Beating Loneliness in Addiction Recovery
By: Cumberland Heights
Addiction is a disease of isolation. When you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the connection between you and your substance of choice eclipses relationships with friends and family members. After treatment, you may realize that the early stages of recovery feel a bit isolating themselves; while everyone else is going through their same routines, you’re living life in a completely new way. Read on to learn how to overcome that loneliness and build your own sober support network in early recovery.
Thriving in Early Recovery
While in treatment, you benefited from a highly structured, scheduled approach to each day. Between group meetings and the communal living environment, you probably interacted with many more people than you do on a regular basis. It can be easy to assume this level of social interaction and support will naturally carry over into “the real world” once you return home. The good news is that you can continue to engage in a group environment; it just takes a bit of effort.
Finding ways to connect with others is the best method to keep loneliness at bay after treatment. That’s why building a sober support network is one of the most critical tasks for those who are new to recovery. If you’re not sure where to start, your treatment center is an excellent resource. Many centers offer alumni events and meetings that allow people to keep in touch with their peers. For example, the Alumni Association of Cumberland Heights hosts weekly open AA-format meetings each Friday at our River Road campus, which allow current patients to meet alumni and begin creating their support network prior to discharge. We also arrange alumni trips to Nashville Predators games, outdoor excursions and luncheons.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to begin seeking out alcohol- and drug-free groups in your area. Alumni activities and AA meetings can be a great starting point to meet others in recovery, but they’re not the be-all, end-all of sober support. Many cities have book clubs, adventure groups or other regular gatherings for people who don’t drink or use drugs. By incorporating these activities into your schedule, you’ll be well-equipped to overcome the isolation of early recovery.
How to Overcome Isolation
It’s imperative to attend regular support meetings after your time in treatment has concluded. Talking about your experiences in early recovery can allow others to offer helpful advice, and you will create your own sober support network that provides structure, friendship and accountability. Look up AA and NA meetings in your area to find a group that works with your schedule.
Addiction creates wedges between yourself and others, whether through isolation or past transgressions. Where appropriate, consider reaching out to friends, family and other loved ones impacted by your substance use. By demonstrating your commitment to change, you may restore relationships you thought were long gone.
Learn Something New
People in active addiction tend to dedicate any free time to substance use, which leads to isolation. When that is removed, it can be challenging to fill your days. Consider joining a club or taking classes to learn an instrument, painting technique or exercise routine for an easy way to meet others with common interests.
Donate Your Time
Giving back has seemingly boundless advantages; not only does it improve your mood and benefit the community, but it is a great way to meet others. By volunteering at a soup kitchen, for example, you have the opportunity to speak with those who you are serving and those who are working alongside you.
Turn to the Internet
There are countless online communities available for individuals in recovery. Whether you seek out support forums or sites providing daily affirmations, prioritizing your recovery through these services can be a helpful supplement to in-person meetings.
Support at Every Stage of Recovery
If you’re feeling lonely after treatment, Cumberland Heights can help. Our extensive alumni support network and aftercare programming are amazing resources for building your fellowship in early recovery. We offer fun, recovery-friendly, community-building activities for alumni such as ice-skating, an alumni ropes course day, white water rafting, canoeing the Harpeth River and more.
Our upcoming alumni events for the month of March 2020 include a service opportunity at Hands On Nashville, ice skating with alumni and a coffee break at the Mount Juliet Starbucks. You can see our full list of upcoming alumni events on our website or by joining our private alumni Facebook group.
To learn more about how Cumberland Heights can help you overcome isolation, contact us today.