People who frequently feel lonely or sad may start using drugs or alcohol as an escape mechanism. However, once self-medication evolves into a substance use disorder, it often becomes even more isolating as formerly enjoyable hobbies and relationships wither under neglect.
Once you are sober, it’s essential to surround yourself with friends and family members who appreciate and support your goals. They can help motivate you through the ups and downs of early recovery and remind you why you chose to walk this path. Here are some tips for overcoming loneliness in addiction recovery.
1. Apologize to People You Harmed
There’s a reason the 12 steps require making amends to people you hurt while you were in active addiction. Repairing damaged relationships can help you rebuild the healthy support network you squandered when you were in thrall to drugs or alcohol.
While you may need to sever ties with some people who are still actively using or drinking, you can rely on the new friends you made in addiction treatment to understand your experiences and encourage you to keep making progress.
2. Find New Hobbies
Another reason you may feel lonely in addiction recovery is that you’ve abruptly lost a long-held pastime and an activity you relied on to unwind and cope with challenging emotions. Overcoming loneliness in early recovery will require you to find new strategies for alleviating boredom and relieving stress. Consider experimenting with hobbies like painting, doing jigsaw puzzles, knitting, cooking, yoga and meditation. These activities can give you constructive ways to spend the hours you formerly filled by obtaining and using intoxicating substances.
3. Attend Recovery Group Meetings
Frequent participation in a 12-step or other addiction recovery group is another excellent strategy for keeping you accountable and overcoming loneliness. Contrary to common misconceptions, hearing other people’s stories can inspire you to continue pursuing your goals of lifelong sobriety instead of tempting you back into substance abuse. You can also use the fellowship found in your recovery group as encouragement.
4. Mentor Others
Once you are stable enough in your recovery, you can start paying it forward to others by volunteering to serve as a sponsor. While the 12 steps of AA don’t require participants to become sponsors, they do emphasize passing the lessons you’ve learned in recovery on to others. If you can inspire someone else to seek help or stay sober, they’ll be grateful to you for the rest of their life.
5. Connect With Yourself
In a treatment program or sober residence, you’ll almost always be surrounded by other people at various stages in their recovery. However, once you transition out of formal treatment and continuing care, you will encounter periods when you are all alone. Since these times might represent stressors, it’s essential to have strategies for being alone without feeling lonely.
Consider relaxing with a book or movie that evokes feelings of traveling to a faraway land. Enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of laughter by watching a hilarious movie or standup comedy special. Or, take yourself out to dinner and indulge in your favorite dessert.
Explore the Benefits of Sober Residences at Segue Recovery Support
If you’re in early recovery and are looking for ways to protect the progress you’ve made, structured sober housing may benefit you. By providing a transition between a formal addiction treatment program and a return to the “real world,” Segue Recovery Support can help reinforce the strategies you learned in rehab and allow you to protect your sobriety while you work at your preferred pace. Contact us today to learn more.