Carole Bennett M.A.

From Heartache to Hope

Boredom - a very real road to addiction

"An Idle mind is the devil's playground".

Posted Apr 24, 2013

As the saying goes... "An idle mind is the devil's playground." Anyone with too much time on their hands may find themselves in hot, troubled waters. People who tend to be bored may also be weary or restless because of lack of any personal interests. They are bored with themselves, their jobs and life.

Boredom usually stems from one's own lack of motivation, endeavor or creativity. Everyone gets bored now and then, but it is the difference between changing that mood to healthy alternatives versus sitting around with friends "passing the pipe" for a few high flying hits. This kind of boredom can ultimately lead to an anti-social, destructive path toward addiction.

It's hard to imagine anyone being bored today; even if they are not interested in stretching their muscles, feelings or their minds. Computers, IPods, IPhones and game boxes can provide hours of (in my opinion) useless activity, so it seems that one has to look hard and actually seek out boredom. Boredom takes some perseverance to shake off. It is a state of mind and requires a committed determination to do something about it or change up the routine.

One can form a habit out of being bored because it can present a degree of comfort and safety. Eventually, since no one expects anything from you and in turn, you don't expect anything from yourself, drugs and/or alcohol can seem like an acceptable choice of behavior and the easiest and quickest fix requiring little or no effort is to "get high" or drink.

Drugs or alcohol can appear to take away the pain of emotional, mental or physical challenges. Boredom is often simply a state of awareness that shows up just prior to the surfacing of difficult, painful things we have stuffed away from our conscious awareness.

As difficult a challenge as boredom can present to overcome for anyone of any age, the answer lies in confronting and moving through and beyond the CAUSES of boredom. Anyone experiencing significant levels of boredom needs to ask themselves what challenging (and likely unpleasant) experience they are attempting to avoid. .

When children or adolescents are spending too much time in front of the television (or screens of any kind!) or listlessly whiling away hours it is time to step in. Curtail the screen-time hours and help your child look for and plan stimulating activates or hobbies. If they are not interested in pursuing them independently then get involved yourself or recruit other members of the family.

Strong, positive energy coupled with the right attitude is important to infuse into your child to shake his or her lazy, boring life and get with a new productive program. If executed early and properly, then boredom will have no opportunity to lead to dangerous experimentation with potentially addictive behaviors.

If you are an adult and active yet bored with work or mundane, tedious activities, push yourself to discover new adventures and even make new friends. If your job represents a form of security, but is painstakingly boring, explore new possibilities for employment even if you never fill out an application or get a job interview.

Talk to other family members and tell them of your boredom so that they can support and work with you in determining other paths to avoid your boredom. This might help to deter you from turning to alcohol or substance abuse in order for you to alleviate your own boredom in a self destructive, detrimental way. It also makes you accountable to others and them to you, if you have put out your hand for help.

Being bored is no fun. It's a waste of precious time and has zero productivity chips.

Be creative and shake things up in your life. You never know what might happen, especially if you keep an open mind. The alternative is either a stale, lackluster lifestyle or one where the only entertainment is destructive, out of control addictive behavior. Take responsibility and choose (hopefully) the more creative and productive path.

If I can be of service, please visit my website and I invite you to explore my book Reclaim Your Life – You and the Alcoholic/Addict. It can be purchased through PayPal or at Amazon. In addition, my book is available as an audio through PayPal only.