Loneliness Is the Enemy of Sobriety
In a recent blog entry, we discussed the various ways in which staying single in the early days of recovery can be a good idea. Rushing into a romantic entanglement can add complications to an already challenging situation and is often not the best strategy for maintaining your hard-won sobriety.
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We stand by that advice. But while romantic relationships might not work to your advantage in the early days of sobriety, we want to emphasize the importance of building and maintaining other kinds of relationships that actually will provide support for your recovery. These sorts of relationships can arise from attending recovery meetings, cultivating a strong support system of friends and family members, and expanding your social circle.
These things are essential for a number of reasons, but for our purposes here, we will focus on just one: loneliness is the enemy of sobriety.
The Lows of Loneliness
If you are in recovery from a substance use disorder, spending too much time alone can pose a danger for a number of reasons. You may find yourself struggling mightily with cravings while you are by yourself. You could spend too much time replaying the past and wallowing in regrets. Or you could find yourself worrying about the future and whether you will be able to stay sober. Wrestling with cravings, ruminating about the past and your regrets, and speculating about things that might go wrong in the future all can threaten your sobriety.
Take (12) Steps Away From Loneliness
The importance of community for those in recovery is one of the many reasons that attending 12-Step (or other recovery program) meetings is such a good idea. Your recovery community can provide crucial support in no small part because everyone is working toward the same goal. Spending time regularly with others who truly understand what you are going through is an effective way to combat loneliness and to shore up your sobriety.
Focus on Friends & Family
The odds are good that you have a strong sense of who your true friends are and which members of your family will always have your back. These are the people with whom you have close connections that are not built around drugs or alcohol. They are not just there for you in an emergency. These are the folks who will come over to play board games or invite you over to watch the big game or are always up for a chat—the people who just make day-to-day life better. By doing so, they support your sobriety.
We will note here that you may have to end some relationships with people who became your friends while you were using drugs or alcohol. These individuals may be good people at heart, and you may enjoy their company. But if they are still drinking or using, they are not the kind of friends who can continue to be part of your life. It can be difficult to let them go, but it is necessary to keep your sobriety intact.
Put Yourself Out There
One of the things you may discover when you regain your sobriety is that you have more time for activities—time that was formerly lost to your habit. Taking advantage of that found time to build new connections is another fantastic way to prevent loneliness from creeping in to undermine your resolve.
And there are plenty of options to consider. You could find a volunteer opportunity, get more involved with your faith community, join a friendly sports community (or a seriously competitive one if that is more your speed), participate in the local arts scene in any number of ways, find a tabletop gaming community to join, and so much more. As long as the activity is something you enjoy—and drugs and alcohol are not a part of it—you will be protecting your sobriety by putting yourself out there and trying something new.
We Will Always Be Here For You
At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we understand the ways in which substance use disorders can disrupt your life—including your relationships. We also understand that strong relationships lie at the heart of any attempt to regain and maintain your sobriety.
Our relationship with you will be grounded in respect. We will listen intently to you and create a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs. Throughout the treatment process—from medically supervised detox, to our robust rehab program, and on through our commitment to a continuum of care—you will always feel supported and never feel judged. We will leverage our expertise and experience to help you reclaim your life.