Is Sobriety Boring You To Tears? Here Are 7 Tips To Help You Break Out Of Your Sober Funk.

What to do when you’re sober and bored.

Are you reading this right now because you got sober recently and feel so bored you might spontaneously combust… or worse…drink?

You are not alone, my friend.

Getting sober is like learning to walk again after a terrible accident. You should be able to go about living your life without drinking alcohol, but you feel utterly useless and have no idea what to do with yourself.

I mean, look at all this TIME you have!

The hours you used to devote to drinking and recovering from drink have to be filled now with… well who knows what?

The more you think about it, the more annoyed it makes you, which is unfortunate because you’re already feeling rather annoyed these days.

Have no fear! I’ve been where you are, as have thousands of other sober people who had to learn to have a life again after sobriety.

Let’s help you get started, shall we?

7 Tips For Handling Boredom In Sobriety

bored sober woman staring at computer screen at coffee shop
sobriety and boredom

1. Get your Mindset Right

Don’t start getting down on yourself because you can’t get wasted at the bar with your friends anymore. You don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole. 

Romanticizing alcohol is a terrible thing to do to yourself. 

Also, don’t be a grump. If you are walking around saying that there’s nothing to do and everything about sobriety is boring and terrible, you are condemning yourself to misery. 

That being said, drinking FOMO is real and must be dealt with. Sometimes admitting the truth to yourself is the first step. 

It’s perfectly okay to say, “Hey, I’m in a weird spot right now.” 

sober bored woman looking out her balcony with head on arms
bored and sober

On the one hand, you have no idea what you’re supposed to do with yourself. It’s possible you don’t feel good and your emotions are all over the place.  

And on top of all of that?

You’re lonely.

Your friends are out getting drunk, same as they always do. Meanwhile you’re at home wondering how many days it would take someone to find your body after you’ve choked on those peanut M&M’s you’ve been knocking back during your latest Netflix binge. 

The BEST thing you can do right now is have a little faith. 

Things are upside down. They will fall into place soon if you are patient and don’t drink. 

You have to commit to not being bored anymore.

Here’s what I mean by that.

If you’re newfound sober boredom is making you feel sorry for yourself, that’s the first thing you need to tackle or nothing on this list is going to help you.

Do you ACTUALLY not want to be bored? Do you REALLY want to be happy and sober?

via GIPHY

Because I can help you with that. I can point you in all kinds of directions. But YOU have to believe that you’re empowered to change the state of your internal world.

You have to, at the very least, be in the headspace that you’re willing to try.

Sobriety is an emotionally difficult time. Even if you’re mood is generally low and you find it confusing, so long as you’re willing to TRY to make it better, you’ll be fine. Something on this list will start to work for you.

I believe that if you clicked on this article, at least a part of you is willing to proactively tackle this problem. Keep that in mind if your inner critic starts acting up and trying to convince you that nothing here will work for you.

2. Find a hobby

Preferably one that keeps your hands busy (don’t be gross). 

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Finding something to do and care about helps create meaning in our lives, something you might desperately need at the moment. 
  2. Engaging in hobbies that have you DOING something is a fantastic way to temporarily escape the raging firestorm in your brain. 

Hobbies can quickly turn into a tool for mindfulness. Let’s say you decide you want to learn to knit. You’ve already picked out a name for your Etsy shop. It’s called Dude Scarves and it’s going to be great!

Learning a new skill is going to take 100% of your undivided attention. The time you spend learning to knit is time you are NOT spending thinking about how much you want to drink. 

paint brushes and pots to fight boredom in sobriety
hobbies help combat sobriety boredom

Eventually, you’ll become good enough that you can get lost in it. You’ll lose time and end up feeling much more calm and refreshed after you’re finished. 

Obviously it does not have to be knitting. Take up baking, woodwork, designing stickers – anything hands on is a winner!

The point is to find something that can get you out of this boring, sober lull. 

Getting a new hobby also opens up social opportunities. You can take classes or join creative groups and hang out with fellow knitters and sticker makers. 

Additionally, you’ll get the natural high of having created something with your own two hands. That’s a major boost to your mental health. 

If you’re rolling your eyes at this section, please refer to tip #1. 

Okay, but I genuinely have no idea which hobby to pick

Totally fine and understandable! 

What did you enjoy doing before drinking came around and took over your social life? If you have to dig WAY back into childhood for this answer, then do that. 

Before I became an alcoholic, I loved to write. It was my passion. I kept a notebook and pen beside my bed in case I woke up in the middle of the night with a brilliant song lyric or poem. 

That is the activity I’ve buried my energy into since quitting. 

I would totally love to learn to knit or DIY refurbish a chair like they do on Flea Market Flip, but for now I mostly stick to writing and figuring out why my toddler is mad at me. 

What did you like to do? Don’t worry if it’s cool or age-appropriate. If the internet has shown us anything, it’s that neither matters. 

It doesn’t even have to be crafty. 

Have you always wanted to learn to dance salsa? Get on Google, find a class, and make it happen. Plus, you might meet some cool people and that’s always a double win. 

 

3. Take a fitness class or go to the gym. 

Not only will the exercise help your physical and mental health, but it’s a fabulously healthy cure for sobriety boredom. 

Depending on where you live, there are a variety of options available to you. Spin class, yoga, pilates, CrossFit, Zumba, Bootcamp. 

Pick something and try it. If you don’t love it, try something else. 

I’m a fan of Class Pass because it allows you to try out several different gyms and classes without having to make a commitment to any of them. 

A word of caution: to the greatest extent possible, get out of the house for this part. If money is an issue, check out community centers or any yoga-by-donation type events. 

Yes, you could just hop on YouTube and pick an exercise and it WOULD help, but you do need to force yourself to get out of the house whenever possible. 

bored woman on backdrop that says how to tackle boredom in sobriety
managing boredom in sobriety

 

4. Go on a field trip.

If you have a willing friend or family member, take them along. If not, that’s cool too. 

I found myself planning little outings when I got sober because I needed to figure out what it meant to have fun again. 

So I went and saw shows at the local performing arts center. I dragged my husband to the zoo and aquarium. New museum opening up within driving distance? We were there. 

When you get sober, you realize there is an entire daytime pulse in your city or town that you never really felt before. Things that people do during that day that don’t involve recovering or boozy brunch. 

I like to check on Groupon when I’m being moody and can’t think of ideas for what to do. Not only does it put you on to events, eateries, or activities you hadn’t thought about previously, but you get a discount. 

What’s not to love? 

 

5. Get out in nature. 

sober people hiking in the woods
beat boredom in sobriety

Whether it’s going for a walk in your neighborhood, visiting a park, or tackling a nature trail on foot or bike, find something to do to get fresh air. 

We are stressed out, over stimulated, tech-obsessed creatures. Pile on some sobriety struggle and it’s a recipe for madness. 

Getting outside and communing with nature is scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve mental health and cognitive function in both kids and adults. 

Start with going for walks 10-15 minutes every day. Pursue outdoor activities like kayaking or fishing. Go camping. 

Reconnect with the trees, man. 

You will feel better. If nothing else, it will help reset your attitude and clear the cobwebs in your brain so you can tackle your sober boredom more effectively. 

 

6. Start journaling.

I’ve included this separate from hobbies because I don’t believe that journaling is a hobby. I’d classify it more as a tool. 

It’s something I do in addition to my own creative writing. 

When you first get sober, sometimes we misinterpret other feelings like depression and sadness for boredom. 

It’s the difference between not being sure what to do and having zero motivation to do anything. Both are common in sobriety. 

journaling on paper to combat boredom
journaling to fight boredom

Unloading some thoughts onto the page can help you figure out what you’re actually feeling. Are you bored? Or are you lonely? Depressed? A combination of all three?

You have to understand what you’re feeling and WHY you’re feeling this way in order to change it. Journaling helps you do that. 

It also opens up space to approach your internal world differently. One of the biggest impediments to my sobriety during my relapse days was my inability to avoid getting consumed by emotions. 

I over-identified with every negative feeling in my body. 

Oh I’m so sad. Nobody wants to be around me. I just want to cry and scream. I don’t know what to do anymore. 

Which is not to say that these emotions weren’t serious or real. They were. But I didn’t know what to do with them besides feel them. And the more I felt them, the more intense and blinding they would get. 

How journaling helps beyond boredom. 

Journaling allowed me to step outside of my emotions. I could pour my heart out and every irrational thought onto the pages. 

When I was finished, it was like someone had hit the refresh button on my brain. The intensity dimmed. I could go back and re-read what I wrote and approach it from the perspective of an outside observer. 

Oh, okay. I keep going on and on about Friend X who didn’t invite me to this event. And I’m really caught up about Event Y. There’s clearly something going on there. What can I do to fix this? If nothing, how can I move past it? 

When you begin to view your negative thoughts and feelings as problems to be solved, rather than the embodiment of who you actually are, you liberate yourself. 

It’s like figuring out how to play the guitar. It’s awkward, and slow-going, and hurts like hell, but you’re committed to figuring it out. So you deal with the unglamorous parts until you’re able to sweetly serenade the masses with your rendition of Wonderwall.

7. Volunteer

sober woman volunteering at clothes donation
volunteer work in sobriety

One of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling bored in sobriety is find a way to be of service to others.

Volunteer at your local shelter or thrift store. Sign up to do some work in your community garden. Humans not your thing? Volunteer at the local Humane Society to walk dogs or pet cats.

Volunteering is a great way to reconnect to your community. Helping others actually boosts our own mental health and feelings of self-worth. AND, it helps us to become less self-absorbed which, quite frankly, a lot of us are.

If you have the time, sign on to a longer term project like helping with this year’s charity bake sale or the big 5K race your city holds every year. You’ll get a chance to meet new people and be a part of something positive.

If nothing else, it starts to chip away at any notion you might have that you’re unworthy.

Related Post: How To Forgive Yourself in Sobriety

Sobriety Gets Easier

Whether your sobriety has you wallowing in boredom or self-pity, please know that it will get better. Even if you have no idea HOW things can change, trust the process and keep working on it.

Feeling bored, sad, lonely, or anxious about something are all very human things to feel. You’ll never escape them.

Sure, you tried to do that with drinking, but look where that got you!

So now comes the arduous task of learning how to manage the tough stuff without a chemical crutch like alcohol.

This is the part where you figure out how to enjoy life without a little something extra to help loosen you up.

And you know what?

It’s great!

Even if you don’t see it now. Maybe you think I’m full of shit. I certainly would have if I’d read this article five years ago.

But I PROMISE you, if you keep moving forward, things in your brain will start to click. Dark clouds will go away. And one day it will occur to you that you’re actually happy and enjoying your life.

In the meantime, the Soberish community is here to support you and help you get there.

bored man on bench with title tips for managing boredom in sobriety
bored and sober

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Alicia @ Soberish

Hi! I'm Alicia, the woman behind Soberish. I write about sobriety, mental health, and the reality of making big life changes. Oh, and I get to call myself "mama" to the cutest little girl in the world.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Judy

    Thank you so much for this article. I have been sober for 6 weeks, mainly due to health and the weight it has put on. I have been working from home since March 17th (COVID) and will be here until 2021. I work the News Desk for a TV station and it is brutal at times. I miss going into the office. Also, my husband works evenings so now I am truly bored. Not a problem during the day, but bored and lonely in the evening. So, between being on a restrictive diet that does NOT include alcohol or popcorn, it has made me super emotional at times and bored. I am a Christian and love reading scripture to re-direct my mindset. I know this abstinence is worth it, on all levels, I won’t allow boredom to overcome me. 🙂

  2. Flo D

    I’m newly sober (6 days) and I’m STRUGGLING with boredom. I always knew alcohol took up a lot of time in my life, but my mind has been blank about what to fill it with. These are absolutely awesome ideas and i appreciate knowing that I’m not the only dealing with these new parts of sobriety.

  3. Susan

    Decided to read this article , wanted to remind myself of the early days of sobriety. I am sober 14 years this New Years! I didn’t think I could go 14 minutes without a drink. I was bored yet filled with anxiety. I had to make a step by step list and follow it through out the day because I couldn’t even get out of bed. With Gods help and a forgiving family, here I am clean and sober and happier than ever. Getting and staying sober is one of the hardest thing’s you’ll ever do. But it is so worth it !

  4. Connie

    Boredom is a huge issue. Even when my husband and I are out with friends or business events, the wine dials down my boredom and impatience with the mindless conversations. Dinner and television after a long day is extremely boring. A glass of wine or more helps with that. It’s easy to say turn off the TV, but my husband finds this TV time as an unwinding time. I’m learning to knit. Reading books and I’m still bored to tears. Wine helps .
    Boredom is huge. Thank you for this article. I thought I was the only person who drank because I was bored.

    1. Alicia @ Soberish

      Hi Connie! Oh you’re definitely not alone! You know the more I found things to do that made me feel like I had some kind of purpose, the less bored I became. I also have a two year old so boredom is a luxury I haven’t had in a while lol. I found a lot of times I used drinking to just opt out of thinking altogether. I didn’t want to do anything and didn’t want to not be doing anything either.

      1. Mark

        Couldn’t have been said better! Don’t want to do anything and don’t want to do nothing!! Three weeks sober now. I find my self wanting something to fill my time so bad. Millions of ideas go through my head but it’s rare one actually holds my attention enough to follow through. Reading a lot of posts here seems to help a lot. Thanks for the article

        1. Alicia @ Soberish

          You’re so welcome! The good news is that what you’re feeling does pass eventually but it is a real pain in the ass to deal with in the early days. You’ve got this!

  5. Ken

    Thank you. This helped a lot.

    Ken

  6. Jillian

    I cannot thank you enough for this article. I would have celebrated 2 years this coming November, but picked up last weekend because I was feeling bored, lonely, and really sorry for myself. Not only am I thankful for the ideas, but also to know I am not alone in this feeling.

    Thank you!

    1. Alicia @ Soberish

      You’re welcome! I’ve had a couple relapses in my past where I cannot for the life of me figure out why I drank. I was bored and just decided one day and then back to the binge I went. It happens to the best of us. Are you back on sobriety now?

      1. Jillian Amelung

        I am! 10 days back :).

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