When addicts and alcoholics enter addiction treatment, they receive built-in support through their treatment center. For the duration of their stay in drug and alcohol rehab, they know that the staff and other clients will support their recovery. Upon leaving this environment, many find themselves struggling with a sudden onset of loneliness. The stark contrast between living in treatment and seeking social support in the outside world causes them to feel out of place. If they do not deal with these feelings appropriately, they may discover how easily loneliness in addiction recovery can lead to relapse.
How Loneliness Can Lead to a Relapse
One of the reasons dual diagnosis rehab facilities have become so common is that many addicts and alcoholics suffer from co-occurring mood disorders. According to studies on comorbidity, depression and bipolar disorders rank among the most common. Those who suffer from these disorders naturally engage in more negative self-talk than others. When experiencing loneliness in addiction recovery, the tendency toward self-derogation will become especially high. If the sufferer continues to isolate without anyone around to challenge these thoughts, their likelihood of using will increase.
Even those who do not suffer from co-occurring disorders sometimes relapse when struggling with loneliness in addiction recovery. This primarily occurs among those who became addicted to the social aspect of their chosen substance. An alcoholic, for instance, may find it much easier to meet people at the bar than anywhere else. Likewise, a drug addict may be accustomed to making friends while high and may feel uncomfortable trying to socialize when sober. Addicts and alcoholics must overcome their reservations about socializing if they wish to prevent loneliness and isolation from stunting their recovery.
Fighting Loneliness in Addiction Recovery
To clarify, substance users who have difficulty socializing with people when not using are not necessarily socially inept. Many of them may have excelled in social situations earlier in life. After years of addiction, however, they need to retrain this skill. It becomes an essential component of their relapse prevention program. Every time they experience loneliness in addiction recovery, they may doubt themselves and dive further into isolation. Instead, they must challenge their self-doubt and work harder to build up their support network.
A 2015 study on addiction and social identity suggests that feeling like part of a group can strongly reinforce a person’s recovery. In the same way that many addicts and alcoholics use for social reasons, they may work harder to maintain their recovery for the sake of keeping their support network.
This means that the best cure for loneliness in addiction recovery is simply to deepen one’s connections to their support group. Become involved, help make coffee at meetings, and stay in contact with friends in recovery. A 2010 study suggests that the key to benefiting from social support in recovery is simply to maintain consistency. Furthermore, according to this same study, those who maintain the most consistent support networks are those who build their support in addiction treatment.
Seeking Support in Addiction Treatment
Addicts and alcoholics looking for support need look no further than Aspire Health Network. The staff at our facilities understand the importance of fighting loneliness in addiction recovery. When you enter a facility such as Oceanview Treatment Center, you will be put in the hands of a medical staff and therapeutic team who work day and night to ensure the well-being of every client. Not only will they work individually with each patient to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, but the patients provide each other with additional support and mutual understanding.
With Aspire Health Network, nobody has to recover alone. For more information on our programs and how they can help you build support, please contact us today.