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Boredom is a state of mind that cannot be precisely defined. It’s also completely subjective, depending on the person. In order to avoid boredom, people can join a new club or team, start a new hobby or even go to different events. Unfortunately, some people turn to drugs and alcohol to relieve their boredom.

People can consider one activity, hobby, or event boring while someone else can view that ‘boring’ activity with great interest and attention. Men and women generally have different reported level of boredom and take different approaches to remedy their boredom. This article,  published in Scientific American, reports that people who are easily bored are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, drug addiction, and alcoholism. People who are easily bored usually lack the ability to entertain themselves and sometimes turn to high risk behavior as a consequence. The article cites a small study which consisted of 156 people in a methadone clinic. The people were ages of 24 to 68 years old. The study found that the subject’s reported level of boredom became a reliable factor in predicting if they would stay in treatment.

Studies and surveys done on boredom in relation to drug and alcohol abuse can provide good insight but it’s often the words of former or current drug abusers which shed the best light on how boredom can impact their lives and sobriety. This article quoted Charlie Sheen, an  infamous actor known for his battles with drug and alcohol abuse. Charlie Sheen said, “I was sober for five years a long time ago and was bored out of my tree.  It’s inauthentic- it’s not who I am.  I didn’t drink for 12 years and, man, that first one, Dan. Wow.”  The article continues with descriptions of how alcohol can remove inhibitions, acts as a salve to cover fears and worries, and it can provide a temporary sense of security.

How can a person’s life become boring without drugs and alcohol? When a person abuses drugs or alcohol, they’re constantly inviting drama into their life. This can be drama with friends, family, loved ones, or even issues with law enforcement. When someone decides to get clean, they eliminate a lot of those issues they were having when they were using drugs or abusing alcohol. Sobriety is boring for those people who crave the drama and attention that they get when they’re using drugs and alcohol. Boredom can serve as an excuse for someone to use drugs and abuse alcohol but it is just that- an excuse.  Sobriety does not equal boredom no more than being intoxicated equals a great, fun time.

Boredom and Substance Abuse
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