Loneliness is a word that carries a lot of meaning and power. Humans are social creatures, and relationships play a huge role in our physical, mental and emotional well-being. For those in recovery, loneliness can be dangerous. A lack of friendships and close connections can lead to relapse. By learning to combat loneliness, you can empower your recovery journey.
Loneliness and Sobriety
Loneliness is when you feel isolated from other people, your environment or the world at large. This emotion can make you feel like an outcast with no companions. In recovery, feelings of loneliness are not a sign that there’s something wrong with you. Instead, these emotions are often a natural outcome of walking away from the people and places associated with your addiction.
The chaotic world you became comfortable with has been stripped away. The substances you used to numb your mind and emotions have left your system. Now you must find a new way, and that can be a scary, lonely process.
There is a big difference between feeling lonely and being alone. For those in recovery, it’s important to learn how to be comfortable with yourself without escaping to drugs or alcohol. These moments of solitude are opportunities to reflect and discover the creative, emotional and profound human you’ve always been. The sober life doesn’t have to be lonely. Instead, it can be a season of learning to love yourself and taking huge steps in your recovery process.
How to Avoid Loneliness and Stay Sober
You don’t have to give in to feelings of loneliness. It’s important to stop these emotions before they endanger your recovery. Here are some ways to avoid loneliness and form healthy connections with others while staying sober:
- Grieve: Grieving lets you recognize the loss of a lifestyle that was home to you and say goodbye to the person you were when trapped in addiction.
- Share your feelings: Let a friend or family member know you’re feeling lonely or release these trapped feelings in a journal.
- Attend group therapy or a support group: Become part of a community and connect with others facing the same obstacles. These group experiences help you understand you’re never alone.
- Restore damaged relationships: Addiction can destroy relationships with those we love most. Recovery lets you start a new chapter with family and friends.
- Meet new people: Whether it’s a yoga class or book club, getting out and meeting people can boost your self-esteem, give you a healthy hobby to enjoy with others and contribute to your new lifestyle.
- Care for something: Whether it’s a pet or plant, caring for another life helps you discover the value in your own. However, recognize your limitations. An animal is a huge responsibility.
- Attend individual therapy: Though you can also talk to loved ones, seeking one-on-one therapy lets you take advantage of professional advice.
- Try work or school: Finding a new job or going back to school provides new avenues for identifying support systems.
- Go to sobriety events: if you haven’t found an established support group yet, attending sobriety events can help you connect with others.
- Manage your social media time: Social media can help you find like minds, but it can also increase feelings of loneliness or comparisons of your recovery journey to others. Manage your time wisely.
Find Support at Gateway Foundation
At Gateway Foundation, we understand the importance of community and peer support. During your personalized addiction treatment program, you are surrounded by our friendly team and others battling addiction in a safe and supportive care environment. While the journey may be lonely at times, you are never truly alone. Get the help you need to break the bonds of addiction. Contact us today to learn more.