18 Jul 7 Ways To Overcome Loneliness in Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery is a difficult journey, and sometimes it can also feel like a very lonely one. Many of those in the addiction recovery process often report that they feel lonely and isolated. The worst part of being lonely is that it can sometimes mirror how you felt while you were struggling with addiction. Substance abuse is often the way people deal with feeling lonely and depressed. Using drugs or alcohol feels like an escape where you don’t have to deal with your emotional pain and loneliness. Unfortunately, when drinking or using drugs turns into an addiction, the loneliness gets even worse as the relationships around you crumble.
When you enter into addiction treatment, it’s important to find a supportive community to help you in your addiction recovery process. Social support circles are extremely powerful in helping you stay sober and welcomed.
How Social Support Fights Loneliness
Social support gives you a sense of belonging instead of isolation. It reinforces that you’re never alone. You have a group that you can reach out to when you need it. It also increases your sense of self-worth when you’re part of network that can help you and you can also help them. It gives you a feeling of security.
Social support circles also provide you with resources for advice. It’s easier to get advice from someone who has “been there” or who is in the same addiction recovery process. Advice from people who have never gone through addiction recovery can sometimes be confusing and unhelpful.
Is Loneliness In Addiction Recovery a Normal Feeling?
The short answer is yes. Many people feel lonely during addiction recovery as their normal social circle is stripped away. Most of those who struggle with addiction surrounded themselves with other people with addiction. They do this to feel better about what they’re doing and not get lectured. However, in addiction recovery, the last thing you want to do is be part of a toxic social circle that might encourage you to use again.
Nevertheless, that means your previous social support group is now gone. It’s easy to feel lonely and like you don’t know anyone. That’s why it’s incredibly important to find people to connect with in recovery in order to build a healthier social network.
What Is Loneliness?
Loneliness is a subjective feeling that coincides with other strong feelings like depression, anxiety or even panic. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re alone in a room with no other people. Many people report that they feel lonely even when they’re with their friends or family. People in addiction recovery often say that loneliness is one of the most difficult things to overcome. Some even say that it’s harder than detoxing. The main reason is that loneliness can’t simply be treated by medications. The tools for dealing with loneliness are ones that you have to formulate yourself.
1. Start By Connecting With Yourself
One of the first, and arguably most important, ways of dealing with loneliness is to connect with yourself. Some people think that connecting with others is the best way to deal with loneliness. Even though that’s one way, it may not help if you feel disconnected from yourself. Consider the following ways to connect with yourself on a regular basis:
• Meditating for 30 minutes every day
• Keeping a journal to write down your thoughts
• Talking to yourself
• Learning to enjoy solitude
Understanding yourself and enjoying your own company is a major part of combating loneliness. It’s also important to do things by yourself to get comfortable with it. Try going to a restaurant by yourself or exploring your town or city alone.
Change the perspective that solitude and being lonely are the same thing. Loneliness is a detachment, whether it’s from yourself or from other people.
2. Restore Your Relationships
It’s very common for people with addiction to push their family and friends away. Damaged relationships are one of the biggest regrets that former substance abusers have. As you begin the process of recovery from addiction, it can help your feelings of loneliness to make amends with your friends and family. Restoring your relationships can reattach you to another social circle and give you the chance to reconnect. Remember that detachment and disconnection are two things that make you feel lonely.
3. Use Group Therapy To Connect
During your addiction rehab sessions, you’ll likely spend plenty of time in group therapy. Make the most of these meetings by connecting with others. This is especially important because the people in your group therapy sessions are people who face the same challenges and issues as you. Chance are, many of them are also struggling with disconnection and loneliness.
4. Confront and Accept Your Emotions
This is similar to connecting with yourself and is something you likely learned in cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. In order to deal with your feelings of loneliness and depression, you have to confront them and recognize them. The inability to do this is often why people begin using drugs or alcohol in the first place. The substances mask and disguise the uncomfortable emotions. To deal with these emotions in a healthy way, you have to confront them and then accept them.
5. Be a Friend
Relationships are give and take, but that also makes them active and connecting. If you’re taking the time to listen to others and reaching out to others when they need it, you’re also connecting, which helps remove the emotional detachment of being lonely. Giving support and receiving support is another way to positively deal with loneliness.
6. Try New Things
As previously mentioned, your life has likely been completely uprooted through getting treatment for addiction and removing your previous toxic circle. This is when you need to start making other connections through new experiences. You may have learned a new hobby or interest during your rehab period. Use that to find a new social circle. Sign up for classes or join groups that revolve around these new interests or hobbies. Take lessons to learn a new skill. Pick up an instrument or take cooking classes. All of these new experiences present chances to connect with people around you.
Exercise releases endorphins and dopamine to flood your brain and body with positive feelings. Loneliness is typically described as a negative feeling that brings you down. Exercise is a feel-good distraction that also improves your health. Getting regular exercise during the day is one of the best ways to keep your mood up.
Support for Addiction Recovery
At New Method Wellness, we want to support our clients through every aspect of addiction recovery. That’s why our addiction therapy programs span a wide range of methods and approaches. Whether you’re struggling to overcome loneliness in addiction recovery or anything else, our center is here for you.