“We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”
– Dalai Lama XIV
As social animals, humans are interdependent on others for happiness and wellbeing. Time and time again, research shows that companionship with other people is essential to your life. It turns out that loneliness could be even more dangerous than smoking and obesity. With this in mind, there is perhaps nothing more important during addiction recovery than support from friends, family, and loved ones — especially if the substance use was a coping mechanism for feelings of social isolation.
One of the most important aspects of addiction recovery is restoring connections with friends and family. This also means bidding farewell to friends who may be encouraging drug use or alcoholism. Of course, this is difficult and can lead to temporary feelings of loneliness or isolation, but it is also worth it to not have those negative influences in your life. With this in mind, here are five steps you can take today to start feeling less isolated and improve your relationship with others.
5 Steps to Break Isolation in Recovery
1. Grieve the loss of drugs: It is okay to be sad about giving up drugs. For a long time, the substance was your best friend and source of comfort. It is a loss that must be grieved and accepted.
2. Find a support group: Group therapy with others who are going through the same thing can be incredibly affirming and comforting. Find an addiction recovery group in your area.
3. Ask others for forgiveness: It is possible that you hurt people when you were under the influence. Loved ones may have cut ties to protect themselves. This is something you must accept; try to make amends where possible. You may receive a second chance.
4. Ditch negative people: When you were using, you may have fallen in with a crowd who also drinks or uses drugs. As difficult as it is to let go, understand that not all social connections are good ones. Break ties with people who do not support your recovery. Avoid the temptation to enter into new dating or sexual relationships during this time, as they may be a distraction.
5. Find a hobby: Once you are well enough, finding a hobby or activity you enjoy can be a great way to defeat loneliness. Consider picking up an old hobby, joining a club, volunteering, or trying something new. Provided that it does not put you face-to-face with temptation (such as playing music in bars if you are a recovering alcoholic), it can be a great way to distract yourself and make new friends.
Are you feeling isolated due to addiction? The Recovery Village Columbus is here to help. Our compassionate, professional staff is standing by to give you the help you need to get sober and live a new life. Contact us to learn about treatment options.