How Lonliness Can Threaten Sobriety

Lonliness in Recovery

The belief that people need other people is a universally accepted concept. It has become a gold standard in recovery programs: Don’t get too lonely. Non-alcoholic members of the psychiatric profession tend to equate loneliness with boredom. If there is any one thing that must be included in the alcoholic’s life before he can once again become a whole man it is worthwhile activity. This may be Twelfth Step work, vocation, avocation, or anything else. Such activity must be present in order to fulfill his or her existence and eliminate loneliness.

We must also consider the loneliness brought about because the newcomer lives alone. But this is easily rectified. It takes only a phone call or a visit to an AA-oriented social club.  For the AA Loner, or other members, the Big Book or text to an AA friend may suffice. Under any conditions, Loneliness is the mother of self-pity and the ultimate end is resentment and drinking. The rule of Thumb?  Do something.  Loneliness is a curse. There are few who can live in solitude, alone and detached from fellow man. Human beings do better when they interact with one another.

Those who are isolated and devoid of human interaction may stagnate and suffer from emotional insecurity and self-doubt; their existence a bleak and unfulfilled life. A lack of close friends and a dearth of broader social contact generally bring the emotional discomfort or distress known as loneliness. It begins with an awareness of a deficiency of relationships. This cognitive awareness plays through our brain with an emotional soundtrack. It makes us sad. We might feel emptiness. We may be filled with a longing for contact. We feel isolated, distanced from others and deprived. These feelings effect our emotional well-being

Happiness thrives in groups. Churchgoers are an illustration of a gathering that may be happier because they belong to an extended family with social interaction, community, and shared values. Individuals who have no family may reach out and embrace an extended community of like-minded persons, developing a strong, fraternal unit and infrastructure. Numerous studies have shown that the healthiest, happiest people tend to be more involved in their communities.

While there is debate on whether one causes the other is unclear, there is some sense that having wider social connections and relationships are an important part of being happy.  Lack of emotional connection to others can produce detriments in the ability of the individual to connect with others. Having no connection to others and a sense of belonging may result in depression or loneliness while an abundance of love, friendship and community involvement allows an individual to thrive in recovery.

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