Boredom is one of the most dangerous things an addict can encounter.
Mood music for this post: “What’s It Gonna Take” by Motley Crue:
Last night Erin was working, the kids were in bed and I had time on my hands. It wasn’t long before I started to feel bored.
Not good for someone with an addictive personality.
Boredom means the mind is free to start spinning. I feel uneasy and can’t settle on anything. Then I’m in the kitchen, looking through the cabinets.
I see a bottle of gin and consider taking a swig. If I do, surely no one will ever know.
I see the cupcakes Erin baked for Duncan’s kindergarten graduation celebration. Surely no one will notice if one goes missing. Or two. Or five.
For about 20 minutes, I’m standing there seriously thinking about breaking both my abstinence from binge eating and my sobriety. Erin doesn’t have to know. My OA sponsor doesn’t have to know.
Then I come to my senses and leave the kitchen. Instead of doing what I used to do all the time, I make a couple calls to fellow addicts in recovery, take a shower and go to bed.
When the addict in me stirs, there are usually reasons. A wave of depression. Stress over some family or work situation. Self loathing.
Last night none of those applied. Instead it was the boredom. Pure and simple. When I get bored, I start talking to The Asshole [Read about him in “Meet My Demon“].
I’m lucky these days. When I start listening to The Asshole, I’m able to snap back to reality and think of all the things I’ve accomplished in recovery. Breaking my abstinence and/or sobriety is just not worth the risk of everything crashing down.
There’s always the chance that I’ll relapse. That’s a danger every recovering addict lives with.
But it’s not going to happen today.
Since recovery is about taking it one day at a time, that’s a huge victory for me.
Still, last night was a good reminder that boredom can be lethal for someone like me. That’s why I write so much. That’s why I chose a demanding profession. That’s why I fill up all the remaining time in my days with activity, whether it’s something at church or various security industry meet-ups. It’s why I traveled 10 hours to and from Washington DC in a cramped RV with nine other people last February for the ShmooCon security conference instead of taking a 90-minute flight.
I don’t ever want to be bored.
That’s when the bad stuff happens.