Addiction is a very isolating experience, both physically and emotionally. One’s thoughts can become polluted with images of addictive substances, scheduling when one can engage with them next, or expectantly looking forward to them as a coping strategy.
Others may find that they will physically isolate themselves in an effort to prevent others from seeing the extent of their use, and may not accept invitations to social gatherings where addictive substances would not be present or accepted. Isolation and loneliness can become prevalent parts of one’s daily life, and working to recontextualize the idea of loneliness can help each individual feel safe in their sobriety, even when alone.
The Dangers of Being Alone in Recovery
Being alone is not always a bad thing. Rather, getting away from others can be a necessity at times to manage one’s stress and stamina. However, being emotionally alone can be more dangerous, and it is important to address when being alone is a consequence of one’s decision or an emotional hurdle that needs to be addressed.
Feeling emotionally alone or isolated can have a number of debilitating effects. Most prominently, it can make an individual feel as if they have been betrayed by their supports, creating the idea of reaching out for help seemingly impossible. Without a feeling of support, it can be exceptionally difficult to continue managing one’s symptoms in recovery, leading to a compromised sense of self-worth and the deterioration of motivation to continue.
Emotional isolation can make one’s transformative strides feel unfairly insignificant, increasing the debilitating effects of stress and chances for relapse. Finding a way to remain emotionally connected even while physically alone is essential in helping keep one’s recovery and progress a championed part of one’s daily life.
Staying Emotionally Connected
Maintaining an emotional connection with others is possible even if an individual is physically alone. Finding strategies to continue nurturing these connections is essential for maintaining motivation and a focus on one’s sober goals and ambitions.
Creating an Environment
One’s environment plays a major role in their recovery. While filling this space with reminders of one’s past use can be debilitating to one’s recovery, adapting one’s personal space to reflect their desired changes and new relationships can provide an atmosphere of emotional connection and security.
Photo albums of one’s progress or on vacation with supports, AA chips or gifts received from others, or souvenirs of sober outings can be reminders of the opportunities created in one’s sobriety. They can also serve as a testament to the emotional connections and support that one has developed with others.
Keep a Phone Nearby
One’s phone is a powerful recovery tool as even the knowledge that one can contact a support if needed can provide a feeling of security. Having one’s supports by their phones in case of an urge or craving can be the safety net that one needs to continue employing grounding strategies and keep their focus on sobriety.
Family members, friends, one’s recovery facility, and even peers met in group therapy sessions can all be powerful supportive forces that promote a sense of community and acceptance of one’s transformation. Being able to hold an entire community in the palm of one’s hand can help a person feel connected to those who have been supportive through these difficult and changing times, even when they may not be physically present.
Keep an Influx of Self-Care Fuel
Self-care is the cornerstone to a healthy lifestyle, and being able to balance one’s energy regarding recovery, work, school, rest, and their own need for mental respite is essential. While being alone and feeling alone can be very different, it is still important to fill one’s time with enjoyable and relaxing activities to quell feelings of doubt, anxiety, depression, or isolation. Filling one’s environment with self-care outlets such as an art studio, collection of movies, video games, books, and more can all help an individual see their time alone as theirs by design, rather than feeling like they are isolated inherently.
Introduce an Animal
Pets can be the perfect companion for those in recovery, as they are filled with unconditional love and devoid of judgments about one’s past, appearance, or mistakes. While taking on a pet may not be possible for everyone, those who can care and provide for an animal often find that a feeling of companionship and trust is never too far away.
Dogs, birds, reptiles, cats, and more can all be a source of emotional connection even when other people may not be present. This can create a relationship that is fueled by one’s success and progress in their recovery and reflect the unconditional love and acceptance they are shown.
Finding emotional connection even when alone in one’s space is paramount throughout every stage of recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction or mental health disorders and are ready to take the first step into an effective and emotionally supportive and connected community, Everlast Recovery Centers can help you today. Located in Riverside, California, we offer a comfortable and home-like atmosphere for you to feel safe and explore your needs and goals while building upon essential coping strategies inside and outside of the recovery sphere. Your time with us is personalized to help address your needs in sobriety, with an interconnected and sympathetic community ready to help you begin your new, sober lifestyle. For more information on how we can help you build emotional connections even while alone or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.