Recovery can be a long and difficult process, even in the best of circumstances. Alongside other challenges, many individuals recovering from addiction experience intense loneliness, whether they join inpatient or outpatient programs. Knowing how to cope with loneliness and addiction recovery is vital for your wellness and your long-term recovery success.
Loneliness in Addiction Recovery
Loneliness is a very common part of addiction recovery for many individuals. According to a 2014 study,1 both emotional and social loneliness are more frequent in individuals with substance dependence disorder. That loneliness is oftentimes driven by:
- Self-destructive habits
- Lack of focus on relationships
- And more
However, that loneliness doesn’t always subside once a person struggling with addiction checks into a treatment program. In many instances, the loneliness persists – individuals in inpatient or outpatient programs, for example, might feel that no one is in their corner or supporting them.
In the long term, this can be very harmful. It’s difficult to stick with challenging programs, like addiction recovery programs, while feeling socially isolated. Those struggling with addiction recovery need to feel like they have social support.
How to Deal with Loneliness in Recovery
Though loneliness in addiction recovery can feel insurmountable, it’s important to adopt positive habits and mindsets. With the right approach, you can deal with feelings of loneliness and prevent those feelings from compromising your recovery efforts.
Remember That the Feeling is Normal
First and foremost, always remember that you aren’t alone. In fact, the feelings of loneliness you experience are more common than you may think. A study from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project2 indicates that loneliness is very common among American adults, especially older adults. The same is true for those in addiction recovery programs.
So even if you feel like no one can understand what you’re going through, the truth is that many people can. Find someone to talk to about your feelings; they’ll certainly be able to empathize.
Go to Meetings
In an addiction recovery program, there are likely several meetings you can attend throughout the week. Go to those meetings! The people who attend them with you understand the difficult situation you’re in and can connect with you about your feelings of loneliness or other negative emotions.
More importantly, going to these meetings will help you build up a strong social network outside your family.
Stay Connected with Friends and Family
That said, it’s also important to remain connected with your friends and family members if at all possible. Speak to your recovery specialist or program supervisor about connecting with those who you love. Recovering from substance abuse disorder or any other addiction is much easier if you have the assistance of your parents, siblings, spouse, children, and others who you treasure. They can provide you with the emotional strength you need to keep up with your program when the going gets tough.
Pursue Recreational Hobbies
Even in the midst of a recovery program, you should try to carve out some time for yourself. Remember what your hobbies are and devote some time each week to pursue them, whether that’s gaming, painting, watching films, or something else entirely. Recreation is an inherent, important part of overall wellness, and it can help you throughout the addiction recovery process.
Adopt a Pet
For many people, adopting a pet is a surefire way to overcome feelings of loneliness in addiction recovery and beyond. That’s because a pet provides constant companionship without many of the more complex relationship elements inherent in human friendships.
If you’re capable of caring for an animal, consider adopting a cat or dog. These furry friends can give your life new meaning and help you stay focused as you recover from substance abuse disorder.
Contact Clear Life Recovery Today
Though loneliness in addiction recovery is always difficult, it’s something you can overcome, especially if you check into the right recovery program. At Clear Life Recovery, our experts will help you get your life back on track and involve your friends and family members in the recovery process. With our help, you can recover from your substance abuse disorder with the assistance of those who love you. Contact us today to learn more.