When you are going through recovery for a drug or alcohol addiction, it can be very tempting to simply isolate from everyone. Your negative feelings might seem like they are too much to handle and you might feel anxious without the layer of substance that used to be between you and everyone you used to talk to. However, other people can be some of your biggest allies in your fight against addiction. Here are some tips for overcoming that desire to isolate in order to help you build a strong support network.
1. Make a New Group of Friends
Another common reason why people isolate is because many of the friends that they used to have were other people who were consuming drugs or alcohol. Being around those people can trigger a desire to use whatever substance you might have been addicted to.
As a result, you are going to need to identify people who are good for you. It's best to meet new people who are not associated at all with your addiction. Go to a gym and talk to the people in your exercise classes. Go to support groups for people who are struggling with addiction. Volunteer at the hospital or at an elderly care facility and hang out with fellow volunteers that are your age. All of these activities will force you to be social but will have a purpose beyond socializing, unlike partying or going to a bar. This will allow you to focus on the task at hand but still get the chance to talk to other people.
2. Set Socialization Quotas for Yourself
Next, you are going to want to set an amount of time each week that you need to be hanging out with people. Start small by committing to going out to lunch for an hour with one person once this week. Then, the next week, try to get lunch twice. Have someone over to watch television with you or play board games. Make socialization quotas and stick to them. This will allow you to hold yourself accountable.
3. Nip Catastrophic Thoughts in the Bud
Finally, you are going to want to make sure that you stop catastrophic thoughts before they are able to build strength. It's very common to talk yourself out of going to a club meeting or meet-up by telling yourself that no one is going to like you and that you are going to make a fool of yourself. Try saying your thoughts out loud as they come into your head if you are alone. Don't judge your thoughts, but allow them to pass through your head unhindered. This will help rob the thoughts of their power over you and allow you to reduce your anxiety surrounding social situations.
Another option is to write your thoughts down and then write down three true statements that contradict these thoughts. For example, you could respond to the the thought that "no one likes me" with the statements "I have these good friends" and then list your good friends, "I am able to easily talk to people at work when I need to ask them a question," and "these people like the same things as me, which means that we will have something to talk about." All three of these statements are true and directly contradict the thought that no one is going to like you.
For more information, talk to a recovery center therapist, like those at Olalla Recovery Centers.
Hey everyone, my name is Lori Grffin. When my son was born, I was completely unprepared for the difficulties of raising a sensory deprived child. The stress of trying to parent a difficult child definitely takes its toll. Eventually, I had a nervous breakdown and ended up enrolling in individual counseling sessions. The counseling appointments helped me work through the emotions generated while coping with fits and meltdowns from my son. I emerged from each session better prepared to provide my son with the support he needed. I also learned how to pay attention to how I was feeling during the process. I created this site because I want to share the benefits parents receive from going to counseling sessions. Thank you.