Busting Boredom in Alcohol-Free Living

Busting Boredom in Sobriety

When I first quit drinking alcohol, I took a deep dive into cross stitch. The fine needle-work, the tiny squares, the thread I would inevitably lose if I set it down for a second: all of these factors were the perfect combination to keep myself occupied in early alcohol-free living. Had I ever done cross stitch before? Do I still do cross stitch all these years later? No and no. But at the time, it was the perfect distraction for me and something I pulled out as soon as my kid was in bed. I didn’t have enough hands to juggle a needle, hoop, and a glass of wine.

If we consider our habitual drinking as just that—a habit—we can begin implementing new habits in its place. If we know that that period between when we get home from work and we go to bed used to be the time we drank, and we don’t really have anything else in its place, we create a new habit. We try something new. We have a list of go-to activities in our back pocket, ready to pull out. Bonus points if they’re really hard to do while drinking or drunk.

Because this period of removing alcohol from our lives is a reinvention of sorts—we are truly entering a new way of being— this is a perfect opportunity to find new things that bring us joy. Things we may never have tried before, things we were a little afraid to check out. Adopt a new hobby, check out a new walking trail, maybe even get a little furry friend to keep you company.

(Actually, caring for another creature, like a pet, is a great way to focus on others and learn to show up as our best selves! Just make sure adopting a new animal does not add more stress to your life.)

A few surefire boredom busters:

  • Get some fresh air

  • Movement - Dance, stretch, do some yoga, go for a walk

  • Routine - fill your idle time with something you do every day, at that exact time, like lighting a candle and sitting down to journal when you get home from work

  • Do something with your hands - cook a meal, do a puzzle, read a book

  • Create something new - art, writing, needlework, clay (even playdough if that’s all you have around!)

  • Finally unclutter that closet you’ve been meaning to tackle

  • Meditation + mindfulness

  • Call up a friend

  • Try a new makeup tutorial

  • Plug into your alcohol-free/sober curious/mindful drinking community in person or online

  • Take a detox bath with fancy soaps and salts

  • Volunteer - giving back to others is a wonderfully rewarding way to connect to something bigger