There’s an iconic scene from the 1990 film, Home Alone, when Kevin first realizes his family is gone and he has the entire house to himself. In needing something to keep himself entertained, he wanders into his brother, Buzz’s room and demolishes everything on the bookshelf while trying to get to a box of baseball cards.
While funny, this is a classic example of the trouble people can get into when they have too much down time on their hands. Perhaps you’re chuckling to yourself as you think back to the times your own child got into mischief when they were younger.
But now that your child is a teenager who has had a history of drug addiction, having too much idle time can actually be dangerous to their sobriety. In this article, we’ll discuss the role teenage boredom plays in your teen’s addiction and how you can help your child stay sober.
How Does Boredom Trigger Drug Use?
When we’re bored, we don’t have something keeping us physically and mentally stimulated. Many people are able to motivate themselves to do something engaging, but that isn’t always the case for someone struggling with addiction.
For your teen, boredom is a state of awareness that allows past trauma, negative feelings or cravings to creep back into their consciousness. When this occurs, your teen is left with a choice: find a quick fix through drugs or alcohol to help relieve the discomfort and pain or find a healthier solution to ward off that temptation to use.
Unfortunately, substance abuse is oftentimes seen as the best method to feel better. Drinking or getting high comforts them and gives them something to enjoy so they aren’t bored anymore.
Fortunately, your teenager will have learned more effective ways to handle boredom and keep themselves stimulated through a treatment center like Red Mountain Colorado. What they learn in treatment can then be practiced in their everyday life when they return home. And there are even things you can do to help your teen stay active and prevent boredom.
How to Prevent Boredom and Drug Use with Your Teen
If you’re concerned about your teen’s recovery, there are a number of opportunities you can pursue to help them stay busy and engaged with their daily life, including:
- Maintain Open Communication: You’re not going to be able to keep track of your teen’s activities all the time. And having them follow a minute-by-minute schedule isn’t feasible. Instead, accept that they’re going to feel bored once in a while. Talk to them about how boredom may make them feel and reassure them that they should come to you immediately if they feel bored and are tempted to drink or get high. This communication will build trust between you and your teen and help you keep them from relapsing.
- Schedule Daily Exercise Sessions Together: Exercise releases dopamine and endorphins that can make your teen feel happy and stimulated. Better yet, you exercising with them can help keep them motivated and give you something to bond over.
- Encourage Your Teen to Join a Sports Team: This is especially true if they had previously played sports. Joining a sports team helps them get the exercise their body and mind needs and gives them a chance to make new friends who can encourage and support their sober lifestyle.
- Suggest Other Extracurricular Activities or Projects: If your teen isn’t into sports, encourage them to join an art or cooking class, participate in a book club or take lessons to learn an instrument. Activities like these will challenge your teen and keep them engaged in something healthier and more constructive than drug use.
- Volunteer: Studies have suggested that volunteering can actually help you feel better. In a way, helping others helps yourself. When your teen volunteers, they see other aspects of the world they hadn’t before. Helping others actually helps them develop greater empathy, self-awareness and maturity. These are all important characteristics needed in preventing continued drug use.
Get Your Teen on the Path to Recovery at Red Mountain Colorado
At Red Mountain Colorado, our addiction treatment center can help your teen put their addiction and dual diagnosis disorder behind them. They’ll learn healthy ways to cope with mental health challenges like depression and anxiety and learn how to enjoy life without drugs or alcohol.
If you’re ready to get your teen the treatment and support they need, contact our expert team today.