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Will I be boring now that I've stopped using drugs and alcohol?

Will I be boring now that I've stopped using drugs and alcohol?

So you’ve decided to try recovery and stopped using drugs and/or alcohol!? You’ve most likely got some really good reasons for making that choice, or you’re just curious as to how your life will be without mind-altering substances. Of course, it's natural to have concerns and feel a bit anxious about how your recovery might impact your social life and relationships. Are you worried that without drugs and alcohol, you'll become a boring person, unable to have fun or connect with others?

Choosing recovery is not about becoming boring, dull, or uninteresting; it's about rediscovering your authentic self and finding meaning and purpose in your life. I’m guessing that your substance use had become kind of boring, repetitive, and full of negative consequences, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

Recovery is not the end of excitement, fun, and joy; it's just the beginning of something new and different. As you recover from the disconnection, dysfunction, and destruction of heavy or abusive use of drugs and alcohol, you give yourself the opportunity to experience clarity, self-discovery, and genuine connections. Recovery is the opportunity to redefine yourself and create a life that aligns with your true needs, wants, goals, and values. Recovery gives you the chance to experience presence and appreciate the here and now, rather than chasing something from the past or running after something in the future.

You might be thinking that you’re going to be boring now that you don’t drink and use. Because of that it's helpful to redefine what fun, pleasure, and enjoyment mean to you. In the past, drugs and alcohol may have been your go-to sources of entertainment and excitement, and they probably made you feel good at some point. The problem is they’re not giving that to you anymore, so you’ve decided to make some changes. What does it mean to have fun, and experience pleasure and excitement in recovery?

Recovery is about doing things differently, and that also means how you have meet people, make friends, and have fun!

One of the most common fears in recovery is the worry that you won't be able to connect with others without the use of substances. Maybe your drug(s) made you feel confident and sexy, or allowed you to be less inhibited and less worried about what people thought of you. Although it’s difficult in the beginning for some of us, it does get easier. Social anxiety and fear of judgement are real! Rather than feeling fear, try and see that recovery is about creating authentic, meaningful relationships built on trust, honesty, and shared experiences.

It's a process that creates plenty of opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. If you are willing to do the work, you’ll get the chance to explore your healthy desires, develop new skills, and challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Choosing behaviors that promote self-improvement, like reading, studying, or exploring your creativity, will mean you don’t get bored, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn and grow.

One of the most profound realizations for many people in recovery is the power of living in the present moment. Instead of constantly seeking the next high or numbing yourself from reality, recovery gives you the chance to learn to be fully present and appreciate the unbeatable skill of being where your feet are. Think about exploring mindfulness practices, such as meditation, breathwork, or journaling, which will help you develop a deeper connection with yourself and the world around you. Living in the present is full of emotional depth and something to be savoured.

It also gives you the opportunity to rediscover who you truly are, and what you really want, without the influence of drugs and alcohol. This process of self-discovery can be dually thrilling and challenging, since recovery is about reconnecting with yourself, and (re)discovering what brings you meaning and purpose. And yes, it might be uncomfortable in the beginning while you figure it all out, but it doesn’t mean you’re boring!

Consider the following ways to (re)discover yourself in sobriety:

  • Reflect on your values, beliefs, and aspirations: What really matters most to you? What kind of person do you want to be? What can you achieve if you are fully aligned with your essence and purpose? Aligning your choices and actions with your values is an empowering practice.

  • Explore your creativity: Engage in activities that allow you to express yourself. Try writing, painting, music, or singing. Creativity can help you process emotions, create presence, and discover meaning and purpose. It’s also a way of combating overthinking!

  • Cultivate self-awareness: Practice mindfulness and introspection to gain a deeper understanding of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This self-awareness will help you make positive changes and build a stronger sense of self.

Remember, rediscovering yourself is a gradual process. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you do things that are new and different. Acknowledge and reflect on your progress, no matter how small, and embrace change and transformation. Aligning with your authentic self will probably be more meaningful, and less reckless, risky, and destructive than the ways you “had fun” whilst you were using! You might be surprised at what you discover about yourself and what you like and enjoy as you deepen and anchor your process. Explore new interests, rediscover old passions, and create healthy memories that don’t include the use of drugs or alcohol.

What are some ideas finding a sense of meaning and purpose, and having a little fun in recovery?

  • Pursue a new hobby or skill: Whether it's painting, pottery, photography, cooking, or learning a musical instrument, engaging in creative pursuits can be incredibly rewarding and provide a sense of accomplishment.

  • Try out some physical activities: Exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Find an activity you enjoy, such as hiking, padel, dancing, yoga, boxing, or team sports, and make it a regular part of your healthy lifestyle.

  • Do some service: Helping others can be deeply fulfilling and provide a sense of purpose. Look for opportunities to volunteer at local organisations, animal shelters, or community events. Of course you can always put up your hand for a service position in a 12-step meeting once you are feeling more comfortable. When you’re feeling crappy, doing something for someone who has less than you can also be extremely fulfilling.

  • Get into nature: Nature has a way of soothing the soul and providing a sense of peace. Take a walk, go camping or fishing, spend a weekend in the bush, or simply sit in a park and be still for a bit. Connecting with nature is also a type of rest that leaves us feeling restored and regenerated.

  • Find your tribe: Surround yourself with people who share your interests and values. Find a way to create community and possibly new friendships. Although you might feel awkward in the beginning, joining a support group, a club, or an interest group are great ways to introduce yourself as you are now; not how you were before. The 12-step programme offers loads of support, community and fellowship and can be a great place to make new friends.

What brings you fulfilment may be different from others, and that's okay. Take your time and explore different things until you find what resonates with you. Be open to trying new experiences and stepping outside your comfort zone. As you engage in new and healthy activities that align with your passions and values, you'll find that life in recovery can be incredibly rich, rewarding, and far from boring.

Of course, you may find yourself facing new challenges when it comes to social situations and relationships. It's common to feel anxious or unsure about how to be in social settings without drugs or alcohol. Take it slow, you don’t have to figure everything out straight away! Give yourself time to integrate back into certain groups, leave others, and join new ones.

One of the keys to navigating social situations in recovery is to be honest and open about your process. Don't be afraid to share your story with those you trust, as it can help create understanding and support. But remember to read the room – not everyone needs or deserves to know your story! Surround yourself with people who respect and encourage your recovery, and you’re going to have to learn to create healthy boundaries and take care of yourself around certain people. It's okay say no to events or gatherings that may trigger temptations or make you feel uncomfortable.

As you build new relationships and strengthen existing ones, focus on finding common ground and shared interests that don't revolve around substances. This might be tricky with certain people in your life, and you’re allowed to choose who you engage, and don’t engage, with now that you’re making different lifestyle choices. Find ways to connect that are meaningful and authentic and remember that true friends will appreciate and support your recovery choices. Those who don't may not have been real friends to begin with…

Another thing to remember is that it's natural to experience fears of missing out (FOMO) and possibly face peer pressure around the use of substances. These challenges can be particularly daunting in social situations where substance use is prevalent. Acknowledge that these feelings are valid and that it's okay to feel apprehensive about how your sobriety might impact your social life.

Instead of focusing on what you might be missing out on, shift your perspective to what you are working towards. Lean into the authentic connections with people who support your process and share your values. Again, recognise that true friends will respect your decision to prioritise your well-being and will not pressure you to compromise your sobriety.

It is also important to equip yourself with practical coping strategies to handle situations where peer pressure or FOMO may arise. Practice assertive communication techniques to confidently express your boundaries and decline invitations that could jeopardise your recovery. Have a plan in place, such as bringing a sober buddy to some events or having an exit strategy if you feel uncomfortable. Remember, your sobriety is a non-negotiable priority, and it's okay to put your well-being first. Don’t people please by making other people feel okay when you don’t.

Be self-loving and compassionate with yourself as you navigate the challenges of peer pressure and FOMO. Recognise that it takes commitment and courage to be well, even when it feels difficult. And don’t forget the acknowledge and celebrate the progress you've made. These milestones serve as powerful reminders of your strength, resilience, and commitment to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Celebrating your successes not only boosts your self-confidence and self-efficacy, but also reinforces your commitment to your recovery and well-being.

Take time to reflect on how far you've come and the positive changes you've made in your life. Share your accomplishments with your support network, including family, friends, and your recovery community. Another meaningful way to celebrate your milestones to treat yourself to experiences that align with your new lifestyle. This could include rewarding yourself by:

  • Taking a trip to a place you've always wanted to visit.

  • Buying yourself something you’ve been wanting for a while.

  • Enrolling in a class or workshop to learn a new skill or hobby.

  • Volunteering for a cause you're passionate about.

  • Planning a gathering with loved ones to celebrate your progress.

By rewarding yourself with experiences that enrich your life, you reinforce the idea that sobriety is not about deprivation but rather about embracing a more authentic and meaningful existence. Celebrate each victory, no matter how small, and use them as stepping stones to propel you forward. As you accumulate these achievements, you'll build a strong foundation of self-confidence, -worth, and -belief.

As you move through recovery, hopefully you'll come to realise that sobriety is not shitty choice you were forced to make by others, but rather a choice you made for yourself which includes freedom and empowerment. Rather than being limited in the choices you have when you’re using, you get to make choices that align with your values, pursue your dreams and aspirations, and experience greater stillness living life on your own terms. Recovery gives you the chance to take control of your life, build healthy relationships, and create real purpose and meaning. It means you can face challenges head-on, develop resilience, grit and rugged flexibility, and discover your truth.

So no, recovery and choosing not to use substance doesn’t make you boring – it makes you brave, authentic, and free. It can open you up to endless possibilities, genuine connections, and personal and professional growth. You have the chance to redefine yourself, pursue your passions, and create a life that is meaningful to you!

Recovery doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun, it just means you might have to do things a little differently, especially initially, and that doesn’t mean you’re boring. It’s really kind of boring doing the same thing over and over again, never growing or changing. Waking up every Saturday morning with a hangover gets boring. Hustling for drugs and living through comedowns gets boring. Feeling constantly sick and suffering emotionally becomes extremely boring. Choosing a healthy productive lifestyle is probably not going to be chaotic and dramatic, but that’s not necessarily boring!

Think about what you want and where you are going, and don’t worry too much about the people who think you are boring now that you’ve chosen to do things differently. Taking care of yourself, trying new things, and having new experiences doesn’t sound boring to me. But it’s taken me time to get there, and sometimes I do miss the chaos of a big night out, and I’m always grateful that I don’t have to pay the high price of being unwell and ill for that “fun” anymore. So, think about what you want and where you are going, and then ask yourself whether you using and drinking really was that much fun anymore, or had it actually become a little boring?

Be the Change Blog - Will I be boring now that  I've stopped using?

1 Comment

No u definitely will not be boring. I guarantee it

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