Feeling lonely is a normal part of life, but that does not make it any more comfortable. Relationships with others play a crucial role in our mental and physical health, and unfortunately, addiction tends to damage our ability to sustain these relationships with the people we care about. In addiction recovery, intense feelings of loneliness and isolation can make it challenging to stay abstinent. For this reason, our Banyan Stuart rehab center is sharing tips for coping with loneliness in sobriety that could help you stay on track.
The Difference Between Loneliness and Being Alone
It is important to understand that there is a difference between being alone and loneliness. For many people, being alone is not a bad thing. It is often necessary that these people rest and relax so as they are recovering from addiction, they can feel refreshed and recharged.
On the other hand, loneliness is not just a feeling. It’s a state of mind. It often comes with a lot of negative self-talk and self-doubt. It’s based on a perception of being disconnected and isolated from others, which is dangerous for individuals who are trying to stay sober.
According to research, the feeling of loneliness is stronger in drug users than in non-drug users. Loneliness in sobriety could also develop a sense of being different from the community and increase the likelihood of engaging in high-risk behaviors and abusing drugs.1
Additionally, people with low self-esteem and self-worth typically feel lonelier than those with higher self-esteem and self-worth. Factors like feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and poor coping mechanisms can also contribute to loneliness in addiction recovery.
Sober and Lonely: Ways to Cope
If you think being sober is lonely, below are some effective ways you can cope with this feeling and change your state of mind.
Learn How to Enjoy Being Alone
As we mentioned, being alone is different from feeling lonely, and being alone can be beneficial. Everyone hits a point in their day or week when they are not around people, so it is important to know how to not only cope with those moments but to take advantage of them.
However, for some people, it’s challenging to appreciate alone time, especially if they never got any when they were children. Some people associate being alone with fear, anxiety, neglect, and other negative emotions. To combat this feeling, we encourage you to practice spending time alone. You can do things like enjoy lunch by yourself, go to a movie or play alone, or visit neighborhood shops on your own.
Identify Why You Feel Lonely
It is common to be removed from previous social circles and activities when people get sober. Their drinking buddies may no longer be interested in spending time with a friend who cannot get buzzed with them. Not only can this be hurtful, but it can contribute to loneliness.
Sobriety is lonely for many reasons, and a wonderful way to combat this loneliness is to identify what exactly is making you feel this way. For instance, when was the last time you spent time together with a friend or family member? Do you have anyone you feel comfortable talking to about personal struggles? Asking yourself these questions can help you identify ways to target your loneliness and change your lifestyle.
Enroll in a Support Group
Support groups like AA and alumni recovery programs can offer you a space where you can speak about your struggles and be heard and understood. Not only do they offer a safe space, but these groups also allow you to meet others in the recovery community and even create new friendships. If you are interested, our Stuart, FL, rehab offers support groups for addicts in recovery.
Be Intentional About Spending Time With Others
When was the last time you spent time together with a friend or family member? Addiction has the tendency to break up relationships, and many addicts find themselves friendless when they achieve sobriety. If you are in this situation, we encourage you to reach out to loved ones and try to make amends. You might have some who are not interested in rekindling a relationship, but others might want to try. This will give you an opportunity to not only right some wrongs but also to rebuild relationships that could prevent loneliness and positively feed your life.
Get a Sponsor
A sponsor will provide one-on-one support as you work through a 12-step program. They will also stay connected with you daily and help you with a relapse prevention plan that will help you stay on track and cope with challenges like loneliness. Sponsors also serve as people you can talk to when you are going through a tough time and feel tempted to relapse, such as during moments of loneliness.
Join a Club Sport/Team
Loneliness in sobriety often stems from remaining stagnant and not being active. Not only does physical activity offer a dopamine boost (which improves mood) but joining in activities like club sports or teams can also help you meet other people and create new friendships. This could be a fantastic opportunity to break out of your shell and change your routine. What’s more, having plans made – such as games and tournaments – can give you something to look forward to.
Volunteer work puts you in a position where you must think of and serve others. Not only is this a fantastic way to fill up your time and take your mind off things, but it also gives you a sense of purpose and offers the gratification that comes with helping others.
Help for Addiction and Recovery
If you would like more support in recovery, our facility offers aftercare support for individuals who have completed a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program. We can offer you further guidance so you can not only remain sober but also enjoy your sobriety.
Additionally, for those who have not yet achieved sobriety and want to, our facility also offers various levels of addiction treatment and substance-specific programs to aid clients with different substance use disorders. We can help you or a loved one get and stay clean.
For more information about our services, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763.