Alcohol-Free January
Stopping Drinking

Tips for Dealing with Boredom and Isolation When Giving Up Drinking

John Risby
by John Risby
Published: January 02, 2023 Last updated: November 30, 2023
A bored person
Giving up alcohol can be a difficult challenge, and boredom and feelings of isolation can make it even harder. It’s important to find ways to keep yourself busy and plan enjoyable activities to distract yourself from the urge to drink. By finding activities to occupy your time and keep your mind off of drinking, you can make the journey of giving up alcohol easier.

Take up an new hobby

One way to keep yourself busy and give yourself a sense of accomplishment when giving up alcohol is by learning a new skill. This could be anything from learning a new language to exploring a new hobby or picking up a musical instrument.
Having something to focus on and work towards can be a great way to help you break away from drinking and find a new source of enjoyment.

Enjoy quality time with friends and family

Spending time with family and friends is another way to help fill the void left by alcohol and cope with feelings of isolation. Make plans to meet up with friends somewhere alcohol-free, or invite them over for a movie night or game night.
Reconnecting with loved ones and being around people you care about can provide support and help you feel less isolated.

Help those in need and improve your community

Participating in volunteer work is a great way to give back to your community and find a sense of belonging and connection. Look for volunteer opportunities in your area and find one that interests you.
With the current cost of living crisis, there’s no shortage of need for volunteers. Volunteering is also a great way to keep your mind off drinking and find purpose and fulfilment.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Joining a support group can also be a helpful way to find understanding and connection when giving up alcohol. These groups provide a safe and non-judgmental space to talk about your struggles and experiences. Support groups can be a great source of motivation and can teach you coping strategies for dealing with the urge to drink.
Join thousands of people in our group on Facebook – Alcohol-Free Community –and receive help, without judgement. The group is anyone who wants to reset their relationship with alcohol, whether that’s taking a break, aiming for moderation, giving up for good, or staying sober.

Get active and release that dopamine!

Physical activity is another way to manage stress and anxiety and provide a sense of accomplishment when giving up alcohol. Consider activities such as yoga, running, or going for a walk. Exercise can also increase the release of dopamine in the brain, which may contribute to the sense of pleasure and well-being that many people experience after working out.
Dopamine is often referred to as the “feel-good” chemical because it is released in response to pleasurable activities, such as eating, sex, and drug use.


Giving up alcohol is a challenge, but finding ways to keep yourself busy and avoid boredom can make the journey easier.
Consider learning a new skill, spending time with family and friends, participating in volunteer work, joining a support group, or engaging in physical activity. These activities can provide a sense of accomplishment, belonging, and connection, which can help you stay on track and resist the urge to drink.
John Risby

About The Author

John Risby
Co-Founder of The Alcohol-Free Shop and John is a recovering alcoholic who stopped drinking in June 2004. Born and raised in Manchester, he now lives in Malaga with his wife and young daughter. He came to terms with being an alcoholic many years ago, but still finds the concept his daughter is Spanish very strange.