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5 Ways to Overcome Loneliness in Addiction Recovery

woman speaks with therapist about loneliness

Loneliness is a common challenge for people starting out in addiction recovery. It’s typically a good idea to stop associating with old friends with whom you used to drink and use drugs. They can easily pull you back into old habits. However, it takes a little time to make new friends, so in the meantime, many people battle loneliness. While spending time with people who drink and use drugs is bad for your recovery, feeling lonely all the time isn’t especially good either. It can lead to boredom, restlessness, and depression. Most of us need a certain amount of human contact to feel good. If you’ve been struggling with loneliness, here are some tips for feeling better.

Reframe loneliness.

One way to overcome loneliness is to reframe what it means to be alone. Being alone is not inherently bad. It only feels bad when we prefer to be around other people but can’t be for some reason. As with many things in life, it’s not the situation itself that makes you feel bad but rather what you tell yourself about the situation. For example, if you tell yourself that you’re alone because no one likes you, you’re likely to feel much worse about it. In reality, everyone is alone sometimes and some people aren’t alone as often as they would like to be. Being alone can be an opportunity to do things that are more difficult when others are around. For example, if writing, prayer, meditation, or reading are part of your recovery plan, those things are best done alone so you can concentrate. Sometimes it’s just helpful to be alone with your thoughts. At some point in the near future, you will be around other people, so make what use you can of solitude.

Go somewhere public.

If you just really want human contact, you can always go somewhere public. Go for coffee or lunch. Go somewhere fairly crowded. Be nice to the people around you. Although talking to the cashier or server is pretty superficial as conversations go, it beats sitting in your room feeling lonely.

Reach out.

A lot of people feel lonely simply because they never try reaching out. There are probably people who would like to see you or have lunch or dinner, but you never know because you don’t ask. Call or text a friend or family member and see if they want to get together. See if someone you met at a 12-step meeting is up for a chat.

Go to meetings.

12-step meetings are a great place to connect with people who are in recovery. When you go to meetings, get engaged. Strike up some conversations and see if there’s anyone you might be friends with. Make plans to do something outside of meetings. Also keep in mind you aren’t limited to your regular meeting. If you’re climbing the walls, you can probably find another meeting happening soon.

Get a pet.

If you’re in a stable place in recovery, consider adopting a pet. That way, there’s always a presence in your house. Pets are often affectionate and caring for them takes your mind off your own problems. If you have a dog, people will usually talk to you when you walk him. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors. If you’re not quite ready for the responsibility of a pet, consider volunteering at an animal shelter.

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare offers an integrative and holistic approach to treat substance abuse and a wide variety of addictions, as well as underlying mental health and psychological issues. All of the addiction recovery programs offered by The Arbor are designed to heal the mind, body, and spirit leading to a lifetime of sobriety, health and wellness. If you’re ready to find healing and restoration in a peaceful, loving environment, please call us today at 844-560-7269.