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Groundhog’s Day Syndrome: How to Break Out Of A Recovery Rut

Groundhog’s Day Syndrome: How to Break Out Of A Recovery Rut

The early days of recovery can be exhilarating. This new way of living may leave you with improved energy, clarity, and health; perhaps even making you feel as if you’re on top of the world. But as you move forward through your daily life, the exhilaration can start to wear off. It may eventually morph into normalcy, complacency—and even boredom. You may start to feel as if you’re standing still instead of making progress in your recovery.

Every day can start to feel the same, not unlike the movie “Groundhog Day” in which Bill Murray relives the same day over and over again. You want to stay committed to sobriety, but you also want to get out of this rut. Both are possible with the use of some or all of these helpful tips.

Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone

One of the most effective ways to get out of a rut is to think about what keeps you in it. Everyone has a comfort zone or a place you find familiar due to earlier life experiences. Even if that place is not the happiest or healthiest of places, people may fear doing things that take them out of that familiar zone. Think about what fears or beliefs are limiting you from moving out of your comfort zone, then test what happens if you move beyond them.

Recommit to Your Recovery Program

Perhaps you’ve stopped doing some of the things you used to do in early sobriety, such as attending daily support meetings, implementing daily readings, or reaching out to other people in recovery. Make a renewed commitment to your program that involves going back to the activities and tasks that were so helpful at the beginning.  

Recommit to Your Academic Program

If part of your rut involves your college career, take action and breathe new life into your academic program. Try joining a study group, reaching out to other students before and after class, and exploring topics of interest associated with those covered in your classes. You can even try new study locations or learning methods to rekindle that academic fire.

Learn a New Skill

Exploring topics of interest related to your classes could lead you in the direction of learning a new skill. Perhaps your literature class stirs up your interest in writing poetry or short stories. Or you could simply choose to take up something you’ve always wanted to learn, such as oil painting or playing the flute. Review the different college clubs and join one that intrigues you or find something you’ve never done before and give it a go. There’s never a bad time to invest your time in a new hobby.


Volunteer activities can contribute to learning new skills while helping others in need. Look in and around campus for people or organizations that could use your help. Even if you don’t join a college club as a member, they may have volunteer opportunities for you.

Try a Daily Gratitude List

Instead of focusing on the apparent sameness and repetitive nature of each day, try switching your view to take in all the wonderful things that each day brings. Then write a list of them. Neither the activity nor the list has to be long. Take five minutes or fewer at the end of each day to note five things for which you’re most grateful. Make it a daily practice, and you may be amazed at how quickly your attitude starts to change.

If you’ve tried various solutions but still seem to be stuck in a rut, remember you can always reach out for help anytime you need it. Simply talking to someone and sharing what you’re feeling and going through can be extremely helpful.

Life of Purpose can be that someone. For more information about primary care treatment on or near a college campus, or to speak with an admissions advisor about the Life of Purpose program, call 1-888-PURPOSE or learn more at Life of Purpose.

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