Are you drinking to cope with boredom?

boredom causes alcoholismMany people with an alcohol problem are drinking as a way of dealing with boredom. They’ve got nothing exciting or interesting to do, so they drink instead, and that keeps them entertained.

Watching TV for hours is boring and uninspiring, but if you have a drink then it becomes more tolerable.

So, is your life too dull? If you weren’t drinking so much, what would you be doing with your spare time instead?

If you have difficulty answering that question, then here’s the first problem you need to solve before you can move forward.

38 Responses to “Are you drinking to cope with boredom?”

  1. Bryan says:

    I get bored when I am home. I play video games but unfortunately they are more fun after a couple beers. Going out excites me but I like air shows, and amusement parks. Things that cost money so I cant do that every day. walking at the park is not fun to me. I come home and drink every day. vodka, beer, anything really just to get through the night. I have tried numerous times to quit. I seriously just sit there and stare at the ceiling. Nothing excites me. So I grab the bottle chug chug and then its tolerable and I sleep like a baby.

    • Jamie says:

      I’m not sure how I got here but it’s certainly an interesting thread as someone said. Whilst acknowledging that excess with anything is by its very nature beyond what is beneficial, ultimately I don’t see why anything below excess is seriously harmful (one’s excess threshold is of course entirely unique to each individual and they would know it from experience). Before you say even a little of some things can be harmful I’m trusting you to realise I’m not being obtuse about serious drugs or anything that is clearly very very obvious :)

      Two things that interest me most are a) the issue of boredom. It’s incredibly common I’m sure, I know I suffer from it as most of you do. As Bryan says ‘I grab the bottle and then it’s tolerable’. Well why is that so bad? Why do we have to feel bad about that, assuming it’s not used to excess? Because of what we see and hear or read in the media? That there must be something wrong with us? Or maybe none of our friends say they need to have a drink at night to make it tolerable. Well so what if they don’t? Fine! I do. That’s all there is to it. If you’d say but that doesn’t address Bryan’s or my ‘problem’ well no it doesn’t, but as it does meliorate it when nothing else will, it’s better than nothing.

      b) Assuming that drinking (especially as a relaxant) doesn’t impair your work the next day or your relationships, the other usual worry is, like anything enjoyable in life, it will harm your long term health.

      This has long been a confusing argument to me since I was a teen. I’ve always thought that if our usual lifespan was say 5000 years, but if we drank and/or smoked (for example), we could die at just 50 years old, then yes of course DON’T drink or smoke!!!!!!!!!!!!! EVER!!!! But we don’t live for 5000 years, we probably live to 75 on average (in the west), maybe a bit lower or higher depending on the country.

      So since I was about 13 I’ve thought, hang on, all this crap about trying to be in perfect health, eating right, drinking just a little, exercising, not smoking blah blah blah….buys you (maybe! we all hear about the super healthy lifestyle people who just drop dead at 40 – apologies if you knew one) an extra 15 years, perhaps, against someone who does drink and smoke occasionally…?

      And this doesn’t take into account the pollutants all around us, the stress relief of a drink or a cigarette, your genetic factors, random accidents, fatalities, living standards…

      15 years more for being totally clean? And whether you’re super healthy or not, the last 15 are the LAST 15! That means for most of us it’s not going the real fun days of your life anyway is it??? C’mon!!!!

      As long as you don’t harm others, and you’re honest with yourself, do what you like!!! and stop stressing!. Besides you’re sure to enjoy this super brief time on earth more anyway and thus you’ll be more relaxed and less stressed and you might end up living those extra 15 years anyway!!! Either way, life will be over very quickly whatever you do so enjoy the little treats this existence has to offer!

      I think it was Clement Freud (although it sounds like WC Fields, hey what the heck it could be anyone) who said “If you give up booze, smoking and sex you don’t live longer, it just feels like you do.’

      Excuse the paraphrasing :)

  2. scott.k says:

    I am 38 have a great job and many supporting friends but as I get older I notice life just seems to bore the hell out of me more every day so I drink and I’ve noticed that I seem to pop the top earlier and earlier just to deal with all the nonsense and ignorce that our life has to offer.I’m not an uneducated person and I’m not a drug user but for some reason after punching out for the day nothing else seems to make sense or matter except the next buzz,so my question is this….are we so disconnected from ourselfs from all the shit in the media and the fact that we live in an instant generation with pretty much any desire at our finger tips with the click of the mouse that we can’t truely feel like we can achieve any greatness because every thing is made to seem as if it were in some way Devine and just out of our reach?

  3. jim says:

    i gotta say, pro evolution soccer 14 is epic while sippin brewskies. but wait, isnt tha enabling our strange behavior? are we the strange ones? or are we the ”normal ones”?

  4. jim says:

    this thread is great. reminds me of colin farrells statement: ”sobriety is so fng BORING.”

  5. Jan says:

    All of these comments resonate with me. I realize that my core problem is boredom and not alcohol. I rarely drink at home. I am a divorced 56 year old Father of 3 adult children and unfortunately I work out of my home office. When 5:00 comes I have to get out and it is easy to go to my favorite bar. None of my past interests are interesting to me now. I also know too much about what can go wrong in relationships so I have chosen to remain single (see my website). I know what I should do. It is always easy to say that I will do that tomorrow.

  6. MikeP says:

    All of these experiences resonate with me. So thank you. I love my job, and am successful in that way. But I can’t hold down a relationship. I don’t like tv or movies. I find life aside from work so incredibly banal and pointless that I need to make my daily stop at the liquor store on my way home. I can’t seem to quit. Has anyone successfully overcome this boredom problem? I should add I love to socialize, garden, ski, travel, cook. But what’s the point? I want to drink a 1.5er of white wine every night so I can feel amused.

    • jim says:

      reply to MikeP. im totally with you on that. its poison and ill get repuled by it for weeks. but then everything becomes so g##amn boring. so i go grab a twelve rack cause it heightens everything and brings back chaos and craziness. then this goes on for 3-4 days and i get sick of it and want to clean my system. repeat process.

      the problem is my craving to socialize, which results in ad emails n texts and other bad bhvior cause im a,fn wild and crazy individual. i want to stop completely, but the complacency kicks in always after a few weeks.

      this s##t is poison! :)

      • brett says:

        I am with you guys. I have been going through a bottle of wine almost every night for a while now, just because I have nothing else better to do. I get a nice buzz, watch t.v., post on random sites online (ha!), and a good night sleep and am totally fine for work the following morning. Is it really a problem? I honestly don’t know.

  7. Kenny says:

    I am single parent with full custody of 3 girls ages 14, 10 and 4. I am 37 years old and have not drank this much in my entire life. I have a great job, a roof over our heads and good on the table. My ex wife is a drug addict (meth). I am not. My parents have little to do with me or the girls. Ex wife doesn’t either. I have 1 friend but she is married with 2 kids and lives 50 miles away. I’m so alone. I’m not ugly or annoying just a Little shy if I don’t know u. I’m a generally happy person but for the past few years life seems stale and it is very hard taking care of these 3 girls and myself at the same time. I am becoming an alcoholic. It’s the only thing that numbs me to the pain of my loneliness and boredom. I love God and I know he loves me but I can’t get past the feelings of despair

    • Devin says:

      Kenny, I understand your pain and stress in raising 3 kids alone. In just a few short years they will be planning attending college most likely. You need to focus your energy during these short years on three things: 1. Providing for your family, both financially/ emotionally 2. Keeping deadlines at work 3. Finding a new friend/ partner. Your kids will need lots of support in the upcoming years as well and you need to be there to give them that support. Let them know you are there for them no matter what and explain to them how much you love them all. Drinking at this moment is your “escape” from the stress of your life and you are avoiding the problem… Being lonely both physically and emotionally. I would suggest bringing your kids on ‘play dates’ over your friend’s house and making a online dating profile outlining your life. You should also attend a few AA meetings to really start to understand your underlying problems. You don’t want to be that “dad” who is always drinking and misses out on your child’s high school/ middle school graduation because of it. —my mothers dad did this. He has been sober for 35 years. I am not saying you can’t have a beer once in a while but don’t do it to entertain yourself at your children’s expense. Drinking is an activity that should be reserved for special occasions and every other weekend at most. You are a great father and you will go a great way in life and really have a positive and lasting impact on your children if you focus your energy on helping yourself first then focusing on helping them get the best grades possible in preparation for their futures. Goodluck! You are amazing.

    • jim says:

      to kenny, one rule i always had was never to be impaired on aything around my child. think if some dudes bust into house, cant protect the kids as well when under,infuence. but i still am hypocrite when she not around i get blasted, what if i got a call and hd to go to her? in other words, we just cant,win unless we are 100% perfect in life and thats just not gnna happen. im not steven seagal. im a flawed human, like 90% of the rest.

    • jim says:

      kenny, one thing i need to say to you is congrats on your custody!!! its so awesome to hear kids that have a father figure. i didnt get that priilege. i can only see my kid once a week supervised like im a fng child too. and many friends of mine their wives took their children permanently and moved away. put that in perspective man. try not to slip. the kids are the best drug after all!

  8. tyler says:

    I have been drinking for most of my twenties, and now I am 27 and in college but have drank more now that I am married. I have worried that a big reason is boredom with being around a woman that I don’t find interesting anymore other than how beautiful she is, or hot lol.. I love her but I always want to drink when we are together and it looks like a problem. I jumped into marriage quick so that could be a reason but the alcohol seems to make me happier, more excited about the day and more relaxed, without it, I am like, what do I do now??

  9. Ben says:

    yeah, totally. So what’s the deal, how do we cure this boredom other than drinking?

  10. adil says:

    I drink as well to get rid of the boredom, nothing interests me, after a big drink I take a break and wait bored till the next time I can drink again.

  11. maria says:

    Here I am this morning nursing yet another hangover and wondering why iv made myself ill again it wasnt even a good night out it was boring . but when I stay in I drink. I dont even know why im sick of it. Its doing nothing for me exept making me fat! I just feel bored.

  12. Chris says:

    I’m married. I love my husband. But I just feel bored a lot. I work 40 hrs a week like most come home and walk the dog … And then I’m just stuck here. I started to drink a lot more after I got married-maybe things aren’t like what I thought they would be, then again that’s around when I stopped smoking so maybe I’m replacing? My husband falls asleep when we are watching. Movie most times. And I feel lonely A LOT. But is just an excuse? I have nib idea .. I try to remind myself of all things I could be doin like the laundry or organize the garage – and I do usually… But sometimes I wonder why this drinking thing is n issue for me now in my life. Not fair to place blame on another, just wish things were more rosey-glasses! Working in it….

  13. John says:

    I agree with so many of these posts. I have what looks like a great life on the outside. A lovely, loving wife, a beautiful 4 year old daughter who adores me and a well paid job. But……..I am so bored, my job bores me, people and their dull conversation bore me. I go out and can drink for hours, always with other people and never alone. Drinking is the only pleasure I have but the day after a big binge session I’m racked with guilt and wonder what the hell is wrong with me! Life just seems so dull, I don’t seem to have the dreams I used to – everything is just so mundane.

  14. Perfectdisguise says:

    I used to drink a lot in my twenties. Snapped out of it for a while. Recently stopped smoking pot. Moved in with my bf. I have no friends here. I work part time. Got a great art studio but I feel depressed lately. No local friends to waste time with when I have free time from work, and the bf is working. Plenty to do. No inspiration, only depression. I miss pot. Bf doesn’t party; rarely drinks. I’m feeling alone in certain ways. Idk… Just been thinking about drinking lately, more often. Out of boredom? Not sure it’s it’s depression induced. Just lonely? Sad that I have every artist outlet available but no inspiration.. No friends. Things are good when he’s around. I remind myself of the disgust when people come into work and I can smell the booze on them, and here I am thinking about having one at 3:45 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, knowing he will be home around 6. Sigh…

    What’s wrong with me? I’m sad. Nothing else sounds appealing though.

    • BonethugsnHarmony says:

      I just thought about how someone recently said they are bored -that’s why ultimately they turned to crack.

      I realize, I am usually bored with people- although I’m joking and fun in nature, most of the time, I’m insulting people and smiling in their faces. In social situations, I have drank my ass off. Occasionally I would drink alone because it would be fun… I’d let myself in the living room, try on funny make up and take pictures, etc. I had my own social anxiety to deal with…

      Anyhow, I ended up here, on this thread, thanks to lovely “search engines” – who knew life would get so easy eh? Then I get mad- why can we be bored. We have running water, electricity, and the internet in our lives. “If you are bored, you must be a boring person”…. that was often said to me as a child. Hmm….

      I don’t drink as much as I was. Hangovers started creeping in hard on me. I’m small, so even what other people drink as normally, is actually pretty heavy if you think about it. I did take up smoking pot. I have had to stop a here and there for a potential drug test, but I’ve gotten pretty bad lately. *ck. This obviously means I’ve become a pothead to cope with boredom too. Which is funny, because I’ve actually become bored of being a pothead.

      However, the interesting thing, is that drinking was always pretty social for me. Weed is actually my thing. Hell, how else would I allow myself this much time on a Monday afternoon to tell strangers something personal about myself. I wouldn’t have had time before. However, I’ve gotten a lot more things done as a pothead. A garden, a painted house, organized cabinets, taxes done, happy cats… It’s just that I think one has to enjoy activities without “help” from substances. I now think back to my first drink- it was to deal with anxiety. I’m not like the others, and so if I had drinks in me, it would be more acceptable.
      From there, either I had to be the entertainment… or I felt like I was letting people down. Why not have fun? These are the times of our lives… (I’ve had a lot of people die early on me- 1st love, my dad, most recently, a boss…). So I feel compelled to keep people happy and laughing and enjoying life. Also, I guess I don’t want to be a boring person.

  15. Carola says:

    I am not drinking a lot, but recently started to see somebody who does. He finds me boring. Is it because I don’t drink? I try to be active in my brain. He does not show any interest and does not want to know anything about me. Am I dealing with a very shellfish person?

  16. Jyo says:

    This right here. This is my problem. I am a writer, I work hard, I have ambitions and goals, but I am living a routine version of a 9-5 life. I come home, and there is nothing to do. I could write. I could play games. I could watch TV. I could pet the dog. I could do all the things normal people do. And I do. But about once a week, my mind says, “Hey, grab a bottle of vodka because your life sucks and you know it.” And I listen. I don’t feel a sense of purpose. I don’t feel like I matter, and I don’t have much to live for. Winter doesn’t help. I don’t like going out because I get social anxiety and then drink so stupid people seem smarter. I don’t like small talk. I don’t like social rejection. I handle those things all the time without drinking, but then that once a week, I get infected with the realization about my life, and a bottle seems to do the trick. Then the day in bed to recover. Then the guilt. Then the realization that I don’t have anyone I can talk to about this because most people don’t understand. As I get older, I realize how sad I am about the routine life. And I can’t get ahead because I got two DUIs over the last 8 years, and I think that is holding me back from advancing. The economy sucks, and instead of having a busy job I like that pays me enough money to do things I like doing, I work a job that pays minimum wage because I can’t find anything else. Instead of being the philanthropist traveler I always wanted to be, I am a stagnant aging unproductive homebody who copes with the accumulated misery through the week with a bottle. I hate it. Add being gay to the mix. Add disliking a lot about gay culture. What a combo! I miss the “ignorance is bliss” days of life. Perhaps I just expect too much?

  17. CDC says:

    Boredom is the main reason I drink every night. I try to spend some nights alcohol free but find it hard, going out and doing something helps but I cant go out every night. Watching tv, drinking and eating snacks is easy to do but then you think this isnt a good way to live life, especially if youve been doing it for years.

    • Bob says:

      OMG…boredom seems to be the main problem here, my problem is I find it hard to sleep..I used to do speed everyday and smoke a joint to help me deal with the comedown..I stopped doing speed and weed, but then couldn’t sleep so I started I write this I’m ill with the flu..and have been off work for 3 days and and have drunk myself to sleep with a lot of vodka etc..when I’m well I train everyday for an hour or more to tire myself out so I drink less..but I drink every sleep, but after reading these posts I realise I suffer from boredom I’m 42 yrs old, single..and this is my first admission to anyone that I’m an alcoholic..can’t seem to escape these feelings of worthlessness..and fear of being

  18. Rich says:

    I’ve like totally lost 3 toes through boredom.

  19. Pat says:

    Most people misunderstand boredom. Tell someone you drink to cope with boredom, and they will most likely start coming up with a wonderful list of interesting and fun things for you to do. They confuse boredom with not being busy.

    I have plenty of things to do. I have a job, hobbies, coach sports, play sports, work on home improvement projects, cook, walk my dog, you name it. I’m extremely busy. But still bored. I socialize, but let’s face it, most people have nothing interesting to say.

    Intellectual boredom is different than having nothing to do. And alcohol and drugs make that type of boredom easier to deal with.

    • Jim M. says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more Pat. I’m a former Professional Wrestler who’s travelled all over the world and lived a “ROCK STAR” lifestyle. I now find myself at 55 on S.S. Disability with not even the desire to go to the gym and excersise, which was a passion that I’ve had for over 35 years. My days consist of watching T.V. and hitting the freezer for a shot of vodka and a beer and back to the T.V. I don’t even feel like walking my little Pug. I could go on forever but I wouldn’t want to bore you. A friend of mine once told me that I could talk the balls off of a pool table. I also want to tell you that I’ve had three hip surgeries between Aug. 2, 2012 and Nov. 26, 2012. I’ve had an easier time tapering down from the pain meds. than the alcohol. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking time to read this. Jim

  20. Eric Miller says:

    I drink out of boredom. Nothing outside the house seems interesting. I have tried hobbies but lose interest. I work hard all week and come home to an empty place. Turn on the tv and drink beer.

    • Jim M. says:

      I hear you Eric. Unfortunately,due to medical reasons I’m on S.S. Disability, It’s not bad but I now at 55 sit hear and wallow all day while My Wife Is at work. As a Prof. Wrestler for 16 years I got to travel all over the world and live the life of a “ROCKSTAR”. Now what’s going to top that for me. Here Is where boredom comes In and I spend the day hitting the freezer for a shot of vodka and a beer. For over 35 years I worked out hard at the Gym, now I don’t have any desire. I had three hip surgeries last year and they beat me up, more mentally than physically. I found It easier to wean myself down from the pain meds. Than the booze. I would greatly appreciate any feedback from you. Thank you for reading this. Jim.

  21. Leisha says:

    Totally, I drink because of boredom. People say, why don’t you go out then? To which I think ‘because everything else bores me too’. The only thing that makes the boredom go away is drinking, I get relaxed and giggly, so things start to seem funnier and I can tolerate the boredom more. When I don’t drink all I can think is how bland life really is.

  22. TPT says:

    Go out and do things. So easy to say. Long term illness makes that impossible for me and MANY others with similar issues. Can’t get out the house, no concentration and boredom. Often equals drinking.

  23. LB says:

    Ive been a boredom binge drinker for years. Its easy for many to just say “Go out and do stuff”. But when nothing outside the house seems interesting (other than the bars) its too easy to stay home, get bored and pound a 12 pack of beers to hold the anxiety of boredom down.

  24. Boo says:

    I’m going to school right now. Class is boring and studying sucks..

  25. goon says:

    Ya, Totally. Being active, going out dancing, listening to music is fun.You feel alive. I refuse to watch tv, I think it’s a waste of time. And of course, drinking is involved because it amplifies EVERYTHING.

  26. Miles says:

    Boredom is for me the main obvious conscious reason for binge drinking,after a dull and boring week or few days to be tempted by the promise of music,laughter and the opposite sex is an offer to good to refuse when compared to sitting at home watching some spirit crushing and mind numbing junk on the pc or tv….only thing is the day after going out I wish from the bottom of my heart that I had stayed in…..sound familiar?

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