Loneliness is familiar to everyone. Some people combat it by surrounding themselves with friends, family, or even books, music and art. Certainly using drugs and alcohol is a way to ward off feelings of loneliness; if others are using, to join them can make you feel like you are part of a group. But drug and alcohol use is, in many ways, a false sense of community because it’s founded on unhealthy and destructive behaviours.
For those who are recovering from addiction leaving private addiction rehab presents another battle with loneliness: choosing whether or not to socialise with others who use alcohol and drugs. Either way—socialising with others who are drinking, or opting not to—the situation is difficult and isolating. But there are several questions you can ask yourself in order to reframe your feelings of loneliness, and to recognise the community and personal strength that addiction treatment has provided you with.
Who am I?
Are you a friend? Are you a mother, a father, a brother or a sister? Are you a recovering addict? Write down several nouns and adjectives you would use to name and describe yourself.
Am I connected?
Consider all the people you would call in an emergency situation. Recall those who cheered you on during addiction treatment, and were so happy to see you working towards recovery in private addiction rehab. It’s also important to remember that relationships demand work—have you been there for those who have been there for you? Reach out, and don’t be afraid to reconnect.
Am I living in community?
Living as a recovering addict can be isolating when there are others around you who do not understand the chronic struggle of addiction. Surround yourself with a recovery support group, with counsellors and recovering addicts who can easily empathise with you and provide encouragement.
Are your talents being used toward a larger purpose?
It’s important that life have a sense of purpose; whether you consider your life’s work to be art, addiction treatment counselling, or being a great father, being good at something and working toward larger life goals motivates you to stay healthy and to be kind to your mind and body.