I talk to so many people that are new in their alcohol free journey, and I would have to say that the number one struggle I hear is, “I’m SO BORED!!”
I totally get it, too. I struggled with boredom when I first quit drinking. Before I quit drinking, my hobby was drinking. This left me feeling a little overwhelmed and kind of confused. I was suddenly thinking, “What do I even like doing?”
It was such a strange feeling, and the thing that made it even harder was that I wasn’t expecting to feel bored when I quit drinking. Up till then, I felt like I was living an exciting and activity packed life, but it turned out that the only thing I really ever did was drink. Suddenly I found out that alcohol had been slowing my brain down a little making a regular old “boring” day seem exciting. That was a mean trick for sure.
After 2 years of living alcohol free, I can now say that I’ve come up with a few ways to deal with this feeling of boredom, and I wanted to share my ideas with you.
Strategy #1: Make a LIST and Get Busy!!!
I don’t know about you, but the hardest time for me, when it came to not drinking, was the weekend. I just didn’t quite know what to do with myself on the weekend if the weekend didn’t revolve around drinking. So I started making myself SUPER BUSY during the weekend!
My husband and I got into the habit of making a list on Friday night that was JAM PACKED with everything we were going to do on Saturday and Sunday. We would add house projects that we had put off when we were drinking. We would add fun things to the list, and we would even add things like “Make yummy coffee and drink it while watching Netflix”.
I know that making a BIG list can sometimes feel overwhelming, but for me and my husband it was actually fun. It still is now. Plus, it is SO rewarding when you make a HUGE list, and at the end of the weekend you get to see all of the items crossed off. I also feel so much more prepared as I go into the following week when I’ve had a weekend full of productivity and relaxation.
Strategy #2: Get FOCUSED on a New Hobby
Sometimes it can be hard to even remember what you like doing when you first quit drinking. To help you remember or even discover some new hobbies, start thinking back to what you used to enjoy when you were a kid or teenager. Doing this exercise REALLY helped me think of tons of hobbies I could reconnect with.
When I was a kid, I loved doing crafts. My mom is super crafty and she always had us doing some sort of craft. My favorite one that she taught me how to do was crocheting. I LOVED crocheting so much. I started in high school and got more and more into it in college, and in my 20’s I was obsessed. I even participated in a pretty hip Stitch ‘n’ Bitch with other 20 somethings in Portland. Anyway, once I had kids, this hobby took a backseat. Then when I quit drinking, I picked it back up again.
I also started reading again. I used to read or write in a journal each evening before I fell asleep, but as I started drinking more and more the reading stopped. I mean, have you ever tried to read after a night of drinking. It doesn’t work so well. These days, I read every evening before I go to bed. I also read outside when it’s really nice out instead of drinking outside.
One last thing I brought back into my life after I quit drinking was making music. Now, if you didn’t know, I was a music teacher for 18 years. I LOVE singing, playing piano, and playing guitar. When my husband and I quit drinking, he started playing the Ukulele. I loved listening to him play, and then I hopped in and joined him. We invested in a Ukulele app. It was pretty spendy, BUT we weren’t buying booze anymore so we put that money toward the app and a uke for me. It’s such a fun way to spend our evenings together instead of drinking the night away.
Strategy #3: Embrace the Boredom
The last strategy is to embrace boredom. Okay, I know you may be reading this and thinking, “What??? What does she even mean by this?”
Well, think about it — when you’re an adult, you’re BUSY all the time. You go to work, you help your kids learn how to be productive humans, you make dinner every night, you have tons of chores, etc. You’re BUSY!
I want to challenge you to embrace the boredom. When you’re feeling bored, take moment and think to yourself, “I am so lucky that I have time to feel bored. I think I’m going to use this time to relax on the couch and scroll TikTok or watch Netflix. Give yourself some relaxing days that don’t involve drinking and don’t involve a hangover!
I hope those strategies will help you the next time you’re feeling bored. Also, I’d love to hear which strategy was the most helpful for you. Just put it in the comments of this blog post. And if you complete a big project or start a new hobby, tell me all about it. I can’t wait to hear about it.
And remember, drinking NEVER cured boredom. It just slowed down your reaction to the world around you so then you were just drunk and bored. Now get out there and embrace those hangover-free days and do some super fun and/or productive things!!!