Addiction is one of the most loneliest diseases that any human can face. The shame and the fear of letting anyone in will close you off from everyone while you are under the influence. By confronting your addiction head on, you will be able to maintain your close personal friendships again.
There are many reasons why a person struggling with addiction feels that they need to isolate themselves. One reason is that you feel like no one can connect with you or understand what you are feeling. You may feel there is no one available to talk to you or willing to hear you out. If you feel like you cannot be heard, you may feel like doing drugs or alcohol will cloud those negative feelings away that you no longer need to speak to anyone of anything again. You could be feeling left out, hopeless, and feel like this will always continue. When you are addicted, your object of desire whether it is gambling, sex, illicit drugs, alcohol, or others is your new best friend and the only emotional connection you are willing to have. The drugs are always there when you need them.
Isolation can also take place because you want to avoid conflict in your addiction. You do not want there to be a confrontation where people will ask you questions if they see you under the influence. Family members and friends may check your eyes to see if they are dilated or smell your breath or check your walk. You do not want them to keep checking up on you or giving you the third degree of your secret activities. To avoid any questions, you may spend time hiding in your room or a secluded area where you do your forbidden activities.
You could also be living in isolation because of the shame of your addiction. If your friends gather around and decide to have a drink, you may be the only one in the crowd who is the first to grab that first drink. You may also not want your loved ones to see you when you are under the influence. Since you feel no one will understand you, you prefer to hide in the shadows. Because your object of abuse is your reason for living, you will do whatever it takes to protect your addiction which means making sure no one finds out.
There is a giant stigma against addiction. Because addiction is shown in a negative light, that may be another reason why you do not want to tell anyone. Being in recovery can also mean isolation as well. You prefer not to be in the company of anybody you know in case you relapse. You could be worried that people will see your relapse as a sign of failure. You do not want to disappoint anyone if you have been doing so well for a while. It is important that the people around you realize just how normal relapse is when you are in recovery and that we all make mistakes.
You do not have to live in isolation forever as you can cut yourself away from drugs. Just like all friendships that you have gone close to, breaking away from drugs will make you angry, hurt, and sad. You need to remember that the friendship between you and drugs was destructive and unhealthy and it has only taken things away from you like your relationships, job, and health. It has never given you anything good that has stayed with you permanently.
When you are in recovery, it is part of your journey to make amends to those you have wronged. Make a list of people that you need to apologize for as well as the harm you have done to them so that they know that you are aware of what you are sorry for. Know that you cannot fix all relationships. Some will be able to forgive you and others will still not be able to forget what you have said and did.
You also need to disconnect from unhealthy relationships. Maybe you only isolate yourself from people who are sober but only want to be around those who do drugs. You may feel like they understand where you are coming from and support the effects of the drugs. These unhealthy people will not help you break away from drugs or support your recovery. These people needs to be cut off whether it means blocking them from your phone and/or never visiting them or being in areas that you know they will be in. You can also connect to others online. Find support groups on Facebook for those who are in recovery and write posts about your progress and how to handle your struggles. You will be surrounded by those rooting for you to win against this addiction as they have.
You may need your relationships more than you realize compared to living a full life in insolation. The stigma of addiction makes others think that you are alone and that no one will understand what is going on with you mentally. You need to give people a chance and let them in. Speak to your personal friends and family as well as others going through the same struggles as you. Isolation will not help you get better but love from anyone willing to give it to you will.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 1-888-570-7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.