Boredom Ambushes the Unwary – Grapevine Article April 1950 by J.F.

PAGING Solomon with all his wisdom!

What makes some of us take that first drink? We can get as many answers to that perennial question as there are unfortunate slipees.

It has been my experience that boredom sets an emotional trap for all of us. The eager beaver in AA, full of inspirational fire and fervor, very often gets fed-up and suffers a corresponding let-down. The post-honeymoon period is another dangerous time for many of us. And what about those who have anywhere from one to 15 years of uninterrupted sobriety? Boredom, and its by-products of inertia and restlessness, lurks in wait for them, too.

No one–but no one–is completely immune to periodic attacks of this devastating state of mind. It generally waits until we have lulled ourselves into a feeling of security. And then it strikes!

Boredom is an insidious, creeping mental paralysis that can depress all mankind, wet or dry.

It’s a constant and definite menace to every AA and it can only be handled intelligently and effectively at the beginning of each attack. Learn how to detect the signs in yourself–and do something about it right away! Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of it. An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure to the alcoholic.

Personally, it is absolutely necessary for me to be on guard against it in all its many and diverse forms.

I try to remember that even though I’m a dry alcoholic, and without a slip, I am a human being first. And as such, I’m subject to all the emotionally destructive things that arise to plague men and women, whether they drink or not.

Simply being sober doesn’t give me protection against boredom and its inseparable companion, mental depression. My protection can only come from knowing myself and my temperament, and what might be harmful to me and my sobriety. And doing something about it before it’s too late.

This was my pattern of boredom at one time.

First, I’d become fed-up with my family and friends. Next, with my job. Finally, AA and the people in it would start to rub me the wrong way and life in general attained a bilious hue.

The people I usually liked to be with suddenly became unbearably stupid. I wondered how my family could be so silly and selfish and my business associates act like jackasses. AA meetings were all monotonously alike, gathering places for self-important people, particularly the speakers. Life was dull–life was meaningless–and sobriety an onerous and depressing way of finding happiness.

When boredom really laid its constricting hands on me, everything was an effort. Trifles became mountainous obstacles. I didn’t speak to people; I grunted or snarled. My nose was out of joint about everything. Nothing pleased me and everything displeased me. Loneliness and despair were my existence.

I have a fairly steady hand now–but there were times in the past when I couldn’t lift a cup or fork. My clothing is pressed and clean–but it wasn’t that way before. My days and nights are free of dread–but when I drank, they were filled with despair and, sometimes, hallucinations.

I’m not kidding myself. This hand of mine will shake again. My clothing will be filthy once more. And many other things which happened to me in the past will torture me again–if I’m fool enough to become bored.

History tells us that Solomon was a smart apple. But even he, with all his wisdom, wouldn’t be able to prevent a frequently or chronically bored alcoholic from being a sucker for that first drink.

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