Boredom: An Addict’s Worst Friend

by Bill Brenner on June 13, 2010

Boredom is one of the most dangerous things an addict can encounter.

Mood music for this post: “What’s It Gonna Take” by Motley Crue:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHk7h-xik-E&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

Last night Erin was working, the kids were in bed and I had time on my hands. It wasn’t long before I started to feel bored.

Not good for someone with an addictive personality.

Boredom means the mind is free to start spinning. I feel uneasy and can’t settle on anything. Then I’m in the kitchen, looking through the cabinets.

I see a bottle of gin and consider taking a swig. If I do, surely no one will ever know.

I see the cupcakes Erin baked for Duncan’s kindergarten graduation celebration. Surely no one will notice if one goes missing. Or two. Or five.

For about 20 minutes, I’m standing there seriously thinking about breaking both my abstinence from binge eating and my sobriety. Erin doesn’t have to know. My OA sponsor doesn’t have to know.

Then I come to my senses and leave the kitchen. Instead of doing what I used to do all the time, I make a couple calls to fellow addicts in recovery, take a shower and go to bed.

When the addict in me stirs, there are usually reasons. A wave of depression. Stress over some family or work situation. Self loathing.

Last night none of those applied. Instead it was the boredom. Pure and simple. When I get bored, I start talking to The Asshole [Read about him in “Meet My Demon“].

I’m lucky these days. When I start listening to The Asshole, I’m able to snap back to reality and think of all the things I’ve accomplished in recovery. Breaking my abstinence and/or sobriety is just not worth the risk of everything crashing down.

There’s always the chance that I’ll relapse. That’s a danger every recovering addict lives with.

But it’s not going to happen today.

Since recovery is about taking it one day at a time, that’s a huge victory for me.

Still, last night was a good reminder that boredom can be lethal for someone like me. That’s why I write so much. That’s why I chose a demanding profession. That’s why I fill up all the remaining time in my days with activity, whether it’s something at church or various security industry meet-ups. It’s why I traveled 10 hours to and from Washington DC in a cramped RV with nine other people last February for the ShmooCon security conference instead of taking a 90-minute flight.

I don’t ever want to be bored.

That’s when the bad stuff happens.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barb June 13, 2010 at 4:28 am

that’s exactly what I did yesterday, sat on the couch all day and all night. I know I have to get up, take a shower, go grocery shopping, do some laundry but I don’t want to move. If I do, then my mind will be busy and I wont be able to think of things I need to do in the future, like tomorrow, next week, next month. I know I’m going to forget something so I have to constantly think about it instead of doing something. when it comes to ocd and depression, I am a lost cause. I have been in therapy and on medication for years; it helps, but not completely, so that little bit I have left can control my mind if I let it and I usually do unless someone pushes me.
today I am going to get dressed and go do some food shopping and maybe buy a book and do some reading; I might be on the couch but at least I will be reading.

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