It's easy to relate nicotine use to boredom. However, as actively feeding addicts we needed to replenish constantly falling nicotine reserves whether bored to death, having the time of our life, and at all points in-between.
Nicotine use is more noticeable, and thus more memorable when bored. If doing nothing, it's hard not to notice when feeding time arrives. Yet, if busy, thinking or excited, we often didn't notice our refueling.
Although nicotine's half-life is roughly 2 hours, a falling tonic dopamine level would get our attention long before serious depletion anxieties arrived. We learned to tank up early and often, whether bored or not.
Have you ever noticed the minor anxieties that occur when bored? It's why we talk of "relieving" boredom. Boredom is thought to be a means by which the mind motivates action. It causes us to seek accomplishment and the dopamine "aaah" that comes with anticipating completion or completing each task.
What's sad is a mind that views successful nicotine replenishment as itself an important accomplishment.
Maybe that's why we make such a powerful association between not using nicotine and boredom. Instead of earning the phasic burst of dopamine that boredom's anxieties attempt to motivate, we'd steal it, over and over and over again.
Recovery presents a substantial increase in opportunities to experience boredom and to blame it on recovery. If we normally used nicotine 12 times per day, and each replenishment averaged 5 minutes, we now have an extra hour each day to either fill with some new activity or to sense boredom's anxieties.
But don't kid yourself. We didn't smoke, chew, dip or vape due to boredom. Never-users get horribly bored too but the thought of nicotine replenishment never once crosses their mind.
Nicotine depletion anxieties attempt to motivate replenishment. Boredom anxieties attempt to motivate activity. Unfortunately, the nicotine addict's act of replenishment satisfied both.
Boredom can be a productive emotion. Recovery will clearly add additional free time to each day. Hopefully, you'll learn to spend it in healthy, productive and satisfying ways.