One of the biggest triggers for addicts and recovering addicts is loneliness. Whether you’re in recovery or not, loneliness is an experience that can send many people back to using drugs or drinking.
Sometimes, when a person experiences emotional pain and they feel alone in their problems that might also create an experience of loneliness. And this can be especially true if you’ve separated from friends and family to go into rehab. Or if you’re if you’re living alone, without a community of people to support you. This feeling of loneliness is very commonly one that draws men and women to want to get high or drink. Others might turn to substance use, such as marijuana or painkillers to try to feel better.
If you’re in recovery, there are many ways to alleviate loneliness. You don’t have to turn to drugs or alcohol to feel like you’re not alone. Instead, there are many people who are available to support you when you’re in recovery.
In fact, the support of others can promote a feeling of connection, being a part of a group, and feeling welcome among others who are experiencing the same challenges. Finding a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), seeking the support of a therapist, making amends with family members and friends where it’s possible, and giving back can significantly support sobriety.
Plus, the AA community recognizes that loneliness is one of the primary triggers for relapse. Their acronym HALT suggests when you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, you’re vulnerable to substance use. And so, in order to stay sober, someone in recovery can avoid certain triggers by tending to their physical and emotional well being.
One of the great things about recovery from addiction is that you’re immediately in touch with a number of people who are in your same shoes. You can make friendships at AA meetings, at your sober living home, or at a community event supporting sobriety. Friendships are readily available and can help a person avoid feelings of loneliness.
Ways to Alleviate Loneliness
In summary, here are ways you can find friendships, experience community, and have healthy connections with others when you’re in recovery.
- Attend AA meetings.
- Talk to others at your sober living home.
- Attend a community event supporting sobriety.
- Participate in a support group.
- Seek the support of a therapist.
- Make amends with sober family members.
- Restore old friendships where it’s possible.
- Give back to your community.
- Look for work – coworkers can become great friends.
- Go back to school – classmates can also become good friends.
These are suggestions to show that loneliness doesn’t have to be your experience in recovery. There are many ways to have healthy interactions with others. Sure, if you’re just getting back on your feet and you feel that you have few friends, it might feel awkward at first to spend time with someone you don’t know well. But over time, if you’re willing to hang in there, the sober friendships you make now might turn into long-time friends.