Handling Loneliness In Recovery

Posted on Posted in HER Blog

Handling Loneliness In Recovery

FullSizeRender

<  >

The first time I heard someone say that addiction is a disease of loneliness I knew exactly what they were talking about. The years I spent using were a truly lonely time in my life. But it wasn’t just my using years that were lonely. Loneliness plagued me in my early years. True, I had some lonely circumstances. I was the “problem child” of the family.

<  >

We moved around so much, it was hard for me to make friends. I was always the new kid, which is a lonely place to be. I wore hand me downs and I was socially awkward, which didn’t help. I wanted so desperately to be liked. I often lied and engaged in approval-seeking behaviors to try and make friends. These tactics frequently backfired, only serving to set me apart from the rest of the kids and make me a target of bullying and teasing.

<  >

Loneliness In Addiction And Recovery

<  >

Over the years, my addiction and my loneliness grew. Nothing I did seemed to chase it away, for long. Not getting married and having kids, not having lots of friends, not being socially acceptable or spending time with family. Interestingly, as much as I had always longed for friendship, companionship and approval, when I did finally get those things, I had a habit of shoving them away! Finally at the end of my addiction my family staged an intervention confronting me with the reality of my disease and the cost it was having on everyone involved.

<  >

When I got into recovery, things seemed to change profoundly. I suddenly found what I’d been looking for all along! It wasn’t about approval, or having people like me, It was a feeling of being content with myself that finally chased loneliness away.

<  >

Working the steps and sharing my experience, strength and hope with other people in my recovery community gave me a newfound purpose and a sense of community that I had been looking for my whole life. Basically, I now had everything that I was searching for. I finally found acceptance, love and support. I had found my tribe.

<  >

Loneliness Still Found Me

<  >

Getting sober doesn’t solve all your problems. It solves the physical addiction but your are left with all of the rest. You have to learn how to live again. How to face, feel and process your emotions. Life on life’s terms is still a challenge, and I still had plenty of work to do. I was still awkward and uncomfortable with myself but that changed with the work I was doing in therapy and with working the steps.

<  >
Over time, I became busy with work and home. I had less time for social activities. I found myself spending more time alone. I felt like I was drifting away from my support group. We all had created busy lives and started to lose touch. The daily demands of living had started to interfere with my program.

<  >

You hear that in recovery you shouldn’t let yourself get hungry, angry, lonely or tired. This sounds silly, but it’s about self-care. The busier I got, the less I cared for myself, and this had an impact on my self-esteem.

<  >

When my self-esteem started to plummet, I began to notice how lonely I really felt. It gnawed at me, but I told myself I was fine. I wanted to reach out to my friends, but for some reason I just couldn’t do. I think that what was really going on was I didn't want to ask for help, or say that I was lonely.

<  >

One night, I decided to go to a meeting. I hoped it would make me feel better, but I came home feeling worse. I felt so out of place! I found myself avoiding people. I fed myself the lie that no one really wanted to see me anyway. I found myself judging the people at the meeting and getting irritated.

<  >

Back at home, the loneliness grew, and started to consume me again. It began to feed me all the lies I told myself. That I really didn’t deserve what I had, that I was unlovable, that people really didn’t like me they were just pretending to be nice. It went like this for weeks. Finally one night after being in so much emotional pain I wanted to just give up and give in. I wanted to use, I knew that would take away the hurt.

<  >

It’s An Inside Job

<  >

Suddenly I was sharply awakened by the reality of where I was, and what I had been planning on doing. I needed to do something right away or I was going to throw away all the hard work I had put into creating a new life for myself. I realized that I had to do something and started with the person I still trusted: My sponsor.

<  >

I called her and I explained where I was at and what I had almost done. She surprised me. Instead of telling me I told you so or this is what happens when you put other things in front of sobriety. She listened to me. After I was done she asked me if I would be willing to go to a meeting with her. I did. Now it was not all sunshine and unicorns but I had made a step back in the right direction. That’s was what mattered.

<  >

While loneliness can feel like an outside circumstance, its source is on the inside. You can feel lonely in a crowded room, or even lonely with the people you love. It’s not the same thing as feeling the need for some company or missing someone. Loneliness comes from within, and is often a direct result of the way we are feeling about ourselves.

<  >

Avoiding And Dealing With Loneliness

<  >

Looking back, there were several things I could have done to prevent that near-relapse and the crippling loneliness that accompanied it. Today, I am more vigilant, I take better care of myself. When I am caring for myself, I feel better about myself. I reach out to people . I tell them what is going on .

<  >

I take time on a daily basis to check in and see what’s going on inside. I have daily practices that include a morning time meditation, reading, and prayer. I try to be of service every chance I get. Taking care of myself, staying in contact with others and being of service on a regular basis helps me avoid that gnawing sense of being alone. In the end what has really changed this feeling is my connection to God. No matter what happens I am never alone again.

<  >

FullSizeRender-1 

Rosanne Lockinger, Tiger Mountain Recovery, Guest Blogger

Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

<  >

You can find me on LinkedIn, Facebook, & Instagram

3 thoughts on “Handling Loneliness In Recovery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *