It’s common for someone who has struggled with an addiction to want to isolate or be by themselves. They might not feel a desire to be social. They might not want to spend time with others. In fact, for some, being social might be so heavily associated with drinking and drug use, that this is enough of a reason to avoid people. Although this might be true for many recovering addicts, research has shown that having a strong network of family, friends, and professionals who care is an essential element to staying sober.
In fact, one person who has been sober for over 25 years knows that he cannot live alone. He knows that when he is alone he is more likely to think negative thoughts and more likely act upon those negative thoughts by drinking. He admits that even to this day he continues to experience cravings and desires to drink and use heroin again.
For others, the desire to be alone might be strong. They might feel better without the social expectations and the demands that others place upon them. However, recovery is an experience of changing one’s entire life; it is not only the end of substance use. In this transformation, there must be an opening to social relationships so that a person is not isolated in his or her recovery. This is one of the reasons that the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have been so successful. They bring together an array of people all facing the same challenge. And it is in that challenge that people come together, form friendships, and provide lasting support in times of struggle. The 12-step meetings are a gathering of many men and women, from different walks of life, who face the challenge of sobriety. For some, the camaraderie and companionship that is found at those meetings can be the very thing that keeps a person sober. In fact, some people recognize that they might not be able to stay sober for themselves. But instead, they choose to stay sober for the group, making the larger whole their purpose for staying clean.
Having a network of support eases the challenges that come with attempting to stay sober. Getting sober and staying sober is not an easy experience. However, knowing that you have friends and family to support you can lift the burden of having to try to stay sober on your own. Of course, the success of recovery is ultimately up to you, but having friends to call in time of cravings can prevent a relapse. And having family to call in times of need can erase any feelings of loneliness and having to face the challenges of life on your own. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, having a network of support is one of the key ingredients to staying sober including having all your basic needs met and treating any other co-existing illnesses.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction and/or having a hard time with staying sober, contact a mental health provider for assistance.
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