Overcoming addiction is an immense challenge on its own. However, sobriety often brings unexpected difficulties, such as loneliness. In recovery, the loss of substance-related connections, distancing from friends who continue to use, and challenges relating to non-users can intensify this loneliness.
Loneliness is more than just feeling alone – it can lead to depression, poor health, and even relapse. However, many effective ways exist to cope with loneliness and stay strong in recovery. Here’s a roadmap filled with effective strategies to navigate this terrain. By following it, you can cope with loneliness and thrive in your recovery journey.
Loneliness acts as a major trigger for relapse during addiction recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that the loss of substance use connections results in a gap that is difficult to fill.
Cravings kick in as the brain tries to recreate the dopamine high of drug or alcohol use.
Ending associations with other users is necessary for recovery. But it removes an entire social group and community at once.
Old friends may not understand sobriety, which can cause rifts. Attempting to navigate relationships and social events with non-users brings its own challenges.
All this isolation understandably breeds loneliness. But it helps to view loneliness as a symptom to address rather than a permanent state.
The path forward involves filling the gap left by substance use with healthy connections and activities. Try these positive strategies to manage loneliness:
Taking small, positive steps goes a long way toward building social and community connections. The more you put yourself out there, the less alone you’ll feel.
It’s understandable to feel some resistance to making connections after isolation. Here are a few tips for overcoming that hurdle:
If you continue to struggle with loneliness for weeks or months, consider seeking professional support. A therapist can help address the underlying causes of isolation. Counseling also treats co-occurring mental health issues like depression and loneliness-related anxiety.
Some other signs it may be time to get additional support include:
You do not have to face prolonged loneliness alone. With professional help and daily practice of coping strategies, you can overcome loneliness, connect with others in recovery, and build a fulfilling social life.
Navigating the journey of recovery isn’t a solo mission. Remember, every step you take towards building connections and enriching your life is a step away from loneliness. As you’ve read, countless strategies exist to fill the void and create a life filled with purpose, joy, and meaningful relationships.
Don’t wait for tomorrow to embrace these strategies. Whether it’s joining a support group, adopting a pet, or simply taking that daily walk, start today. You have the tools, and you’re never alone in this journey. Reach out, connect, and take charge of your recovery, one day at a time.
Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call today and begin your journey toward long-term recovery.