Form 4E

Boredom Management

Optional Exercise

For many people who use marijuana, boredom is a trigger to smoke. Sometimes it is boredom associated with a tedious or uninteresting job. Perhaps it is a way to fill weekday evening hours after dinner but before bedtime. At other times, getting stoned is a way to spend a weekend when nothing else has been planned.

Boredom is a complex and interesting emotion. Many different feelings may be associated with it. For instance, boredom may be accompanied by anxiety, apathy, irritability, or lethargy. It’s not a really strong emotion; it just kind of nags at you. It can sneak up because it’s hard to identify.

Discussing boredom and how to handle it can make you aware of its influence on your behavior and prepare you to cope with it.

A Boring Story

Jan was in her mid-30s when she began to think she needed to quit smoking pot. Sometimes she enjoyed it, but after 15 years of regular use Jan was unhappy with herself for smoking so much marijuana. She began every day with a hit and smoked every hour or two throughout the day.

Several times in the past few years she had tried to cut back to smoking just in the evenings and on weekends. A few times she kept to her limits, but inevitably she’d inch her way back up. When she thought about it, she recognized that she slipped back to getting stoned because she couldn’t handle the boredom she felt when she was straight. Her job wasn’t stimulating; she was a receptionist in a travel agency. When she tried to get through a day without smoking, the tedium of her job got to her.

Now as she thought about quitting pot completely, she couldn’t imagine how she’d cope with being bored at work. On top of that, she was sure that the evenings and weekends would be miserable if she didn’t get high. Being bored was torture for Jan. Boredom was an endless emptiness and an inner void, with unpleasant restlessness and anxiety. She wondered whether she had a chance of quitting marijuana.

Jan lived by herself and liked it that way. She had two close friends and worried about how these friendships would be affected if she stopped getting high. She feared that her being straight would alienate at least one friend. With fewer friends, boredom would be even worse!

1. What does boredom feel like to you?

2. Is it always a miserable experience?

3. What makes boredom so uncomfortable?

4. How would you cope with being bored if you were Jan?