Anyone who is beginning their journey in recovery is also very likely to have given up on their old social support network. This is because the majority of addicts tend to surround themselves with others who also abuse drugs.
By beginning recovery, it becomes too risky to continue to interact with the same group of people. Continuing to spend time with old friends who continue to abuse drugs or alcohol greatly increases one's risk for a relapse.
Starting fresh in recovery will also mean finding a new social support network that encourages health, well being, and sobriety. This will of course take effort, and it's very important part of building a new life in sobriety.
When a person fails to find social support in recovery, they run the risk of feeling lonely and isolated. These emotions can be particularly dangerous because they are directly linked to a higher risk of a relapse.
In fact, loneliness is considered a trigger in many recovery programs. When a person feels loneliness, they tend to start questioning everything in their lives, including why they are even in recovery. They may begin to miss old friends, the places they used to hang out at, and the drugs they used to take.
There will definitely be times when you feel lonely in recovery, but luckily there are many options to choose from for dealing with those moments. Some strategies for coping with feelings of loneliness and isolation include:
Find someone that you trust to talk to. This could be a sponsor, therapist, or a good friend. Sometimes just speaking out loud about your feelings is enough to make them go away, or better manage them. In recovery, it's a good idea to have at least one person you can talk to whenever you're having difficult emotions.
Join a club, take a class, or start volunteering for a cause you care about. This is a great way to get yourself out there and meet new people. Even if you don't end up becoming great friends with any of them, it's still nice to share company and interests with others to get your mind off of what you're feeling.
Learn some techniques for relaxation. This could be yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. These techniques teach a person to feel a deeper connection to their body and relax their mind. Over time, practitioner of yoga and mediation report that they feel less stressed and lonely, and are calmer overall. These practices also teach a person to take a step back from their thoughts and emotions, and gain a wider perspective.
Spending quality time with family members or friends who are supportive of your recovery is also a great way to combat loneliness. Chances are, you may have damaged a few relationships because of your addiction. Recovery is a good time to try and reconnect with the people who are important in your life.
Having social support or fellowship in recovery is an important part of making progress and building a better life for yourself. Belonging to a recovery group, connecting with others in recovery, talking regularly with a therapist or sponsor, and taking care of your mental health are great ways to ensure that feelings of loneliness never become overwhelming. Of course, loneliness will never completely go away, but at least you will be equipped with the tools to cope with it in a healthy way.
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