seeing when you starting using drugs. Those are the friends you should go back to. They will likely be more forgiving than you can even imagine. Family, who don’t use, can be the same. Call them up. If you feel comfortable, tell them you are clean and have very few friends who don’t use and need someone to talk to socially, just for fun. Good clean friendships are very important for a happy life.
The best way out of boredom is work. Working makes you feel better about yourself. You feel productive. You feel like you deserve, and need, a rest, so the down time is relaxing rather than boring.
If you have been out of work for a while, you may feel unprepared to go back to work. You may even feel scared to work. You may feel that a full time job will be too much to handle. A good way to ease back into work is to volunteer. That way you are free to leave if it doesn’t work out. You can also work as many or as few hours as you like. Volunteering also helps you feel good about yourself, because most cases of volunteering involves helping people. Then, when you are satisfied that you can return to work, you can take on a part time job, and gradually increase your hours to where you feel comfortable.
There are many volunteering organizations that are usually looking for people to help out. Pick something you like and believe it. Here are some suggestions, but there are many more than these:
Habitat for Humanity – They build housing for people with low income. This is construction work mainly. Many people start there, and meet people and end up with a real job in the end.