Addiction is a socially isolating disease; therefore, social support for recovery is an essential element for lasting recovery. However, addiction can be debilitating and create obstacles and a lack of motivation to reach out to others for comfort. Not connecting with loved and trusted ones only creates more physical and emotional distance. Understand that loneliness can become a common experience in both addiction and recovery.
When you're feeling alone, your thoughts tend to wander into dark places, and it is only when these dark places become too familiar that you begin to tread on thin ice. Loneliness can be physically and emotionally draining, which allows you to usher in a depressive mood. However, overcoming loneliness by learning how to cope not only stands to benefit you, it also helps those around you.
Avoid Lonely Thoughts
Loneliness tends to be more of a state of mind than a physical condition. The first step towards recovery is recognizing the problem and consciously acting to help change your state of mind. When you are in the thick of a state of loneliness, you might have a low opinion of yourself and your capabilities and limit your opportunities to seek change. The key is to take inventory of your thoughts. Start by keeping a daily log, whether in a written journal or an audio file, that you can playback. Notice times in the day with which you're feeling content and good, and notice the times where you are feeling lonely and uninspired.
Once you get an idea of how much time you are spending with negative thoughts and feelings, you can understand why you might feel this way. For example, does the onset of loneliness come on after interacting with social media? Does it come on after watching the news or watching television? Remember, these feelings are fleeting, and that in any given situation, such feelings are temporary. Having positive outlets such as a hobby or a safe place to meditate can remind you that things will get better. It all begins with recognizing your thoughts, then planning to combat these thoughts with positive beliefs and positive outlets.
You're Never Alone
You're never alone; you have family, friends, and peers that support you. However, you might believe that you burned all these bridges because you're a “bad” person. Remember, perception is not reality, and that most situations that might turn negative can again turn positive. Being lonely is not personal or unique to you; millions of people go through bouts of loneliness and depression. When they turn to self-medicating and unhealthy habits, it becomes a more significant obstacle to overcome.
If you believe that your friends, family, and peers don't want to talk to or support you, there are other options for help and support. At START UP RECOVERY, we maintain 24/7 admissions to eradicate the idea that anybody is truly alone without connection to the outside world. We remain present and available if only to talk to you over the phone. We understand the difficulties and thoughts that come with being lonely. Therefore, we provide a safe, judge-free setting where you can express yourself and rebuild the relationships in your life.
Identifying When Loneliness Turns Depression
Sometimes loneliness can lead to symptoms of depression. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a way to determine if your loneliness is becoming depression is to understand how loneliness and depression operate. Loneliness is a reaction to feeling isolated. Depression is a feeling that permeates all aspects of your life. Loneliness can occur as a reaction when you don't meet your specific needs, while depression is a generalized feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and dejection.
If you suspect that your loneliness is enabling depression, then that is a signal to reach out for help. Assess your feelings by utilizing mindfulness or meditation and work to get a deeper understanding of your feelings and thoughts to determine the next step to combating your loneliness or depression.
Distract and Grow Yourself
You might turn your loneliness into an excellent opportunity to explore new interests and passions. Pursuing classes, taking up art or music or writing are all terrific ways to help distract you from feeling lonely and create effective ways to expand on your talents. Pursuing such activities also helps improve your mood, self-confidence, and approach in meeting other people. You can also participate in solitary activities such as meditation.
Meditation can bring balance, helping to sync your mind, body, and soul. It can also help to teach you the difference between loneliness and solitude. Such activities help bring peace with yourself, even when you are alone.
If you are dealing with loneliness, depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental health issues, it is time to seek help. At START UP RECOVERY, we encourage individuals to seek help at any point in their recovery. Feeling lonely is as good of a reason as any to seek professional help. We understand that loneliness can bring you down and make life difficult to navigate; however, just talking with someone can help you develop a plan of action to start building a way to combat your loneliness. We strive to enable the best potential in all that seek us. We work to connect you with a network that will help get your voice heard and create a support system that will allow you the opportunity to reach your greatest personal and professional goals. It is never too late or too early in life to attain great success, just as it is never too late or too soon to seek help. To learn more, reach out to START UP RECOVERY today by calling us at 310-773-3809.