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Why Is Being Sober So Boring?

I hear it all the time — why is being sober so boring?

It’s a legitimate question, especially because many people find that not being sober is tons of fun, that drinking or using drugs is the best way to enjoy yourself — or at the very least, to pass the time.

I am not here to condone drug use, nor am I here to judge. I am here to share my personal experience with sobriety and why being sober can be or feel so boring.

Before I go into my opinion and experiences with sobriety, first I will tell you that for years I had a long, painful run with drugs and alcohol both, and by the Grace of God, I can say that that chapter in my life is behind me.

Being Drunk or High Wasn’t Always Bad

I would be lying if I didn’t say that using drugs and alcohol didn’t have its fantastic moments.

I could take something and watch a movie, making the movie more extravagant. I could be out with friends at a bar. Who wants to drink water? That’s not fun.

Depending on how much of a tolerance you have to drugs/alcohol, something that can really rub the initial boring nature of sobriety right in your face is the unfortunate fact that your body is going to go through an uncomfortable phase known as “withdrawal.”

I identify myself as an addict in recovery, and I can say I have gone through the first 30 days phase a lot.

I was smoking an ounce of weed a week, and upon quitting, everything around me just seemed so bland. It most certainly wasn’t that way before I started — just something that happened upon years of marijuana consumption. 

Drugs like weed can full you into believing that you need this particular substance in order to get the most out of whatever the circumstance might be, whether it’s sex or going to a movie.

When you are used to this on a daily basis and take it away, for me, the things that I loved to do that were enjoyable I just could not find any pleasure in doing — for a long time, I found that being sober was boring.

Being Sober Was So Boring, and Quitting Was a Nightmare

Regardless of whatever drug you enjoy, if you use it every day, you just have to accept right now that there is a suffering and withdrawal process involved and you just don’t want to do jack crap.

If you want to know the details of withdrawal timelines and what each different drug looks like in regards to cessation, a simple Google search will suffice.

There were several “first 30 days” instances that I had to spend inside a treatment center.

When the withdrawal is at a point to where it is almost unbearable, and when you know that comfort is literally just a reach away, it’s easier to get completely removed from the situation entirely by going to treatment, where using isn’t even really a possibility.

Treatment actually taught me tools and ways to stay engaged and in the grip of life while sober, but I still just wanted to do it my way and needed more humility before I was willing to take suggestions like that. 

We Become Used to Being Able to Change the Way We Feel

Another huge reason why being sober is so boring for people, whether it’s early or later in sobriety, is because we become used to being able to change how we feel in a matter of seconds.

When you take a drink of alcohol or take a hit off of a joint, you feel good almost immediately. This can be even more greatly intensified and harder for someone whose drug of choice involves putting a needle in a vein.

Whether it’s crack, meth, or heroin, intravenous drug use produces a high that is so intense and so euphoric that people will chase it all the way to their early death.

I can’t even begin to say how many people close to me in recovery have relapsed and died after just being bored and wanting a quick fix. I am actually about to head out to a funeral for my brother today after finishing this short little post. 

Finding Healthy Ways to Chase Away the Boredom in Sobriety

When we quit using and get sober, it is so essential that we find healthy ways to be able to replace what we got from the drug — otherwise, being sober is so boring that many people actually consider suicide.

Most alternatives often seem to take a hell of a lot longer, and are sometimes more difficult, to create the same effect, but to a lesser degree. This sucks for a lot of people and keeps them trapped in the cycle of addiction. 

For an addict like me, to use means death, and there is just no other way around this process besides to stay on the path of sobriety and continue to learn coping strategies, methods, and relaxation tips.

More on that on a different blog — check out how to get sober or how to have fun in sobriety.

Why Is Being Sober So Boring? We Falsely Believe We Need Drugs to Do Certain Things

Like I briefly touched on earlier, another thinking trap that leads to treacherous amounts of boredom is the false belief that you need a drug or alcohol to do a certain thing. 

Maybe you are single and have never asked out a date while being sober. Or maybe you’re on a date and you’re sober, and the date just feels dry and boring. 

This is totally normal and often deters people from wanting to stay on the path.

It took me a while to be able to look myself in the mirror and be confident in what I see, and I eventually outgrew the urge to feel like I need something in order to feel a boost in self-confidence.

This makes it easier to sit alone with myself and not feel like being sober is boring. 

Alcohol did help me to let go of my self-consciousness and dance, but I had to drink an awful lot to achieve it. More often than not, by the time I had drunk enough to feel like dancing, the bar was about to close.

Also, beer helped me to socialize in groups when it turns out I didn’t actually really enjoy that.

You likely believe that you need booze or drugs to be able to do certain things, and you’re probably right about some of them.

But I can guarantee most of these things are flat-out false, and that sobriety will give you such an awesome opportunity to get to know yourself better. 

If you have been using for a long time, and especially if it’s something that you do every single day, then it is a certainty that you are not used to having to feel feelings.

Drugs do a good job at keeping you numbed out, and when you take that away, feeling all of a sudden exists.

I often used for the simple reason that being sober is so boring, so you can imagine how haunting boredom must have felt after using every single day for years.

Awful.

Being Sober Is so Boring and Overwhelming in Early Sobriety — It’s Just Plain Hard

In this first stretch of early sobriety, it can get pretty overwhelming fast when you have been sitting with the same awful physiological and emotional feeling for weeks and there is absolutely not a single thing that you can do about it.

I felt worried and anxious all the time and felt a lot of insecurity, worrying about how others must feel about me from all of the self-centered toxic bullshit I did to the people I loved and cared about while I was using. 

I was pretty oblivious to that for the most part, but once the drugs were taken away, it was like getting gut checked with all of the guilt and shame.

Those feelings are a lot harder than boredom is to me, but don’t get it twisted — all these emotions can lead to the same horrific ending, and that’s relapse and the chance of not making it back.

I spent my first few months finding myself ruminating a lot in the instances where I felt like being sober was so boring. I Couldn’t seem to relax and let things go.

Even Though Sobriety Is Hard, I’m Grateful I’m Sober

I am grateful to be sober today and am grateful to feel enthusiastic and engaged in writing this, even while sitting in the face of death. I just have to say that there is a way out and that the grass truly can be greener on the other side.

I can say God and the 12 steps found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and working them daily and praying and meditating daily have remedied just about every single issue I have come up against so far while being in recovery/sobriety.

My heart goes out to anyone out there trying to stay sober or get sober, and if you can’t seem to get through the first 30 days, please reach out to a treatment center and get help.

It’s amazing going through that process and I strongly recommend a place that uses the 12 steps.

If you’re wondering why sobriety is so boring and you’ve found this blog post, I urge you to try the 12 steps.

The only way I’ve ever found to chase away the boredom of sobriety is by going through the 12 steps. Period.

Do you feel like sobriety is boring? I get it — let me know about what you’re struggling with in the comments.

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Ryan Henderson

Ryan Henderson is a magician and mental health advocate.