Anger and resentments aren’t the only deadly triggers for alcoholics and addicts. One of the others that comes to mind, thanks to this Pandemic, is plain, old fashioned boredom.
I have always found it particularly problematic because it sneaks up on us when nothing else of major significance seems to be going wrong in our lives. Unlike a real or imagined crisis that sends us into panic mode, boredom doesn’t drive us into that escape lane where the only relief waiting at the finish line is calamity dressed in our drug of choice.
No, boredom whispers a malleable hint of discontent into our sobriety. It isn’t something we can easily identify like anger or depression. It becomes one of those phenomena that is so vague you can’t quite put your finger on it. And that is what makes it so dangerous. If we can’t name it, how can we combat it?
In early sobriety, there were times when boredom seemed to literally smother me. I would become so discombobulated that I would grab my car keys, head out the door, and have no idea where I was headed. Often, I simply drove around the block. But most of the time, I intuitively ended up at a meeting. That had to be God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself. When I was bored, I was on a slippery slope and didn’t even recognize it.
So, right now, the coronavirus is placing us all in that hazard zone. And who knows for how long it is going to last? Now is the time for us to familiarize ourselves with the feelings of boredom. Recognize the symptoms. And determine how it manifests in each of us individually. This is a period of self- introspection. We must take this opportunity to name it, claim it, and find ways to combat it.
Now, is when we can take the initiative and look for innovative ways to spend time with our families. After all, we are going to be stuck with each other for a while. Get out the cards and board games. Give the kids an extra hour or two on their Xbox. Sort through the cookie recipes and turn the kitchen over to our future chefs and homemakers. Never have enough time to organize those old photo albums. Here’s your chance. The kids will love it.
Hey Mom, is that really you and Dad? You’re bound to get a giggle or a belly laugh.
And, if you have no kids in the house or live alone: How about those outdated magazines you never got around to reading, or some of those great books collecting dust on the shelves? If you haven’t experienced binging, give it a shot, a relatively safe addiction, unless, of course, you are binging on the current news.
The aforementioned are just a few ways we can suit up. If you have a few unique ideas of your own, how about sharing them via messenger with your friends, or posting them on Facebook? Let’s boot boredom in the ass before it kicks ours.