The relationship between loneliness and drug addiction is one you may quickly notice. If you or a loved one suffers from an addiction, loneliness can worsen the situation.
We at Addictions CA know this. In this article, we will inform you of the connection between substance abuse and loneliness. We will also provide practical tips to help the situation.
How Loneliness Creeps In
Humans are generally social. For most of your daily activities, you are interacting with one person or the other. Because of this, you get a significant level of happiness from your interactions with other people.
Loneliness is a world apart from being alone. With being alone, it may be a personal decision. You may want to take a break from people. It may also be that there just aren’t many people around you at a particular time. This generally doesn’t affect health negatively. Interestingly, it may be healthy if you have alone time frequently.
However, loneliness occurs when you fail to connect with people. It is possible to be in relationships and have family around but still feel lonely. Loneliness often comes with the feeling of a void needing to be filled.
Feelings common in lonely people are anxiety, depression, rejection, invalidation and exclusion. Therefore, it comes as little surprise if you are lonely, and your level of happiness tanks.
Sadly, a lot of people are lonely. Recent surveys reveal a high percentage of people experience feelings of loneliness. Another report, by Forbes, indicates the number of lonely people has quadrupled in the last 40 years.
The Vicious Cycle
Loneliness is such an unpleasant feeling. Very likely, you feel like you need something to take the sensation away. Why this is scary is because loneliness can drive you to drugs and alcohol.
The drugs actually do take unpleasant feelings away. You may be in better spirits and generally feel good. Unfortunately, these feelings are only temporary. When they wear off, you are left feeling even worse.
This drives you further into the drugs. You feel you need another fix, this time stronger. Before you know it, you have developed an addiction.
Herein lies the danger. Addiction is known to cause relationships to break, making you disconnect with people. Furthermore, you may isolate yourself to hide a drug habit from your loved ones.
The resultant effect of this is even more loneliness. Loneliness then worsens the addiction, which then causes loneliness. A vicious cycle ensues. Loneliness causes addiction, and addiction results in loneliness and the problem becomes more difficult.
Your Treatment May Be At Risk Too
If you already checked into an addiction treatment service, loneliness can still mess up your recovery. It is normal to feel lonely during an addiction program. When you newly check into a rehab, you also newly check out from your old relationships. Fellow substance users or loved ones who enable your substance use are suddenly away from you.
Essentially, all your previous support systems are withdrawn from you. This leads to new feelings of loneliness and abandonment. There are drugs therapists may give to help with withdrawal symptoms. But there are no drugs for such a subjective feeling as loneliness.
With such stronger feelings of loneliness, you are at a higher risk of relapsing during recovery. Addiction treatment services are available in Canada if you or a loved one is in such straits.
Loneliness and Addiction: How to Cope
You now know the relationship between loneliness and addiction. It is crucial to take steps to break out of such a cycle. Fighting loneliness helps you fight addiction in the process. One essential step in the journey to recovery is willingness. You must be willing to put a lot of effort into combatting this problem.
Here are tips you can take when dealing with loneliness and addiction.
Create a support system
The general hallmark of loneliness is not having people around you or not connecting with them. The first step in solving this is to get people close.
This step involves being open and vulnerable to close friends and beloved family members. They will be unable to provide the needed companionship if they don’t know what is going on.
Also, if you’re in addiction treatment therapy, you must make the best use of group therapy. Having people who face similar issues may make it easier to develop communal feelings. But if you continue to isolate yourself, you will not get the best from it.
Restore damaged relationships
Holding on to hurt from your relationships is also a straight ticket to loneliness. The presence of a chasm between you and those you hold dear will disturb your healing.
With the relationship between loneliness and addiction, chances are you’ve pushed your loved ones away. With the path of recovery, you’re on, you can fix this.
Restart those relationships. Give them a new life with new levels of openness and understanding. This significantly helps to strengthen the feelings of being part of a community. Do this, and you will stave those lonely feelings away.
End the unhealthy ones
It will be a grave mistake to assume all relationships are right for you. As much as you’re looking for a connection with people, those connections must be healthy for you.
Believe it or not, some might not support your addiction recovery journey. Some others might have contributed to the addiction and loneliness one way or the other. All these make up negative influences. If they aren’t going to become favourable for your sake, it’s best to end them.
The peculiar relationship between loneliness and addiction may leave you lethargic and disinterested in activities. Now, to help recovery, this will be a great time to start things up again.
Sign up for those music lessons you’ve been eyeing. Go on that trip. Learn to dance. Essentially, it is much helpful to do things that expose you to other parts of life.
Also, such activities help you meet people with similar interests. They can form the basis for future friendships and relationships. These new activities have immense benefits to your mood and wellbeing. This, together with the appropriate recovery programs, improve your healing. You will enjoy being in your skin more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Loneliness and Addiction
In this section, we will answer pointed questions you have about loneliness.
I feel lonely many times. What can I do?
Loneliness is not entirely unusual. It only means you desire human contact. It is certainly nothing to blame yourself for.
If you have this feeling for a long time, it may become a problem. The first thing to do is to think about the situation. If you can identify why you feel lonely, you will be able to stop it.
Another thing you can do is look after yourself. By taking care of your mind and body, you are in a higher state of wellbeing. Hence, you will feel better and more confident. Besides this, you can also share your time by volunteering in local organizations. Participating in community and neighbourhood programs will also help stave off the lonely feelings.
Will I ever stop feeling so alone?
Yes, you can. You just have to be intentional about it. Once you figure out the cause, you can begin to address it.
You may need to institute a few changes in your life. First is to not dwell on negatives for too long. This frees your mind to be able to accept change.
What is the relationship between loneliness and addiction?
Addiction is a compulsive behaviour. You seek out to do things with minimal control. Many times, you also don’t want anyone else to know of it. This makes you crave alone time. You are willing to cut your friends and family off. All you can think of is the next fix.
This is the relationship between loneliness and addiction. Your addiction creates and then feeds the resulting loneliness. What’s worse? The loneliness also drives you to drugs, fueling your addiction. It makes it harder to get out.
What can I do to help my recovery?
Addiction recovery hinges on four things: motivation, humility, restoration and perseverance. Motivation perhaps is the most important. Without it, the others may not come to play.
Think about why you want to get better. It may be you not feeling great physically and mentally. It may be the bad decisions your addiction has caused you to make. As long as you’re motivated to change, you’ll be willing to do what it takes.
Once you’re motivated, you have to be humble. Humility means subjecting yourself to all you are to do in therapy. It also means actively participating in whatever your caregivers deem necessary.
Restoration involves mending your broken relationships. You need people to be on your side for recovery. You should repair frayed relationships with friends and family.
Perseverance is a sustained effort. There will come a time where you feel you may be better off with the addiction. This can come because of the pain and discomfort of addiction treatment.
Here, you need to stay tough mentally. You must push yourself to continue with the program. It will help if you also believe your actions will pay off at the end of the day. Do this, and your recovery will come much faster.
Understanding the relationship between loneliness and addiction is helpful. You know what can worsen your addiction. You will also be able to take the right steps to prevent it.
At Addictions CA, we offer addiction treatment services that cut across Canada and the USA. We are versatile and have solid knowledge in treating addiction to different substances. Contact us today, let’s come up with a custom treatment plan for you.