On a day-by-day basis, sobriety is challenging. When the bigger picture comes into the frame, it can feel like a lifetime of sobriety is too much to handle. Strategies for coping with sobriety, and loneliness, can help shore up those resources for when times get tough.
Even when the world seems to shun or shame people with addiction (still), it is okay to be okay with who you are right now. Being comfortable in the skin your in is most important for sobriety. You may not feel you belong in the ‘old world’ with people who were addicted to drugs or alcohol with you, but you can still fight back against it and build new relationships. It is not good to wallow in pity or pain and isolate. It is better to seek out hope and healing.
Learning to cope with backlash in society is part of being in recovery. Not everyone will be happy or excited that you are in recovery. This public rejection, sometimes by loved ones, can feel difficult to swallow. The ostracism can be dangerous for recovery, and psychologically may fuel intense feelings of isolation or depression. Everyone has a fundamental need from birth to be recognized, nurtured, and accepted. When this need is thwarted, it can activate the brain’s anterior cingulate cortex, the region which registers physical pain. Coping with pain varies person to person, but the stress of pain can push people to develop irrational coping mechanisms. If the exclusion goes on for a long period of time, depression and feelings of helplessness may result, which prompt relapse down the road.
Coping with these issues can be difficult but with some coping mechanisms in place, a person can overcome the issues:
- Tap into support networks. Move onto another group where you can be accepted if you feel what you’re doing doesn’t work.
- Focus on all you have to offer, including strengths or voicing talents in the mirror. Find ways of building self-worth.
- Lead by example. Silent treatment is not the answer. Be sure to lead kids or people in your life by example and demonstrate positive coping mechanisms.
The best way to reduce stigma of feeling alone is to create space to be with others that understand the experience of addiction and recovery. There are other ways, including hobbies and creative endeavors which can help provide spaces for connection. It is good to spend time alone, meditating, and processing your personal recovery experience but don’t get caught up in spending so much time alone you focus on that entirely. Being alone too much can lead to loneliness and depression, which can drag down your recovery.
The best way to support your recovery is by getting help for addiction. Admitting the need for help is hard but worthwhile. At Serenity Oaks, we provide a 5 week program to kickstart your recovery on the right food. We provide medical support, detox, and other tools to help you grow in sobriety. Call us to find out how we can help you get started: 844-720-6847.