Creating a Happy Life in Sobriety – Dealing with Loneliness and Isolation in Early Recovery
Loneliness is an all-encompassing emotion that can be very difficult to process and deal with. It is often the reason behind a person starting to abuse drugs or alcohol – in order to avoid the overwhelming feelings of loneliness. Dealing with the isolation in early recovery can be a scary thought as many people find it difficult to admit that they are lonely to another person. However, overcoming loneliness and isolation in recovery is an important step in an addict’s journey and in the evolution of the person’s life, helping them to explore new areas of their life and make deep, profound connections with others, themselves and a higher power.
Why Overcoming Loneliness and Isolation in Recovery is Important
Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that the first year of recovery is the most important as far as relapse is concerned. In the first year of recovery, the relapse rates are between 40 and 60 percent. Avoiding isolation in addiction recovery is not only about creating a life that can make you feel connected and happy, but it is also about preventing a possible relapse due to your emotional state.
Tips on How to Deal With Isolation in Early Recovery
Thankfully, you are not alone in your feelings of loneliness and isolation in early recovery. Many recovering addicts have found ways to connect with new and old friends, and make lasting connections with higher powers – often through a 12-step program that focuses on the connection to a higher power to help your through your recovery.
The following are some tips on how to deal with isolation in early recovery.
- Have a date with yourself – Go on a date with yourself and just enjoy the time doing whatever you like. As long as you make the effort to go out and do the types of things you would normally do with another. Have a delicious dinner or go see the latest movie. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new people. This can help in avoiding isolation in addiction recovery.
- Face the problem head-on – Breathing exercises are often undervalued but they can be a very effective way to tackle strong emotions. This is why breathing exercises are used in meditations and various forms of emotional control. Sit down in a quite space and take deep breaths. Let your mind focus on the pain of loneliness and embrace it. The pain you feel won’t kill you, but relapsing into drug addiction to deal with loneliness just might.
- Make a list – Create a list of all of the hobbies and activities that you would like to try. Add things that are new. Just pick one and do it!
- Go to support groups – Making friends is often about being able to relate. At support groups, all of the people are dealing with similar problems and can therefore easily relate. They may also have feelings of loneliness and have been looking for a new friend just like you.
- Befriend yourself – A key to happiness and peace is learning to enjoy your own company. You as a person are going to be by your side forever. Learn to appreciate and accept all of the wonderful parts of yourself as a person. Once you learn to be your own friend, you will find that much of your loneliness fades, and you will learn to be a better friend to others.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.