Recovery can often make us feel like backing away and hiding out. We might start avoiding many of the people, places, and things that were part of our lives before we became sober. This is a natural urge, and in some ways very helpful. If certain friends or events were particularly triggering for you, it may be best to stay away. But that doesn’t mean you have to feel isolated or lonely.
The recovery process can sometimes feel extremely isolating. You may feel like no one understands you or your struggles. It might be difficult to be around certain people. In some ways, it can feel like you are fighting a silent battle all alone.
The key to thriving in sobriety is to acknowledge this feeling of isolation and determine healthy ways to move past it and reconnect. Try these methods for staying connected during recovery:
Sit with the isolation.
If you are feeling a tendency to isolate, sit with that feeling and try to learn from it. Perhaps you need some space to process without the input of others. Maybe triggers have been particularly strong and you are protecting yourself. Look deeper into the problem, what is guiding this isolation? If you find that this does reveal a deeper issue, spend some time alone in meditation, journaling, or creative practice to reconnect. If not, consider leaving the isolation behind and connecting with the community in a healthy way.
Schedule with your team.
We all need a team on our side. These are helpful people who root and cheer for us and understand the journey we are on. This may be a therapist, AA mentor, trusted friend, relative, or yoga teacher. Choose wisely, then use them. When you’re feeling isolated, reach out to these people who have your back.
Make sober friends.
Easier said than done? It might seem that way, but making friends in sobriety can be a lot easier than you think and might just be your saving grace. Connection will keep you strong, rooted, and powerful. When we shrink away and feel alone, this is when we start to lose faith in our ability to be strong.
Volunteering has so many benefits. Of course, your time and service will help whichever amazing organization you choose, but it also brings us closer to humanity itself. Volunteering will allow you to make friends with those who believe in the common cause, open your network, and give back to the community. Volunteering reinstalls our sense of purpose, pride, and connection with other human beings and the earth.
Don’t let loneliness get the best of you in recovery. You have come a long way, now it is time to thrive. Let yourself enjoy a little solitude, keep your friends close, and reach out into the community to find new ways to connect.