How to Deal with Loneliness in Sobriety/Recovery

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Many programs and resources for individuals in recovery highlight the importance of building a strong support group or network that can help you maintain your sobriety.

While it is key to surround yourself with individuals who will support your sobriety, it’s just as important to learn how to appreciate being alone.

Substance abuse can be caused or worsened by feelings of loneliness or boredom. Individuals struggling with addiction may use drugs or alcohol to cope with feeling like they’re cut off from their loved ones, or society in general.

Addiction treatment programs may also strongly suggest that people in recovery remove themselves from their old social circles; getting rid of the “people, places, and things” associated with your addiction can be a good step toward stay sober in the long term. However, this can contribute to feelings of loneliness as well, especially when a person is new to their recovery journey.

You may not look forward to spending time alone, and you may even feel self-conscious or anxious about it. The best way to overcome feelings of isolation is to practice spending time by yourself while doing enjoyable activities. There are plenty of activities a person can do alone to get more comfortable with their own thoughts, emotions, and company.

7 Things to do When You Feel Lonely

  • Take yourself out for lunch or dinner at a restaurant. Dining alone isn’t entirely uncommon, and you may find that you’re more able to appreciate what you’re eating when you’re focused on your meal, rather than conversation or entertaining others.
  • Go for a hike. If you’re hiking alone, it’s best to make sure you’re on a well-marked trail that is appropriate for your skill level. Solo hikes provide a great opportunity to truly appreciate nature.
  • Go to a museum. Visiting museums with others can make it difficult to really explore the pieces or exhibits that interest you; when you’re by yourself, you’re free to move at your own pace and learn more.
  • See a movie. If you go during the daytime or on a weekday, you are likely to not be the only one in the theater who is seeing a movie by themselves. You might choose to see a foreign film or something unconventional that your friends or family may not be interested in. Take the chance to sit back, relax, and be entertained.
  • Cook a fresh and healthy meal to enjoy by yourself. You can start the process by going grocery shopping and treating yourself to higher-end ingredients, if possible.
  • Indulge in a spa day. Going for a pedicure, manicure, or massage can provide an opportunity to enjoy some peace and quiet while feeling pampered, making the prospect of time alone more relaxing than stressful.
  • Go to the park. Take along a good book, a sketch pad, or an instrument and enjoy the outdoors and some time alone.

Find any activity you enjoy and try it out – by yourself! You may be surprised by how much you come to enjoy and appreciate spending time alone.

Looking for more information and resources to support your addiction recovery? Check out more of our recovery blog content, or visit our recovery resources page.

Written by Rebecca Jones, Marketing Specialist

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