Loneliness is study-proven to be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day – and it’s also a common relapse trigger. It’s even part of the recovery acronym H.A.L.T, which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired – four feelings that could lead to relapse if you’re not careful.
For many people in recovery, loneliness is often part of the reason they started using in the first place. Loneliness isn’t just feeling alone from time to time; it’s feeling alone, misunderstood and uncared for – and these feelings can exist even if you have the support of loved ones.
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Luckily, you can learn to control loneliness – and even small efforts will have a big impact on your overall health and recovery. Start with these steps:
- Spend time with friends and family. Recovery comes with its fair share of down days, but do your best to resist the urge to isolate yourself. Instead, schedule in time to meet friends and loved ones – for example, a morning walk with a recovery peer or weekly coffee with a family member. Making true connections with others can make you feel emotionally stronger and less alone.
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- Find your hobby. Having a hobby is super important for living a fulfilling sober life and combatting loneliness. The right activity will give you something to be passionate about and you’ll want to talk about that passion with others. You’ll also likely meet some new friends with at least one shared interest.
- Volunteer. Making a commitment to help others will give you a reason to get up and get into the community. You’ll feel good about yourself and you’ll likely form friendships with positive people.
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- Embrace your spirituality. Many people in recovery turn to religion in an effort to combat loneliness – and studies say it works. One study showed that both the social networks provided by religious communities and the intrinsic belief of being cared for by a loving divinity protect against loneliness and related mental health dangers.
- Join an online or in-person support group. Whether you attend an in-person or online support group, talking to others with similar experiences will remind you that you’re not alone in your journey toward lasting sobriety.
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To minimize your chance of relapse and keep you connected to staff and recovery peers, we have built a strong Alumni community. To learn more about our aftercare program and how you can have a rewarding role in the positive South Florida recovery community, call us today: (888) 693-1604
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Serving as the Inpatient Clinical Director at Immersion Recovery Center, Susan will work directly with staff members, clients, and family members to ensure the clinical program remains as effective and individualized as possible. Susan is no stranger to the fields of behavioral health and addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, working in an inpatient setting, an outpatient setting, acute stabilization and nearly all other settings in the realm of addiction recovery.