Loneliness in Sobriety
Recovering from addiction is a process that takes some time to adjust to. For many people, it means giving up friendships with people they used to drink or use drugs with and finding a new community that is supportive and caring. This community-building takes time, like many things in life. You may find that loneliness creeps up from time to time to rear its ugly head while you’re new to recovery. How can you cope with this feeling, and is it normal?
Yes, Loneliness Can Be Normal
Especially today, when we’re all facing the COVID-19 pandemic, loneliness is a powerful yet common/normal emotion. Leaving behind your old life will be hard at first, but you’ll soon have more friends. As a person in recovery, however, you have more options than you used to. Addiction treatment will help you build new friends who also can function as a supportive community.
A supportive community is a significant part of being sober. Once you’ve connected with others in recovery, you’re not alone anymore. You also have the benefit of other people caring about you and offering experience, strength, and hope when you need help and advice.
In recovery, you’ll need to surround yourself with people who understand where you’re coming from. You may feel lonely, even when other people surround you. Again, this is normal, but coping with it can be difficult.
Coping with Loneliness
Coping with loneliness means putting yourself out there and connecting with others. In early recovery, this can be hard, but you can do it. Here are some ways to start to change lonely feelings:
- Learn to be alone. Everyone has to spend some time alone in life, so it’s crucial to begin to enjoy your own company. Spend time nurturing yourself; take walks or ride your bike, read books, or watch a movie on Netflix. Be alone doesn’t have to be lonely.
- Rebuild relationships. You may have hurt family or friends during your addiction, but as you stay sober longer, you’ll be able to reconnect. Begin by only getting and staying in touch. (Don’t ask for things! Just have genuine conversations.) Ask your sponsor for help making amends to loved ones.
- Participate in group therapy. When you’re in treatment, you get out of it what you put into it. Really listen and try to connect with others in your groups. Offer to help others in need (as long as it is safe for your recovery.)
- Acknowledge your feelings. It’s okay to feel bad, sad, or lonely every once in a while. These feelings will pass. Work on bettering yourself today. If lonely feelings linger, or you start to feel depressed, reach out to your therapist or sponsor.
- Be a friend to others. If people aren’t calling, texting, or sending messages to YOU, then you can reach out to them. Send positive messages to others in your support group. Ask them how they are doing. Send pick-me-up gifs or videos. Giving support and friendship will help you also get support and friendship for yourself.
- Learn some new hobbies or interests. This is also something you can learn to do by yourself. Take an online class, buy an adult coloring book, or join a socially-distanced running group.
Living With Others in Sobriety
Recovery is precious and a gift you must continue to work on keeping. Living with others in sobriety can help you keep the focus on your needs, living life sober, and working toward your individual goals. At Sober Living San Diego, you’ll find a community of others who can offer not only a home but lasting relationships in recovery. Call us at 760-216-2077 to learn more about what we offer.
Accepting powerlessness isn’t limited to being powerless over your addiction to alcohol and drugs. In recovery, you’ll learn that you are also powerless over other people, places, and things. Right now, in the age of the coronavirus, this is more important to learn than ever.
You can’t always predict what is going to happen in life. Nobody seemed to suspect that something like the COVID-19 pandemic would happen.
If you’re having trouble accepting you're powerless, you’re not alone. There is a lot of pain in the world because of the virus. Many people right now are coping with job loss. Some people are sick or know somebody who has been ill. People have been laid off in massive amounts, too. Job loss can cause money problems, anxiety, and even affect a person’s self-worth. You may feel worried, angry, or afraid of what’s happening in the world.
Acknowledging Your Fears
Many people who have lived with addiction have trouble admitting they’re afraid. When you were using, you probably used your drug of choice to quell your feelings of anxiety or fear.
Suppressing your fears can cause problems. You may act out in anger or find yourself feeling depressed or isolated.
You have fears, but you are powerless over what is going to happen in the world around you tomorrow. Learning to recognize your emotions and name them is essential. You may be afraid of getting sick or losing somebody. If you don't talk about it, the anxiety can stop you in your tracks.
You’ll find that other people have had the same fears and have continued to stay sober despite it all. Ask other people what kind of concerns they have, too. Write down your fears in a journal every morning and try to leave them in the book once you've started the rest of your day.
Taking Life A Day At A Time
You're powerless over what is happening in the world right now. The good news is that what the world is going through won't last forever. With the coronavirus, the medical community and the government seem to make strides on a day-to-day basis. That’s a good direction for everyone else to keep in mind, too. One day at a time can help you keep things in perspective. There's no way to plan for things you can't control.
The economic problems won’t last forever, either. Jobs may change, but they will come back. Nobody knows precisely what the future will bring, but for now, it seems that there are many public officials and private companies that are trying to shape that future.
Focus on what you're doing today for yourself and your recovery. Focus on helping the people you love or are checking in with.
What You DO Have Power Over
Right now, your recovery is more important than ever. Staying sober will help you make better decisions. Choose to connect with people in recovery often. Text, call on the phone, or video chat. If you’re in a city or state with a stay-at-home order, don’t risk your health by breaking the rules. Go to online 12-step meetings, either hosted by your area or the Online AA Intergroup.
Take care of your physical health and mental health. If you take medications, make sure you get refills and take them as you're supposed to. Eat three meals and try to get up on time every day.
If you have lost your job, it may be a while before there are more jobs available. Many people in the service, hospitality, retail, and manufacturing industries have been furloughed. Do what you can to take care of yourself financially. If you are unemployed there are options for you. Check online for unemployment and stimulant packages that you can apply for online. Take some time to look at your options. Everyone needs help sometimes. If you have bills you need to pay, but cannot, call the companies and ask them about your options.
Make sure you have a plan of who to call and where to go if you get sick, and keep in touch with people you care about or are worried about. Take precautions such as wearing a face mask when you're going out. Stay home as much as possible.
If you’re overwhelmed, reach out for help. Call your sponsor or a friend in recovery. Times are tough, and connecting with other people in recovery can help you feel supported. You can help support them, too.
Sober Living Can Help
Sober living situations are an important part of the journey for many people in recovery. People who choose it often say it is an essential bridge between treatment and life out in the world alone. Sober housing has structure and support built into it, and there are fellowship and camaraderie. You’ll be a part of a true community that puts your recovery before everything else. Learn more about your options by calling us 760-216-2077.
What are you to get the most out of recovery right now? It may seem like a strange question given the era of COVID-19 and the many challenges everyone may face in the next few months. Indeed, it has been a difficult couple of weeks for many people across America. There are many challenges ahead for all of us. While it seems like a time of uncertainty, one thing for sure is that a lot of people have had to learn to adapt quickly to a new way of life. Changing is how we, as human beings, cope with difficulties and things we have no power over.
Accepting the Here and Now
You’re not alone in thinking that it’s a problematic era we have all been thrust into. There's a lot of bad news going on. It’s okay to be angry, frightened, or sad. No one is immune to feeling vulnerable. This is what being human, and feeling your feelings, is all about.
Staying sober is a journey. There is no destination, and nobody can say for sure what is around the corner. Life is the same way. You can only accept your feelings, acknowledge them, and continue to trudge on with the help of others.
Tools to Get You Through the Day
There are plenty of tools to help you strengthen your recovery and stay focused on today. In times like we’re going through today, it’s more important than ever to take life a day at a time.
Here are some ideas to help you stay centered at home:
- Read and study 12-step literature. If you’re not sure where to start, check the index of your Big Book or other readings for acceptance.
- Keep a “worry box” where you write down all of your worries at the beginning of the day. Then place those worries in the box for your higher power to worry about.
- Talk to people in your support network. Don’t focus only on yourself; friendship is a two-way street.
- Consider having small video 12-step meetings online. Software such as Zoom or Microsoft Meetings has worked for many people who want to host their own, more intimate gatherings.
- Practice being gentle with yourself and use self-care at least once a day. That means doing something you love or that soothes you, such as a long bath, a short walk, or just chilling and listening to music.
- Network with others in recovery online. There are Facebook groups, for example focused on 12-step recovery.
- Turn off the news. The news may seem like a necessity, but you don’t need to get phone notifications all day when they usually only highlight upsetting events. You can set aside a half-hour to read the news you choose without being bombarded every day.
- Watch uplifting or inspirational movies and documentaries through a streaming service. Don’t watch videos with graphic drug use or other triggering images. (When you look at the rating for the movie, it will tell you why. Drug use is often mentioned as a reason for an R or PG-13 film.)
- Practice meditation or breathing exercises. If you don’t know how to start with something like this, there are many free videos online.
Remember, this too shall pass. It can be challenging to sit still or walk through fear. Staying sober is still your most important priority. Learning to do so will help you grow and adapt in life. Don’t suffer in silence; call your sponsor or a friend when you’re feeling low.
Consider Sober Housing
Many people find that after treatment, they’re not ready to be out on their own. Sober housing is a great way to land on your feet and begin building a new future. Learn more about how it works and why it benefits you by contacting us at 760-216-2077.