Loneliness and addiction are very interconnected. Depression can cause loneliness and that loneliness can result in people self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. This self-medication can ultimately lead to addiction.
When in recovery, the feeling of loneliness can sometimes become unbearable due to the loss of substance use as a coping strategy. Loneliness and isolation can significantly increase your chances of relapse, so learning how to deal with feelings of loneliness is essential to maintaining your sobriety. This blog will outline how loneliness and addiction are related and suggest some possible ways to relieve loneliness in sobriety.
How Are Loneliness and Addiction Connected?
Loneliness and addiction go hand-in-hand. Studies have shown that those who feel more socially isolated generally develop addiction problems. Many people who feel lonely turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. Conversely, addiction itself can cause loneliness. Many people tend to cut off their loved ones when they are using, thus, causing isolation.
Addiction oftentimes also overwhelms the individual with feelings of fear, denial, and guilt. In an attempt to cope with these feelings or avoid addressing them, many continue to use drugs and alcohol. This starts a vicious cycle that not only perpetuates substance use but also increases feelings of isolation and loneliness.
5 Possible Ways to Overcome Loneliness in Recovery
- Connect with yourself
Many try to disconnect with themselves and their feelings in instances of loneliness or isolation and instead focus on connecting with other people to cope. Although this may seem like the most obvious approach to combatting loneliness, it isn’t the most sustainable. Relying on others to avoid feeling lonely increases codependency and the inability to be self-reliant.
Loneliness is, ultimately, a detachment from yourself. Focusing on yourself and your needs may at first be uncomfortable, however, learning to enjoy your own company is the first step to combatting loneliness. Through meditation, journaling, or finding activities you like to do on your own, becoming comfortable with yourself and being alone will allow you to become more self-sustaining and less dependent on others to relieve your loneliness.
- Heal past relationships
When engaging in your addiction, it is likely you damaged relationships with your family and friends. Once in recovery, you may feel as if you destroyed all your relationships and, as a result, you may feel very lonely. Restoring relationships with the ones you care about is an important step to relieving isolation.
Healing damaged relationships and connecting with yourself are two integral steps in combatting loneliness. Moreover, addressing past wrong-doings is an essential part of your recovery so by making amends with loved ones you are both working your program and relieving your loneliness.
- Address and accept your emotions
You may understand that you feel lonely, but do you understand why? Spending time to recognize and confront your emotions associated with and causing loneliness is important in understanding how to address them. Addressing and accepting your emotions can be very uncomfortable and emotionally taxing, this is often why people choose to turn to substances to cope. Drugs and alcohol offer a way to mask your emotions instead of addressing them. Therefore, by recognizing and understanding your emotions, you can begin to deal with your loneliness and decrease your chance of relapse.
- Offer support to loved ones
Being loved feels great, but so does giving love. By offering support and love to the ones in your life, you will combat emotional detachment and, thus, feel less lonely. By reaching out and supporting others, you can achieve intimacy and connection that can help relieve isolation and loneliness for not only yourself but others.
- Get active
Boosting your mood through increasing your levels of endorphins and dopamine can make you feel less isolated and lonely. Getting regular exercise can help both your brain and body feel better and offers a good distraction from your negative thoughts. Moreover, engaging in exercise and other physical activities with friends and family can offer you a new, healthy way to connect and hang out with others.
Combatting Loneliness with NuView Treatment Center
NuView Treatment Center can offer you the support and guidance you need to relieve loneliness in sobriety. NuView Treatment Center, located in West Los Angeles, employs highly trained and qualified staff who are educated in the latest evidence-based therapeutic modalities. NuView provides compassionate individualized treatment plans to help people develop the skills they need to get sober and stay sober. Moreover, NuView works with clients to rebuild their lives and develop the necessary tools to navigate life in recovery. At NuView Treatment Center, we believe that recovery from addiction is far more than just abstaining from using drugs and alcohol. Let NuView Treatment Center help you acquire the skills to combat isolation and loneliness while staying sober long-term.