One of the characteristics of someone who suffers from drug and alcohol substance abuse is how they will isolate in order to feed their addiction without having to answer anyone. If you understand this concept of isolation because you had to maintain your high in this manner, then you know how difficult it can be to start socializing again in sobriety.
Without the comfort and loss of inhibition you receive under the influence, you may find yourself feeling socially awkward around others. For some, this could be short-lived, and for others, getting resocialized can take a while. During this time of social anxiety, you may feel like you are alone in a room full of people. They may even invite you to coffee or to go to a meeting with them, yet, you may feel like they do not really mean it, or that you might buckle under the stress of hanging out with someone one on one. Your sordid past could also be an issue making you feel like you cannot be a part of other groups because if they found out what you did before, they might “rightfully” judge you.
Whatever excuse you make, the common denominator is you. Not allowing yourself to be part of the fellowship where service is important for unity is really a disservice to yourself. Most people in recovery do feel awkward, uncomfortable, and overwhelmed being around others. They often do have to dig deep into their program to become part of the recovery community. Knowing that communication and community with others are important for a healthy lifestyle can begin with a few simple tips to stop isolating when what you really need is to be around others.
Find the reasons why you isolate.
Typically, fear and anxiety become part of the equation when someone becomes sober which keeps them from being around other people. Getting down to the causes and conditions that make you feel like you are not worthy can be the key to ending your solitude. Isolation is just a symptom of something bigger just like drugs and alcohol are also a symptom. Finding the reason why you are opting out of being social could be the breakthrough to many other emotional fears that you have been experiencing.
Find someone to talk about your isolation.
Whether you are talking to your sponsor or a therapist, talking about why you are isolating can give you insight as to what is really going on with you. Every human being is meant to be around other human beings and that includes you! Discussing what you are afraid of with someone that you trust can get you to open up and face them head-on. Understanding that your anxiety is what is holding you back along with labeling the specific anxieties you are encountering will give the why of what is blocking your social capabilities.
Find people that you relate to.
The most important thing in finding a group of people to hang around is the ability to relate. You may find yourself wanting to be around people who you want to be like or feel obligated to coexist with such as friends, coworkers, and family. With these types of people, you may hold yourself to a higher standard than what you can really do. When this happens, you may feel like you can never live up to their, or your, expectations which cause the fearfulness to ensue. You do not have to give up those relationships, but you should make sure that you have a good mixture of the people who are already in your life and those who relate to your current situations.
If you are a stay-at-home-dad, you would want to be around other dads who can relate to the difficulties of being of a father. If you are a business professional, you would want to be around other like-minded pros who can relate to the struggles of the ups and downs of the business world. Most importantly, if you are battling drug and alcohol addiction, you should be around people who are working the 12-Steps, going recovery meetings, and trying emphatically to connect to their Higher Power. Talking about the past trials of your substance abuse and relating to the solution of how to stay sober one day at a time can make a huge difference in your recovery. Building a recovery tribe can be the very thing that can save your life.
The biggest reason to stop isolating is that loneliness is not feasible for long term sobriety. You need people to encourage you, to edify you, and to believe in you, and then you get to return that favor back to others. Recovery is a beautiful cycle of change which will include your isolation if you choose it.
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