“Loneliness is dangerous. It’s addictive. Once you see how peaceful it is, you don’t want to deal with people.” – Hedonist Poet.

Every sober living home for women explains the dangers of isolation and loneliness in early recovery. It’s not limited to early sobriety; the truth is that loneliness is deeply rooted in addiction. In fact, loneliness has been linked to the extreme cases of internet addiction [1] and game addiction in Asian countries [2]. And that’s just a few examples of the most recent studies linking addiction to loneliness.

There are thousands of studies that prove that a support system and human connection are vital to a healthy human experience [3] [4]. Group counselling doesn’t sound so bad now does it. You can rate the strength of your social network in this Harvard social test.

Steps to Effectively Deal with Loneliness in Recovery

  1. Understand how loneliness affects your recovery.
  2. Recognize how loneliness poisons your mind.
  3. Take initiative.
  4. Learn Optimism.

1 – Understand Your Loneliness

Studies have proven that on average, women are lonelier than men [5]. It’s so important to ensure you have a strong social support system during recovery, to ensure you don’t relapse. Loneliness is one of the most challenging aspects of early recovery.

Loneliness is just another signal that your body and mind are in need of something essential for your own survival. Like hunger, loneliness is unpleasant and forces you to take action. In the past you have tried to stop that unpleasant uncomfortable lonely feeling by indulging in impulsive, addictive behavior.

But nothing will help you conquer that feeling like actual human interaction. Understand that when you are feeling lonely you should recognize that your body, your mind, and your soul are crying out for something.

2 – Recognize the Loneliness Poison

“The best way to understand loneliness is to examine some of the ways you experience it.” – Make Your Last Relapse the Last by USDrugRehabCenters.com [6].

When we are lonely for too long or we don’t have the emotional capabilities to deal with loneliness, we act out in unhealthy ways. Loneliness in recovery is similar to hunger, when we are starving and panicking, we will make poor decisions.

Understand how loneliness affect you and recognize that loneliness is likely making you act in irrational ways. Use those insights to calm yourself and examine your actions from a place of rationality. Would you be saying these things or acting this way if you had a friend or family member with you?

3 – Act

The best way to overcoming loneliness and isolation in recovery is to visit your support groups. The success of Alcoholics Anonymous and support groups is firmly based in the feeling of community. Visit your groups.

However, it has been proven that women place much more value on the quality of one-on-one relationships [7]. We have all had that girl friend that we have told everything, that friendship that means so much to us. We need something similar now.

It could be a girlfriend, a family member of a romantic relationship, be sure to confide in that person. Isolation in early recovery is common, keep that in mind and avoid it.

4 – Learn Optimism

Optimism can be learned, it really can. It’s not easy, but than again, is anything that’s really worth it easy?

Sadness in recovery is so much worse. Alcoholics are lonely, recovery addicts are just as lonely, and it’s tough to find friends when you feel terrible. It’s a viscous cycle.

Learn optimism, be the kind of girl that you would want to be around. Be happy, be carefree and optimistic. It’s easiest and most difficult challenge you can give yourself. See out learned optimism exercise and try it or yourself.

 

Sources:

[1]: Net Addiction – Cyber Psychology.

[2]: CU in Hong Kong – Gratifications, Loneliness, Leisure Boredom and Self-esteem as Predictors of SNS-Game Addiction and Usage Pattern among Chinese College Students.

[3]: NCBI – Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy.

[4]: Harvard Review – The Health Benefits of Strong Relationships.

[4]: Psychology Today – Why Loneliness Is a Trap and How to Break Free.

[5]: Sage Pub – Gender Differences in Loneliness.

[6]: USDrugRehabCenters – Make Your Last Relapse the Last.

[7]: NCBI – Gender Differences in Predicting Loneliness from Social Network Characteristics.

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