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Being Sober Is So Boring

Why Is Being Sober So Boring? Does Alcohol Give You Euphoria? What is Hangxiety? What to Do When Sobriety Gets Boring?

Being Sober Is So Boring. Why Do We Think That? 

Overcoming an addiction to alcohol is one of the most commendable and challenging things a person can do. The road to alcohol addiction recovery is not always easy. Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off. We’ve seen how much damage alcohol use disorder can do to a person, so it feels good when you can overcome alcohol addiction and cut alcohol out of your life.

Sobriety and recovery often are painted as boring lifestyles. We’ve often heard that being sober is so boring. Recovering alcoholics tend to fear the idea that they can’t enjoy life without alcohol. We all have a common fear when we start taking care of ourselves and putting down the alcoholism that started destroying our lives. Why is being sober so boring? It’s a valid question, especially because many find that not being sober is tons of fun, that drinking is the best way to enjoy yourself — or at the very least, to pass the time.

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Why Being Sober Is So Boring?

While we will always urge anyone struggling with alcohol addiction to seek professional alcoholism treatment, we also understand that getting rid of something that has taken up so much energy and time leaves something void in your life, even if that something is harmful.  If almost all of your social activities involve alcohol, life can become boring once you’re sober. You might have to avoid any gatherings where alcohol might be served, or you might have to cut yourself off from friends who might encourage you to drink. You might even not know what to do with yourself if you’re used to being drunk or high most of the time.

Be honest with yourself. Overcoming an alcohol addiction is never easy, especially since it requires you to re-assess your entire life. You might feel depressed and lonely, making you want to relapse. These feelings are normal, and you should never think less of yourself if they tend to overwhelm you.

If things get too difficult, there are resources available to you. You can talk to a loved one who can remind you why you wanted to become sober in the first place. You can talk to a crisis counselor if you feel like things are getting out of hand. If you have triggers that might make you want to start drinking alcohol again, take note of those triggers and do your best to avoid them. Most importantly, don’t give up. It is possible to overcome your feelings and find ways to prevent a relapse.

Does Sobriety Have To be Boring?

Absolutely not. You can learn how to relax without alcohol and live an exciting and fulfilling life without ever touching alcohol again. You just need to have the proper mindset and find other things that interest you. You must start by not romanticizing alcohol use. This can be challenging, especially since so much of our society tends to do just that. We’ve all heard stories about how much fun people can have when drinking with their friends. Maybe you have some stories of your own.

Why is being sober so boring? Do we use it as an excuse to relapse or as motivation to continue moving forward toward a better life?

Sobriety Starts Here

Sobriety starts by being honest with yourself. Overcoming an alcohol addiction is never easy, especially since it requires you to re-assess your entire life. You might feel depressed and lonely, making you want to relapse. These feelings are normal, and you should never think less of yourself if they tend to overwhelm you. 

If things get too difficult, there are resources available to you. You can talk to a loved one who can remind you why you wanted to become sober in the first place. You can talk to a crisis counselor if you feel like things are getting out of hand. If you have triggers that might make you want to start drinking alcohol again, take note of those triggers and do your best to avoid them. Most importantly, don’t give up. It is possible to overcome your feelings and find ways to avoid a relapse.

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Does Alcohol Give You Euphoria?

Euphoria, the feeling of well-being, has been reported during the early (10–15 min) phase of alcohol consumption. that is to say, at the time of rising blood-ethanol concentration and can be correlated with transient changes in the brain’s electroencephalographic activity.

The neurochemical basis of euphoria in general and that induced by alcohol, in particular, remains unclear. At least four neuronal mechanisms have been implicated: the dopaminergic, γ-aminobutyric (GABA)-ergic, opioidergic, and serotonergic systems.

For example, it has been suggested that ethanol may reinforce its intake by activating GABA receptors, thus causing relaxation and inducing euphoria by releasing dopamine from mesolimbic structures and/or endogenous opioids through activation of the right prefrontal cortex.

Alcohol Artificially Boosts Serotonin and Dopamine in Your Brain

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of happiness, well-being, and pleasure. It is also responsible for moderating moods and emotions. Serotonin depletion can cause feelings of sadness, anxiety, and irritability.

Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that is responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness. It is also responsible for regulating movement and emotional response. Dopamine depletion can cause feelings of apathy, boredom, and lack of motivation.

Serotonin and Dopamine Depletion in Early Sobriety

You create an imbalance when you consume alcohol to boost serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain artificially. That is why chronic alcohol consumption has such a negative impact on the brain. Alcohol can produce two to ten times more dopamine than natural rewards do in the brain. So now, you’ve got two major problems on your hand:

  1. Your brain will produce less dopamine to balance the artificial increase induced by drinking alcohol.
  2. Natural rewards now pale compared to the artificial tips that alcohol consumption gives you.

This is the reason why sobriety is not inherently boring, it’s that your serotonin and dopamine levels are now very low. When serotonin and dopamine levels are low, we become less motivated and less interested in our surroundings. This can lead to feelings of boredom and apathy. It’s why nothing seems fun or interesting, and you struggle to rally the motivation to have a good time.

What is Hangxiety?

Hangxiety is the collision of a hangover and severe anxiety. ”Hangxiety” refers to the experience of feeling the physical effects of alcohol-related to a hangover (tiredness, headache or stomach ache, nausea, etc), compounded by psychological uneasiness. While “hangxiety” is not an official medical term, hangxiety is a phenomenon that can occasionally or more regularly, as it can be connected to several factors. 

The most common reason (and obvious) is reduced dopamine secretion. Known as the “happy hormone,” dopamine is produced by the brain and used to send messages among nerve cells, regulating our anxiety levels. And the greater the alcohol consumption, the greater the drop in dopamine, which can lead to feelings of anxiety.

The co-occurrence of alcohol and anxiety disorders is relatively common. The research found that 20% of those with social anxiety have an alcohol misuse problem. Alcohol abuse and anxiety often make each other significantly worse. This is especially problematic as the two are often closely connected. As with many dual-diagnosis conditions, anxiety and alcoholism commonly exist within the same person. Anxiety is both a reason that many people drink and a result of drinking; it becomes a vicious cycle. Drinking alcohol can make an anxious person feel worse.

Being Sober Is So Boring
If you or someone you know has been affected by hangxiety, there are resources to help you recover.

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What to Do When Sobriety Gets Boring?

When you’re sober, your life doesn’t end. Many individuals feel that it’s just beginning. Life after alcohol addiction allows you to feel more in control of your activities and relationships. Life after alcohol addiction might also mean you have more professional success and new creative outlets that you discover when alcohol isn’t occupying all of your time.

Be Present In The Moment

We hear a lot about practicing mindfulness, not just in the recovery community but in mental health in general. Practicing mindfulness means focusing on the present moment and enjoying it for all it is, rather than thinking about the past or the future.

While consuming alcohol, you can feel like you’re skating through life but never really feeling or being in any of the moments. Living a drug-free life or an alcohol-free life means not only that you can be present but that you’ll remember everything in your life in a clear-headed way. You can take in every second and not feel like your life is passing you by in a whirlwind of blurred memories.

Find Hobbies You Enjoy 

Finding something to do and care about helps create meaning in our lives, something you might desperately need at the moment. Engaging in hobbies that have you doing something is a great way to escape the raging firestorm in your brain temporarily. Learning a new skill will take 100% of your undivided attention. The time you spend learning new hobbies is time you are not thinking about how much you want to drink. 

Consider Volunteering

Spend a day helping others and your community. Volunteering your time to help others gives you a sense of purpose and makes it easier than ever to meet new friends. One of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling bored in sobriety is to find a way to be of service to others. Volunteer at your local shelter or thrift store. Sign up to do some work in your community garden. Volunteer at the local Humane Society to walk dogs or pet cats.

Practice Self-Care

Alcohol use disorder doesn’t just affect your mental health. It affects your physical health in almost every possible way. You may not exercise because you’d rather drink or you’re spending time experiencing hangover symptoms. Your sleep patterns may change, and you may not think about eating healthy when intoxicated. Alcohol use disorder can also affect your immune system and your digestive system.

When you are in recovery, you can overcome the symptoms of alcohol addiction and instead have a healthy lifestyle. You can replace alcohol abuse with exercise and physical activity. Sober life can also allow you to think about nutrition as well. You’ll enjoy general health and wellness that you can’t necessarily achieve if you’re drinking alcohol.

Start Journaling

Unloading some thoughts onto the page can help you figure out what you’re feeling, whether you’re bored, lonely, depressed, or a combination of all three. You must understand what you’re feeling and why you feel this way to change it. Journaling helps you do that. 

Go to a Yoga Class

One of the adults’ best sober activities is enrolling in a yoga class. If you don’t feel like going for a jog, you might want to try doing yoga. Yoga has many physical and mental benefits for addiction recovery, including the ability to detoxify your body. Especially if you have abused alcohol in the past, yoga will help you flush out some of the toxins accumulated in your liver quicker.

Yoga is also beneficial for your state of mind, and it’s exactly what you need during the vulnerable period after alcohol withdrawal. This therapeutic activity will help you cope with emotions easier, improve your flexibility, and maybe allow you to make some new friends.

Brain scans on people addicted to drugs or alcohol show hyperactivity in certain parts of the brain that are more susceptible to self-interest and vulnerability to behavioral and mood disorders.

Yoga works to free the person from the idea of self. As such, yoga practitioners have greater connectivity to all parts of the brain. They can attain a form of cerebral stability that the brain of people addicted to drugs or alcohol lacks because their brain activity mainly focuses on satisfying their addiction.

Being Sober Is So Boring
The benefits of yoga for addiction recovery are expansive. People enjoy yoga because it calms the mind, releases tension, and strengthens the body. 

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Alcohol Problems

Alcohol is the most abused addictive substance in America, as more than 17 million people in the United States are considered to suffer from addiction to alcohol. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) publishes that over 1.5 million Americans are abusing a prescription drug.

To determine the most effective ways to treat individuals with moderate to severe alcohol use disorder, it’s crucial to get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When a mental health professional has evaluated the symptoms, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated process of alcohol withdrawal, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy 

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution–focused therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency. It can lead to complications such as choking, brain damage, and even death. Prompt alcohol poisoning treatments can help prevent these complications from occurring. If an alcoholic decides to stop drinking, they may alcohol experience withdrawal effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and tremors. The development of tolerance and withdrawal are indications of addiction. Contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today if you or a loved one are struggling with long-term drug abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression. Sobriety starts here at We Level Up and can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

Being Sober Is So Boring
Dual diagnosis is the treatment of mental illness, like anxiety and substance use disorders.

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Sources:

[1] NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/anxiety.html
[2] WHO – https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression
[3] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1295099/
[4] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860396/
[5] How To Sober Fast? – We Level Up NJ

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