You Deserve Freedom

Introverts Might Approach Recovery Differently

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Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?

Extroverts often find social interaction to be fun and energizing. Introverts often find quiet time alone to be more fulfilling and energizing. So if you are the kind of person who can’t wait to go to the party, you are likely extroverted. And if you are the kind of person who appreciates an invitation to the party but you are not so sure you want to go, you are likely introverted.

Of course, all of this exists on a spectrum—and most of us do not go through life at one extreme or the other. Indeed, many people might be best described as “ambiverts”—meaning they have characteristics associated with both extroversion and introversion. (Here is a deeper dive on the nuances of all this.) All of that said, our point here is that extroverts and introverts often experience the recovery journey differently. 

Let’s take a look at how recovery can be experienced by a more introverted individual. You might recognize yourself—or you might recognize someone who is in your recovery community–and be better able to empathize with how they are experiencing the work of staying sober.

Introverts Don’t Always Thrive in Group Settings

Some key strategies for staying sober rely on interaction with groups of people. Take, for example, 12-Step or other recovery program meetings. These gatherings can be truly powerful for people in recovery because they bring together people with similar experiences who can understand and support one another. But for a person who is more introverted than extroverted, that group setting can feel draining and uncomfortable. (The same may be true for people in treatment who might find group therapy to be challenging.)

While we still wholeheartedly recommend active participation in a recovery program, we also recommend that people who might find meetings draining find ways to manage that issue. For example, you might lean into your relationship with your sponsor. Introverted individuals often thrive in one-on-one relationships and conversations, and your connection with your sponsor can provide that. When it comes to attending meetings (which, again, we recommend), you might try sitting with a trusted friend each time you attend. That can help “shrink” the group in ways that might be more comfortable for you.

Introverts Value Their Time Spent Alone

It can be easy to think of time alone as the enemy of sobriety. After all, boredom, loneliness, and time spent ruminating about past mistakes or worrying about the future are all enemies of ongoing sobriety.

But introverts do not necessarily experience time spent alone in any of those ways. Instead, a person who is more introverted finds time to themselves—to think, to enjoy a solo hobby, to read, to meditate, and so on—to be energizing. It makes sense that if a person who is introverted finds groups and high levels of stimulation to be draining, they would find the opposite to be essential for recharging.

That said, it is still important to be vigilant about how you are feeling when you spend time alone. If you are feeling content and engaged, that’s great. If you are feeling lonely or bored or otherwise unsettled, it is probably time to pursue some human interaction—in a setting you enjoy and with people who make you feel comfortable.

An Important Note: Social Anxiety Disorder is Different from Being Introverted

We want to be sure to highlight an important distinction. Many people are more introverted than extroverted, and that is simply an example of the ways individuals differ.

But there is a mental health disorder known as social anxiety disorder that can cause a person to feel high levels of anxiety and self-consciousness when interacting with others. If you find everyday social interactions to be a cause of fear, or if you worry that everyone you engage with might be judging you, it is important to talk to your doctor or therapist.

We Can Help You Get Sober—Whether You Are an Introvert, an Extrovert, or an Ambivert

Here is an important fact about our approach to substance use disorder treatment at Bel Aire Recovery Center: We offer personalized treatment because we know no two individuals are the same and there are no cookie-cutter solutions.

Located near Wichita, Kansas, Bel Aire Recovery Center provides evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders. We will see you through medically supervised detoxification, help you prepare for your recovery journey via our rehabilitation program, and provide ongoing support after your time in residential treatment comes to an end through our continuum of care. If the time has come to make a change in your life when it comes to drugs or alcohol, we are here to help.

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