Avoid Boredom and Keep Busy after Arizona Rehab

Staying busy at the beach after rehab

When speaking with individuals starting Arizona rehab, one of the biggest fears they have is that life without drugs or alcohol will be dull and boring. The good news is that this couldn’t be further from the truth—life in recovery is actually richer and filled with more fun and adventure than you can possibly imagine! However, this new life does take some getting used to, so it’s important that you remain open to the possibilities that lie ahead. 

Let’s learn more about boredom in recovery, why it happens, how to avoid it and ideas for keeping busy.  

Boredom in Recovery: Why is it a Common Challenge? 

Boredom is a common and significant challenge in addiction recovery. One of the main reasons for this is that substance use typically consumes a great deal of time. When you were going through addiction, a lot of your day was likely spent obtaining, using and recovering from your substance of choice. 

Now that you are sober, a lot of free time has opened up. You may not know what to do with all this time, which can cause boredom, a potential trigger for relapse. After all, when you’re not kept busy, you could start fantasizing about drugs or alcohol and making a plan to relapse. Keep in mind that relapse happens in stages, and the first stage is emotional. 

There are other reasons why boredom is a common challenge in recovery, including a change in social circles, a lack of structure and an absence of immediate gratification. Even though substance use can be harmful, it still fills a void for many people. They may use substances to escape from deeper psychological issues or to provide intense stimulation. When drugs or alcohol are removed, it takes time to find new, healthy activities to fill this perceived emptiness. 

Why Boredom Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing 

Learning how to deal with boredom is hard for everyone, as we all seek to be challenged and stimulated. When we aren’t, we feel bored, and this is seen as an unpleasant experience. However, boredom is not always a bad thing. It can be a source of creativity and innovation. In fact, studies show that boredom can trigger your imagination and make you productive. Eventually, you will learn how to turn boredom into something positive. 

For now, though, it’s important to recognize that boredom can be destructive. In early recovery, your brain is still healing. It has a harder time exploring new ideas and perspectives, which will dampen your creativity. Also, dopamine levels in your brain are still being restored. Due to this, many of the normal activities seem far less rewarding and exciting, contributing to boredom. 

Risks of Boredom after Arizona Rehab

Boredom can raise the risk for relapse, but there are other problems it can cause as well. If you are bored, you may be more likely to: 

  • Spend money on things you don’t need 
  • Stay inside and isolate from others 
  • Engage in dangerous or unhealthy behaviors
  • Have risky sexual relations with others 
  • Spend time with negative influences 
  • Develop an overall negative attitude toward recovery 

We also want to point out the dangers of relapse. Once you stop using drugs or alcohol, you lose your tolerance to them. If you return to use and take the same amount you were used to taking, you could end up overdosing. This is actually how many opioid overdoses happen. The person relapses, takes the dose they usually took and it overwhelms their body, leading to overdose and death. 

Healthy Habits to Curb Boredom in Recovery 

One of the best ways to prevent boredom in addiction recovery is by creating a healthy schedule. You will start doing this automatically when you enroll in Arizona rehab, as they will get you on a consistent routine that makes time for exercise, therapy, meetings, activities and more. You don’t want to overcommit or fill every second of time, as this can lead to stress and burnout. Instead, the goal is to have a structured schedule that outlines what you will be doing each day. This prevents boredom and helps your mind prepare for the day. 

As you find new, healthy activities to enjoy, you will find yourself feeling less and less bored. Plus, the further you move along in recovery, the more the chemicals in your brain will recalibrate, allowing you to feel pleasure in everyday activities. Instead of getting a rush from using drugs or alcohol, you will get these feelings from sports, hobbies or simply acting silly with friends. It might seem like a stretch right now, but it can happen. In fact, we often find that life is even more satisfying in recovery, as you learn to appreciate the smallest things in life! 

Here are some ways to fight boredom in recovery and rebuild your life: 

Head outdoors

Spending time in nature is an effective way to reduce stress and reset your body. You can incorporate physical activity into this, or try a new hobby such as bird watching or gardening. You’ll also sleep better at night! 

Get creative

Many people find peace and comfort in creative activities like painting, drawing or playing music. Not only do these activities pass the time, but also they can be therapeutic. Creative outlets allow for suppressed thoughts and emotions to come through. 

Take a break from electronics

Electronics can have a negative effect on our moods and attention spans. Limit your time spent on electronics, particularly social media sites and your smartphone. Both the act of checking your phone and seeing content can trigger the stress response, prevent you from being engaged in your recovery and take away meaningful, face-to-face interaction. 


Volunteering your time is an excellent way to discover new hobbies, meet positive people and curb boredom. Whether it’s knitting blankets, walking dogs or reading to seniors, there are plenty of ways to get involved and discover your true purpose. 

Wolf Creek Recovery doesn’t just treat substance use and mental health disorders. We teach people how to rebuild their lives and embrace the joys of sobriety. Our staff is in recovery, so we know that this is possible. When people love their lives, things like boredom go out the window! To learn more about the programs and services we offer here at Wolf Creek Recovery, contact us today at 833-732-8202