7 Ways to Battle Loneliness in Recovery

Come up with just one supportive friend or family member who you could imagine reaching out to. It’s also reassuring to know that strong social support is beneficial for your mental health. The sheer number of adults in the United States who feel lonely is quite large—in a January 2020 survey of 10,000 adults by How Alcohol Impacts Life Expectancy Alcoholic Life Expectancy Cigna, 61% of those surveyed said they felt lonely. However, people don’t always talk about feelings of loneliness and don’t always know what to do with these feelings. Many people are seemingly alone, but do not feel lonely — just as many others will endure intense loneliness in a room full of people they know.

The Interconnectedness of Loneliness and Depression on Older … – OncoZine

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If you are newly in recovery, you may want to consider an outpatient program for your first few months into sobriety. Identifying your triggers is often the first step in learning how to cope with and manage them. Learning new things is a great way to keep busy when you have nothing to do. You don’t have to go to a gym to stay fit—you can find many exercises online and do them from home. Yoga, for instance, is an excellent way to manage stress and anxiety. The endorphins your body releases will make you feel better naturally.

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While it might not be the same as being as socializing in person, staying connected virtually is still beneficial for your mental health. Plus, there are many ways you can have fun and interact with others online to overcome isolation. When I was out there drinking, over the years, I began to drift further and further away from reality as my alcoholism progressed. This tore apart the relationships with my wife and kids, co-workers, and long-time friends – anyone who loved or cared about me at all. The only time I was able to get out of my head was when I was good-n-drunk. But, I sure didn’t expect these feelings of loneliness to continue on in sobriety.

loneliness in recovery

When we’re very young, our parents or primary caregivers handle our loneliness for us. We feel an emotional need for connection, we cry, and they pick us up and hold us. The connection soothes us, we calm back down, and our tears fade. Gradually, over time, we learn to manage that type of loneliness on our own. And we learn to keep ourselves occupied – solo – for hours on end, without the need for connection and reassurance from parents or caregivers.

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Without support, it is incredibly difficult to cope with those feelings without drugs or alcohol – so the circle continues. Therefore, loneliness can be both an effect and a cause of addiction. Brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, play an important role in our mood and feelings. Since loneliness is a state of mind, there are ways to stimulate important neurotransmitters and help prevent loneliness. These same neurotransmitters are the chemicals that using substances stimulate. Finding healthy ways to boost neurotransmitters is crucial to maintaining sobriety, especially in isolation.

Addiction recovery is a difficult journey, and sometimes it can also feel like a very lonely one. Many of those in the addiction recovery process often report that they feel lonely and isolated. The worst part of being lonely is that it can sometimes mirror how you felt while you were struggling with addiction. Substance abuse is often the way people deal with feeling lonely and depressed.

The Link Between Loneliness and Substance Abuse: 5 Things You Need to Know

In addition, numerous aftercare programs are available to help you stay in touch with people when you leave treatment so that you can keep connected. When people feel lonely for a prolonged period, it can lead to feelings of isolation and even result in depression. Protect your mental health in recovery by remaining connected to your sober support network, family members and close friends while also cultivating new sober friendships. Loneliness is a subjective feeling that coincides with other strong feelings like depression, anxiety, or even panic. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re alone in a room with no other people. Many people report that they feel lonely even when they’re with their friends or family.

  • This is similar to connecting with yourself and is something you likely learned in cognitive behavioral therapy sessions.
  • The best way to beat loneliness is obviously to have regular social connections.
  • Finding a strong recovery network, such as RCA, is important to promote recovery through extensive support systems and to restore physical, mental, and social well-being.
  • Being around positive people can have a huge impact on our overall wellbeing.

Talking openly about how you’re feeling can help alleviate stress and anxiety. The most crucial aspect of your recovery journey is maintaining healthy relationships with your sponsor, support group, or counselor. Doing so can improve or evolve the nature of your interactions and your relationships.

This can stimulate creativity, give you something to look forward to during the day, and help stave off loneliness. Whether it’s an art class, exercise class, or book club, joining a class or a club automatically exposes you to a group of people who share at least one of your interests. Check your local library or community college as well as city parks and recreation departments to see what’s available.

  • The inability to do this is often why people begin using drugs or alcohol in the first place.
  • Paying attention to the environment around you when you experience a trigger can help you examine them.
  • The root of loneliness is feeling a lack of connection to those around us.
  • Tips to combat boredom in recovery include working toward a goal or focusing your mind on a new hobby.

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