Are You Lonely In Recovery From Addiction?
Most likely, when you were in active addiction or alcoholism, you spent a decent amount of time hanging out with your party friends. You may have felt a twinge of loneliness at times, but you were able to get around others and enjoy the scene, drinking or drugging.
But what about now that you’re in recovery from addiction? Are you struggling with loneliness? Have your party friends disappeared now that you’re in recovery from addiction?
This isn’t unusual. Plenty of party friends don’t want to be around the recovery crowd because it makes them feel like they’re doing something wrong by NOT stopping their drug of choice. They don’t want to feel bad for continuing on with their lifestyle.
And it’s a good thing to steer clear of them because being around others who are doing what you used to do (drinking, drugging) can be a huge temptation that you may not be strong enough to resist in early recovery.
Loneliness creeps in
If you’re in early recovery from addiction, know that loneliness may creep in. Sure, you may have some acquaintances at work and your family members, but you crave meaningful relationships with those that are healthy to be around. Those that are positive influences. And when you don’t get that, you could feel lonely.
For some, that loneliness becomes intense. They can feel lonely and alone, and if not dealt with, this can be a huge trigger. Therefore, learn some tips for overcoming loneliness now, so that you won’t have to deal with such triggers.
We’ve listed some of the top tips for overcoming loneliness in early recovery from addiction below.
Connect with you
It’s great to want to hang out with other people and have meaningful connections, but first, it is important to have a good relationship with yourself. You want to connect with yourself at a deeper level so that from there you’ll be able to build healthy relationships with others. See, if you’re disconnected with yourself, you’ll always feel lonely – even if there are dozens of people around you.
By connecting with yourself, this means that you spend time on your own practicing self-care and nurturing yourself. It’s being alright to go for a walk alone and enjoy it. Heading out for a day trip to the beach, to bask in the golden sun and relax with yourself, getting to know yourself at a deeper level. Ponder questions like, “Who am I?” and “What kinds of things do I like” and “What are my passions in life?”. You might even want to take 10 to 15 minutes a day to meditate or sit quietly with yourself. Get in touch with your emotions and practice self-love. By doing this, you should begin to feel a bit less lonely, and more in tune with your higher self.
Get out there
An important part of recovery from addiction is making new friends that will be a good influence on you. This means that you’re going to have to put yourself out there to meet new people. Oftentimes, this causes people a certain amount and anxiety because it’s not always easy to be the new kid on the block. However, to overcome loneliness and recovery from addiction, you’re going to have to push through those feelings of being uncomfortable or anxious.
There are various ways you can meet new people in a community. If you’re an advocate of 12-step groups, check out a 12-step meeting and attend regularly so that you get to know the people who attend there. There are groups in various niches, so check out to see what’s going on in your area get involved in groups that you’re interested in, such as a sports groups if you are into sports, meditation or yoga groups if that’s your thing or career-oriented groups. The important thing to remember is that in order to make a new friend, you’ve got to be a friend, and that usually involves you making the effort to get out there. If you’re struggling with high anxiety, try to boost your self-esteem by reading books about boosting self-esteem. You can learn how to become more comfortable in social situations, and practice will really help.
Surely there’s someone you can call when you’re feeling extremely lonely. This could be a family member or a friend who knows how to be there for you when you are feeling like this. It’s alright to reach out for support and let someone know that you’re feeling lonely. Know that at times they have felt lonely too, so it’s not like you’re feeling something that no one else ever feels.
Loneliness is actually one of humanities biggest struggles. We can be surrounded by plenty of people and still feel lonely or alone inside. In the age of online technology, there are many people who engage with people online but do not make meaningful connections face-to-face. This is a recipe for loneliness. Online communities such as Facebook or Instagram are nice, but that shouldn’t be the only source of connection that you have. When you’re feeling extremely lonely, have one or two go-to people that you can call. Know that you’re going to call them if you’re feeling that way and chances are they will be honored that you are considering them a friend that will be there for them in such times.
There are plenty of places in a community to volunteer your time. By giving back to others, you simply feel better. As you do volunteer, chances are you will feel less lonely because you’ll be connecting with other people. You’ll be connecting with those that you are serving and also other volunteers. This is a great way to get to know new people and add value to humanity. If you are attending a 12-step group for your recovery from addiction, once you’ve been there for a little while, ask to see how you can serve at the meeting. You may be able to get there early and help make the coffee and get the place ready for others to come. This is a great way to volunteer. Once you’ve got some clean time, you may be able to chair a meeting too, which simply means you get to be the lead facilitator in the meeting. This is a great way to boost your self-confidence and meet other people also in recovery from addiction.
Loneliness and depression
When you’re on your recovery from addiction path, over time, untreated loneliness can lead to a feeling of depression. You’ll feel completely alone and empty and that no one cares about you.
A loneliness that lingers can cause people to become depressed and withdraw from family and friends. Activities that were once enjoyed no longer bring any satisfaction. It may become very difficult to even leave the house to do any sort of activity and tasks become more like dreaded chores.
To feel all alone and unwanted is sure to cause one to feel depressed. As humans, we long to be loved and accepted and we also benefit from accepting and loving others. When relationships are lacking in our lives, we tend to feel a void and long for it to be filled.
Even if you’re feeling depressed, you can still learn how to approach people anyway and create conversation in order to attain a friendship. You don’t need many friends, as one or two authentic and genuine friendships will suffice.
Joining a support group will help you to meet new people and be out in the community, which is beneficial for you. Take a painting class, join a gym, softball team, church choir, etc. Think about what your interests are and take action to get involved in them. Surely you will meet people who will want to be your friend.
Reach out to a counselor
Loneliness and depression are related, but you don’t have to let them rule your life. Take action against loneliness and depressive symptoms will decrease. If you have tried everything that you can and still are struggling with loneliness and depression, consider seeing a professional counselor that will help you. Counseling during early recovery from addiction is a wonderful way to process your emotions and concerns. Professionals can help you dig deep and get to the root of those feelings that are causing you to feel lonely. You’ll also be able to be accountable to someone as you navigate your path in recovery from addiction.
Some people are afraid to go to counseling, and having some anxiety is normal. Know that most therapists understand this and make it easy to get to know them within the first session. You’ll be able to go at your own pace, and build trust with the therapist. Understand that counseling can be a valuable tool to grow on all levels, but it takes time. Consider taking a season to attend counseling, committing to at least six sessions before deciding to continue on. Some people commit to a year of counseling, and oftentimes report that they grew so much during that year.
Loneliness during recovery from addiction does not have to destroy your life. If you’re feeling lonely, or alone, consider these tips. Make a plan as to how you’ll go about combatting that loneliness from here on out. You don’t have to navigate life feeling so alone. Will you never feel lonely again? You may from time to time, which is normal, but it shouldn’t have to plague your life. Reach out for help today if you’re feeling intense loneliness and need some assistance. You’re worth it!