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Being Bored When You’re Quitting Drinking

by | What to Expect | 27 comments

Everyone Gets Bored

Everyone gets bored sometimes, it’s just the way life is. It’s what makes certain parts of your life all the more exciting. The boring moments make the exciting moments seem all the more exciting. For instance, look at the weather. We have good weather days and bad weather days. We have the seasons where we can stroll around in the fine warm weather and other seasons where we have to get all dressed up in our woolen winter clothes. If every day was the same we’d soon get bored.

Default Behavior

Boredom is a big danger area when we’re trying to quit. As with any addiction, drinking is a habit. When drinking becomes habitual, it eventually becomes the default choice, maybe the only choice. Getting pissed is the default choice when we’re feeling happy, sad, tired, bored, grumpy, angry, or bored. When we’re bored, the first thing that pops into our minds to alleviate the boredom is alcohol.

When we’ve quit drinking, alcohol is no longer a choice. It cannot be part of our decision making process any more. When we get bored, drinking is not one of the options we have to relieve that boredom. We need a replacement.

The great news is that you now have many options, an endless supply of options. When you were drinking, cracking open a bottle was the default option, now that you can’t go there you have to think about other things to do. You now have a choice.

Being Bored When You're Quitting Drinking

What Should You Do?

Do something! Do Anything! Don’t be afraid of just being – Just being bored!

So what should you do if you get bored. Anything but drink! Simply get up and go for a walk for a half hour or an hour. Get up and dance around your house, put on some great music, watch a great movie that you’ve saved for the occasion. Meditate, read, or sing!

Don’t be afraid of just being bored. Someone once said that we spend much of our time as ‘human doings’ where we’re really ‘human beings’. Just being is sometimes enough to get you through. Just accept that you’re bored. Go inside yourself and see what you find. It took me a long time to figure this out about myself. I spent a lot of time dreaming about the different places in the world that I would like to visit. I didn’t really give much thought to the journey’s I could make on the inside. How far inside myself can I go?

I love walking. I get so much out of it. It clears my head, let’s me think, presents answers to questions that would never come when I’m sat at my desk. I listen to audio books or podcasts while I’m walking, I get too restless to do that while I’m sat at home. I’m breathing fresh air, getting exercise, and a change of environment.

You might not like walking. Do what you love to do and you won’t be bored.

What Should you Avoid?

Avoid doing nothing! Avoid moping, avoid whining about being bored. Thinking about how bored you are doesn’t work. You’re just being part of the problem. You need to be proactive, find a solution for yourself. There’s plenty of things you could be doing. I can only tell you what I do. You have to figure out what works for you.

Thanks for visiting the site.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!

Previous Posts You Might Have Missed

Am I a Potential Future Alcoholic?
Will I Lose Weight If I Quit Drinking?
Alcohol and Arthritis


  1. GC

    The problem I have with being bored and trying to quit is that nothing I like to do seems interesting without the alcohol.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      That’s probably because you’re so used to doing it all with alcohol. You never had that problem before you started drinking, you won’t have it after you stop drinking, unless you think you will. It’s all in the head!
      Best of luck GC

      • Ben

        HA! Not true at all! I was bored long before I started drinking…fact is it DOES help…the main problem is that it’s the ONLY thing that helps

        • Kevin O'Hara

          Why is it the only thing that helps?

          • allie

            I feel the same way ): I wish I could say that not drinking would be easy but honestly I just find my free time, experiences, etc.,far more “entertaining” when I am intoxicated. I get a feeling of looseness and relaxation, I find it easier to connect to people when intoxicated; and I don’t mean drunk, just even a few drinks. I agree though, I want to find something to replace drinking but I can’t. like you said its the “only” thing that helps. I can’t seem to find something else besides alcohol that makes me feel as though my life isn’t boring

          • Me

            Only thing, not QUITE, but the simplest solution, absolutely. Other things are fun, and fine. Just not AS fun, or AS fine. I think the real problem for me is that I’m just FUCKing lonely. Everyone that I used to be able to call on to go do something, ANYTHING else is gone in my life, dead, far away or otherwise, and I’m too old to find new “playmates”

            It’s simpler, more realistic for me to drink myself to deathappiness. I honestly feel beyond saving.

    • Carrie

      That’s our issue over here too. My boyfriend and I are trying but we get so bored and everything we do we’re used to doing it with beer and it just doesn’t seem as much fun 😔

    • maho

      well, actually I never get a hangover. and i drink everynight, 22:00 hours sharp untill i finish 3 cans (0.5 liters) of fine german beer (gebraut auf deutschen rheinheitsgebot)
      Now, i tried not to drink one day, and it made me pissed. I got so bored. So I drank water instead, but that doesnt cut it at all. also tried sparkeled water, also no help.
      Now I tried not drinking for couple of days – it was horrible. At work i felt dizzy and I promised myself I will drink on fridaynight. Got through that week, in anger, but got thrue.
      Its not the same as smoking cigarettes, thats nearly impossible for me to do, but I managed that for 11 months – as in pure willpower. I kicked some things in the process, but I made it. Now at that period I started drinking (to forget cigarettes) and now im stuck with this stupid alcohol thing. What should I do? start by drinking 2, and then 1 a day ? or cold turkey? Ive drank like this for over 3 years now (max 4*0.5 liters of 4.9% beer)

  2. DS

    Thank you so much for this. It helped right when I needed it.

    • Notgenetic

      I was sad to read this and hope that you gave taken some steps to get some help . Look on Reddit for the stop drinking group . It gives lots of help .
      Good luck .

    • Andy

      I see your post if from 2014. Just curious… did you drink yourself to dearth or are things better 4 years later?

      I stopped drinking 3 months ago and I’ve been bored. I stay busy, but the tasks and entertainment are less interesting. I’m hoping this eventually goes away. I recall quitting smoking 5 years ago after smoking for 24 years, thinking I will fight that addiction forever, but now I don’t even think about cigarettes. I hope that is true of beer.

      My fear is what I see in ex heroin addicts. I have 4 friends that quit using heroin, and not one of them is happy now, even 15 years after quitting. Knowing they will never get that euphoric feeling that they used to chase has left them mentally depressed. They all have little or no income and don’t function well. While I’m happy I never tried heroin, I’m worried that this same effect might apply to some degree with booze. I’m worried I’ll never get to be that happy again.

  3. Game Over

    2 and a half years completely sober here. I can vouch for the fact that it DOES get better. I struggled with terrible boredom for almost a full year after quitting. The good news it has gotten much much better. It actually gets better within a few weeks of quitting……..you will still struggle with boredom but it wont be every second of every day. It gets better and after about a year you will no longer (or very rarely) get bored without drinking.

    We spent so many years drinking, naturally its going to take some time for the brain to adjust. Let’s face it, your brain misses the alcohol and its not going to be easy coming off. But you CAN do it, this much I know. You can finally be free of hangovers or headaches or irritability and that foggy head for the entire next day after drinking. You can finally sleep well without interruptions that the alcohol brings.

    Trust me, it will be ok. You just have to believe it will be ok.

  4. Martin Brand

    i just quit as my new years resolution. Its amazing how much uninterrupted sleep I get and during the day getting up, working, walking the dog, cleaning the house and preparing dinner for the family is not completely exhousting anymore. I used to star drinking after everything was done, as a reward for all the hard work.
    Now the hours before going to bed are boring and during these cold winter months all I can do is stay inside and surf the web / watch movies.
    it will probably get better but for now these are the hardest hours to get through.

  5. Kathy Jackson

    The loneliness is the hard part, along with the boredom, I isolate myself a lot, I’m always telling myself to go to meetings, meet new people, but I always back out and just stay home alone in my bedroom.

    • Kevin O'Hara

      There are plenty of opportunities in this life to meet people, you don’t have to go to meetings.
      I think that’s one of the big problems that people come across when they quit drinking, they feel like they should be mixing with like-minded people, people who are quitting drinking. This is a mistake in my view.
      The people who you should be mixing with are those who don’t drink, or who drink very little, not those who already have problems with alcohol.
      People who already have problems with alcohol are looking for solutions within a group of people who have the same problem. It doesn’t make any sense to search for solutions there. It’s like trying to find an apple on an orange tree.
      It’s very difficult to try to solve the problem with the same thinking that we used to create them. If you’re surrounded by people who have the same problem, where are you going to find the solution.
      You’re much better off mixing with those who don’t have the problem. That’s where the solution lies. Spend some time with these people, model what they do, learn new skills, and you’ll soon leave alcohol behind.

      • Daniel

        I think that is one of the wisest things i have ever herd

      • Jon Merlin

        Everything you say sounds like a copout for someone that can’t handle alcohol. You’re simply no fun and you have no life. You’re a reformed drinker, a dry drunk and you just go around pontificating about it everywhere you go. You don’t help anyone address any problems you just try to reinforce your own thinking through trying to convince others. Drinking isn’t a problem if you accept you like to drink. You’re living in denial of that fact and you know it.

  6. Ypu

    I drink about 3 shots every single night and I smoke squares and I’m only 20 I’m just trying to stop before I get to attached but I don’t know how…

  7. Peter

    I started drinking to have fun at parties in high school and then into my 20s and 30s. In my 40s, my drinking elevated to every day in order to deal with stress. But now I no longer like to go to parties and now my stress level is very low – yet (now 49) I have been drinking the equivalent of 3 bottles of wine a day. Strange thing is, I never felt drunk or had hangovers. I’d just sip wine throughout the day, including when I woke up… until about a week ago I started feeling aching in my liver.

    So my liver is a little more important than my drink of choice, especially since the alcohol doesn’t effect me in any positive way. It’s really just a habit. I think quitting (breaking the habit) shouldn’t be insanely difficult, but I’m worried about the withdrawal effects. So I’m tapering off to at least 2 drinks a day and possibly up to 4 if I start having strong symptoms. After a month or so I want to bring that down to just one drink in the afternoon.

    • Peter

      I’m now on day six of non-excesive alcohol consumption. Not as easy as I thought. The first few days were easier than the last few days. 1) Generalized anxiety is at about a 7/10… That feeling that something is wrong or that I forgot something important, mixed with a bit of dread. 2) Patience level at about a 2/10 (normally at a 7/10 while drinking excessively… For example, if something falls on the floor normally I would say something like, ‘whoops’ – but now, it’s more like DAMN; Cursing gravity. This extends into other things that would normally be slightly irritating but now due to the withdrawal, I react more acutely/aggressively.

      I’m trying to find the tapering-offf balance. 2 drinks a day minimum isn’t enough to curb back the symptoms based on my past consumption, unless I want to drive my GF and cats crazy as I climb the walls. I’m looking at 3 a day with an option of 5 depending on severity of symptoms.

      Luckily, I’m retired. I don’t know how I could do this if I had to commute and go to work everyday. Or if I had friends who liked to drink a lot.

      If it’s okay with you, Kevin, I’d like to write an update here once a week with my progress, but I don’t want to hog the comments section.

  8. Martin

    I have been completely alcohol free for 5 and a half years now. I can’t say that it ever gets any better. What I can say is that it just gets easier to deal with over time. But you never completely get over it.

    I do not miss alcohol anymore at all. What I do miss though is the excitement that alcohol brought to every aspect of my life.

    Sure, I am much healthier now. I lost weight without trying. I did MMA for a year and a half. Then I joined a gym and do powerlifting and strongman type workouts ever since. It is great to wake up feeling refreshed. It is great to get a good night’s sleep. It is wonderful to not have that horrible dehydrated lousy feeling the next day. It is great to not have to worry about getting caught drinking and driving. There are so many benefits to not drinking.

    But I do not think I will ever get over the boredom. Actually it’s not so much boredom but just a feeling that nothing is exciting anymore.

    I tried everything as you can read in my previous paragraphs. I took steps to combat the boredom. But it will never really go away completely.

    There are so many things that I no longer do. Why? Because without beer I just find no interest in doing these things anymore. Some of these things I used to like to do was fishing and taking road trips. I don’t do it anymore because without beer, it’s like I might as well just stay home and do nothing. Because everything is meaningless without my beloved beer.

    I have come to the conclusion that this is it for me. This is life. I guess I just have to accept it. I will never quit tobacco though. Without that, forget it, I would be bored to tears.

    • Holly

      I agree. I think it’s the idea of it. That’s what makes the habit. I’m trying to cut back and I went to my first AA meeting last night. I think it will be my last because of what Kevin said. It makes sense and I thought about that before I went but now I realize that he’s right. Why be there with people who have the same problem? I just wanted to see what it was like and know that I wasn’t alone in this. I drink about 4-5 times a week. The other 2 or 3 days I’m sober but with a hangover. And the hangovers aren’t pretty. I have trouble breathing and focusing. Probably also because of the addition of a pack of cigarettes that compliments my drinking. Ugh. And I don’t smoke that much when I’m not drinking. So I certainly pay the price the day after drinking and I don’t like the anxiety. I’m considering my self an alcoholic and admitting it, even though I try to drink less. Maybe I caught it early enough or not early enough? All I know is that I’m recognizing the problem and I am freakin bored tonight especially! I can go to the store right now and buy me a 6 pack or a couple 24ozers, but nah, I’m not that excited for it anyway. So I know this is a good sign. Another good sign I know for me is that I have about 3/4 of a bottle of wine in the wine cooler and half a bottle of cherry vodka in my freezer but I don’t want that. So if I was a REAL TRUE alcoholic I know I would drink it. I thought about having some wine before it goes off cause I’ve had it in there for about a week and half almost 2 and I know red wine is usually not good after 10 days opened. I’m just obsessing about it cause I’m bored. I know I should jump on my treadmill and walk but I don’t want to. I’ll probably end up putting on a movie and eating until it’s bedtime. 🙁 Hey, cool thing is, I haven’t had a drink today and I’m happy for that. I’m proud of myself. Maybe this weekend I will have some beers. On one day only…so I’ll cut back and see how better I feel. Maybe I’ll lose weight! I’m just glad there are these kind of sites to connect with others like ourselves.

  9. Ed

    I have made it 2 weeks now, and yes, I am very bored. I enjoyed watching movies much more when drinking, I was just in a better mood. I was able to drink moderately for 40 years, but after a horrible divorce started drinking much more every day. I would love to be able to go back and not be addicted, but after quitting a couple times I found myself going back and drinking to excess. I quit kidding myself, I became an alcoholic. I am retired and would like to find something to keep me more busy. I don’t want to work full time corporate again, just an easy going part time job that I would enjoy would be good. I can’t seem to find something like that. I miss drinking so much. The way I feel now is healthier but I am not confident that I won’t relapse since I miss it so much.

  10. Jon

    Obviously I’m searching the web for articles on boredom because alas it’s new year and I need to give it a go.

    Everything I do hobby wise is related to necking beer during it. But I’m 4 stone over weight and getting married in 12 weeks. Need to lose 3 stone so off the beer and running ( pain pain pain ) day 8 Today feeling sharp but chronically bored. I think it’s because I know I’ve to go dry for 2 months. ( most in my 20 years drinking is 3 weeks. )

    Excessive drinking is one thing. Greedy drinking is another. I’m the latter. I’m like an over eater. I over drink. I’m overweight purely because of the 6000 Cal a week extra. I video game. I play tennis. I watch all sports. But the drinking always existed so perfectly beside it.

    Socialising has stopped. So I’m alone a lot and finding my interest in things waining

    Positives are sleep is ridiculously good. 7 hour coma each night no breaks. Head is very very clear. Anxiety very low. Hunger for crap food is gone. Skin good.

    All positives it’s just argh I’d love a 6 pack and kick back! Hahah

  11. Chris

    I’m a bit of an odd case…or maybe not but would appreciate any input. 40 years old and been drinking steady since 18. I would say it was 3 days a week every week for years but in the last few years rarely do I miss a night. I haven’t missed a weekend in 20 yrs for sure. The odd part of it is….healthy as a horse, never hung over, highly fuclnctioning, great job, great income, great family and friends. I booze from 5pm till probably 11pm every night and then go pass out in bed. Even when loaded Ive got all my sensibilities and im happy as a Pea. Im maybe avg 6 or 7 heavy pours a night and more on weekends. Basically the only reason I want to quit is because common sense tells me I should yet i haven’t actually one real reason as life is perfect…..anyway my goal is to get back to just weekends. So far im on day 3 and the boredom is killing me. Its toughest right around 5 or 6pm each night…..when summer rolls around again itll be very tough as every night there is something to do

    • Dave

      Absolutely agree with you Chris, I am exactly the same drink every night from around 5pm till 11-12pm approx consume around 12 beers in that time,not feeling drunk but end up going to bed cause I need to get some sleep so I can go to work the next day then do it all again and again and again every day. I have two jobs and a great family and friends so things are pretty good in life just think I need to cut down or completey stop as I think the odds are stacked up against me before I end up with some medical problem…….so Ive been told.
      I say that because a part of me doesn’t believe anything will happen as Ive been doing this for the past 28 years and I have had check ups with nothing wrong with me, liver, heart, etc etc is all fine. So I’m just torn on whether I should stop drinking or not, I really enjoy drinking and even when I’m home doing nothing constructive just drinking I dont get bored but if you take alcohol out I would be bored shitless.

  12. Drew A.

    Ernest Hemingway wrote “I drink to make other people more interesting.” I drink to make life more interesting. I believe there’s a medical component to the lubricating, beneficial effect alcohol has on my mind, and how it allows me to be interested in people, books and just life in general for a short time when I’m under the influence of a depressant. I cannot overstate how much it informed me when I came across information on the powerful reality of post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Millions of recovering alcoholics and problem drinkers are bored and restless and agitated for MONTHS and don’t know it’s a medical, chemical problem that has been thoroughly documented by doctors as being a period of imbalance and repair in the brain during which the standard reaction to all conscious thought is malaise, aggravation, boredom and imbalance. It lasts for such a long time that people incorrectly attribute this frustrating state of nervous system repair to not “doing” the 12 Steps in AA correctly/thoroughly enough, not having enough hobbies, alcohol having been too tenacious of a habit for too long, and not having a spiritual enough approach to life and thought…when all along it’s an observable chemical imbalance that is par for the quitting drinking course that must pass of its own accord.
    One more thing, I hardly hear anyone mention this: one of the biggest challenges I lost when I quit drinking was having fun, spontaneous sexual relationships…they never really happen again with the same wildcard unexpectedness again after you quit drinking. I’m sure people talk themselves into believing there are all kinds of magic exceptions to this…they are deluding themselves, like I have. When you’re a male in your 20s, 30s, and 40s and you’re sober, it takes tons more time, thought and work to have enjoyable sexual relationships to attractive women than it did when you were drinking and everyone was loose, adventurous, and just plain looking for a fun sex adventure fueled and facilitated by alcohol.


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