Loneliness is not healthy for anyone and it is especially unhealthy for people in recovery. Feeling lonely can lead to depression and anxiety. It can make you feel like it doesn’t really matter if you stay sober or not. You may feel bored. Worst of all, loneliness is often connected to a deep need that’s not being met, and people often try to meet that need with drugs and alcohol. If you are in recovery, finding real connections with other people is crucial. Here are some ways to do that.
Be patient. Real connection takes time. Whether you want to make new sober friends, or reconnect with people you may have alienated during addiction, friendships take time to develop. It may take months to find some people you click with. That’s fine. It takes as long as it takes.
Go to 12-step meetings. This is the surest way to find people who understand your struggle. People often make new sober friends at meetings, but even if you don’t hit it off with anyone, you know the people there understand and will support you. Everyone at meetings has the same goal. At the very least, you can go listen and it will help you realize you aren’t alone.
See a therapist. Meetings are great for connecting with people with a similar plight, but they are mainly set up for supporting people through addiction-related issues. Loneliness may be much bigger than that. It often stems from being abused or neglected during childhood. A child in such an environment grows up feeling anxious about being loved and accepted and those feelings persist into adulthood. A therapist can help you work through those issues and help you develop some strategies for forming meaningful relationships. If you just spend more time around people without addressing your underlying anxiety, you are likely to end up feeling alone in the crowd.
Get a dog. If you feel like you’re in a stable enough place to properly take care of a dog, it could help you meet more people. A dog will like you no matter what. Also, a dog is an instant icebreaker. You meet the neighbors and they talk to your dog like she understands. Next thing you know, you’re invited to barbecues. If you don’t quite feel up to taking responsibility for an animal, you might consider volunteering to walk dogs for a shelter. You’ll feel like a superhero whenever you have to explain to someone, “Oh, he’s not mine. I volunteer at the no-kill shelter. Hey, I think he likes you!”
Take up a sport. Whether you take an exercise class at the gym, join a running group, or join some kind organized team, getting involved in a sport is a good way to meet new people and get some exercise at the same time. This is a good option if you don’t really like chatting. You can spend meaningful time with others without having to say much.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463