How Isolation Can Hurt Your Recovery

In This Article

Strands of hair falling in your soup, finding mustard coated on your bed sheets, and running out of toilet paper are all things that I think we can safely say most do not care for. Another thing to add to that list would be the wonders of alcoholic thinking. Nobody in their right(or wrong) mind would wake up and wish themselves to be addicted to some substance, that’d be ludicrous. That’s why it’s parallel insanity to think that addicts/alcoholics have a choice in the matter of their abuse. Chemical dependency and the obsessive thinking that revolves around it are the combination of one nasty disease. Be it crack, heroin, or Cool Ranch Doritos, it all has potential to become the drug of necessity for the right person.


However, addiction doesn’t stop just because the baggie or bottle is put down; there’s many more layers to it. At the end of the day, all of the problems start with us. You see, it’s our style of thinking and behavior as addicts/alcoholics that prohibits us from creating any positive outcomes in life.


That alcoholic thinking is what motivates us to get wasted every day. That alcoholic thinking is what allows us to continually go against the grain as we throw away who we are. That same alcoholic thinking is what causes us to self sabotage, justify any means of debauchery, and end up in unhinged isolation. We are somewhat compelled to engage in unhealthy behaviors; drawn to it like metal to a magnet. Unfortunately, it’s not until we choose to put down the substances that we can even become self aware of any of this. The recovery begins once this is done and we cease isolation not only physically but mentally as well.


Being Your Own Worst Enemy

Whether you’re already sober or not, let me assure you that none of us are perfect. We all have our ups and downs, handling every occurence different than the last. What matters most though is how we deal with each situation that comes our way. There’s a saying in the rooms that life is only 10% of what happens to you, and the other 90% is how you react to it. You see, we are the creators of most of our stimuli due to choice. We create our problems through choice: choice of action, choice of location, choice of reaction, etc. So consequently we are also the solution to each and every problem encountered.


We are typically the only ones to prevent ourselves from overcoming any unexpected problems. Instead we enter into forms of isolation, unbeknowingly keeping things inside to fester, ever becoming even bigger problems. This only makes us want to shut down even further. It kind of goes full circle here. But again, that inner torment will only poison us from the inside out in that form of alcoholism if we give it power to. Alcoholism may not be a choice, but everything that influences it is. We must choose wisely.


Emotional Isolation in Recovery

Isolation can hurt your recovery and be just as harmful to active addiction. We know ourselves better than anybody else and if we don’t let others in, nobody will ever know what’s going on. Removing ourselves from social settings will only drive us mad. This is especially true for addicts/alcoholics. Patterns of isolation can hurt your recovery(or make your active dependency worse) and can be spotted trying to take form if we look for them. Some of these cause of such can be as simple as:

  • Being unemployed for long periods of time
  • Losing somebody close to you
  • Existential crisis/aging
  • Unexpected sickness/decline in health
  • Living alone
  • Dealing with abuse or forms of PTSD


Emotional well-being comes strongly into play here. When we get ourselves to this point, how does anybody lift themselves up? You lift your chin up. Thinking in a positive manner usually calls for a positive day. It goes back to that there is no right or wrong side of the bed to wake up on in the morning. It’s more about the frame of mind we put ourselves in. Thinking positively helps us to better understand things since there is a lack of pessimistic haze to fog our cognition. The world doesn’t have to be as dark as it may seem at times. Choose to detach from that isolation before it hurts your recovery.  

Doing Something About Isolation

As with anything, overcoming isolation will require getting over the hump of fear that prevents us from all sorts of things. It’s that same imminent fear that whispers menacing words of insecurity and loneliness into our ears. If we can work up enough courage, getting over that will require a jumping off point…jumping off into a pool of extrovertedness that is. Yes that’s right, it will require social settings. Whether that means seeking help for the depression/anxiety that is causing such social separation.


After we move into that, the next step is about making friends and actually calling or meeting up with somebody trustworthy. Isolation is a technique used for us to more or less drown out the rest of the world, the same thing we do with our alcoholic behaviors. Giving ourselves the help we need and not necessarily want is the difference between life and death for some. Giving a call to somebody in the fellowship and voicing ourselves to them is that free therapy that the soul craves. If not the fellowship, then maybe a family member or somebody we have deemed as trusted. We will only drive ourselves to the brink of relapse or death if we try to ping pong our insanity around on our own. It’s a form of running from reality. If we can only recognize this maybe we won’t feel so inclined to play a game of hide and seek by ourselves.  


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