Recovery from a substance use disorder is a challenging process, and it can be lonely at times. You may feel isolated and disconnected from those you once spent time with. Loneliness can increase stress and cause you to feel depressed or anxious. It can even lead you to crave drugs or alcohol to cope, thus becoming a trigger for relapse.
Tips for Overcoming Loneliness
Loneliness can make it difficult to focus on sobriety, so you’ll want to have a lot of resources in your toolkit to help you stay motivated when you start to feel lonely:
- Build a strong support system. Having trusted people that can provide support when you feel lonely or are struggling is essential in recovery. Your support system may include close friends, family members, your 12-step sponsor, and professionals such as a counselor or therapist.
- Attend support groups. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) not only provide support and guidance in recovery but also allow you to connect with others who share similar experiences. By surrounding yourself with people who understand what you are facing in recovery, you can start to feel connected to a group.
- Take care of yourself. Regularly practicing self-care can help you feel less lonely and bored. You can set time aside each day to do things like exercise, meditate, read a book, or write in a recovery journal. Fill your day with meaningful activities that can keep your mind and body healthy.
- Find a new hobby or interest. You may not want to fall back into your old routine and habits now that you are in recovery. Finding new hobbies or interests can give you a new sense of purpose and a way to connect and meet people. Consider trying activities such as painting, cooking, or joining a fitness class. Explore different activities until you find ones that best fits your needs and interests.
- Volunteer in your community. Volunteering in your community is a great way to feel less lonely, connect to others, and give back to those who are in need. You will not only feel good helping others, but you will also develop new friendships and give yourself something to look forward to. There are many volunteer opportunities to consider, including churches, nonprofit organizations, and shelters.
- Adopt a pet. Pets can be an important part of recovery. They can reduce stress, provide unconditional love and companionship, and give you the opportunity to leave the house and meet other pet-friendly people. If you have a dog, you can take them to the local dog park, go for a walk, or play in the yard. Pets also help you create a regular routine that will help you stay focused on your journey. If you do not have the time, money, or energy to commit to a pet of your own, volunteer at a local animal shelter to make a difference.
- Connect online. Endless tools online allow you to connect to others and feel less isolated. Online support groups recovery can give you a sense of community and a safe place to share your feelings. Or, you can use technology to reach out to family or friends who live far away.
If you are struggling with loneliness despite your best efforts, it may be helpful to seek professional help. Talking to a therapist or counselor can help you work through your emotions and develop coping strategies. In addition, antidepressants, in combination with therapy, may help give you the boost you need to seek out connections in your community. Talk with your doctor about options.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, contact Mountain Laurel Recovery Center for help today. Our Pennsylvania recovery center has a range of tools and resources to put you on the path to a lasting recovery. We can tailor a treatment plan to meet your individual needs and goals. To find out more about our programs and services and how you can begin your journey of recovery, please contact us today!