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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Why Does Isolation Impact Your Sobriety?

Addiction is a lonely place to be. Some people living with addiction reach a point where they feel as if their only real relationship is with drugs and alcohol. You may have begun drinking or using drugs in social settings, but as your tolerance and cravings increased, you began driving away those who care most about you through your self-destructive behavior.

It’s also common for people who struggle with substance misuse to have co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety or PTSD. If that is the case for you, perhaps you began abusing drugs or alcohol to smooth out complicated emotions or to help you numb the pain associated with reliving unpleasant memories. Once addiction takes hold of your life, you start spending more time maintaining the needs of your disease than keeping up with friends and family. If this continues, you may look around one day and realize the people you love are no longer there to support you.

The Problems With Isolation in Recovery

Often, even after getting help and committing to sobriety, overwhelming feelings of isolation may continue. In addition to feeling isolated from others, you have cut drugs and alcohol out of your life as well – substances that may have become a stand-in for a healthy support system. That puts you in a tricky situation, as loneliness can undoubtedly be a powerful relapse trigger. It’s essential for your long-term sobriety to do all you can to combat loneliness – but certainly, that often seems easier to talk about than to act upon.

Loneliness is a common human emotion, and most people experience it every now and again. However, in most cases, it’s a fleeting feeling. If you are having many of the following feelings most of the time, you need to know when to take positive steps to protect your happiness, your mental health and your sobriety – even if that is challenging for you.

Symptoms of intense isolation may include:
  • Feeling unable to connect with others
  • Being sad when there is no one around to talk to
  • Thinking nobody understands you or cares about what you are going through
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless or abandoned
  • Worrying you will never be able to stop feeling this way

The Hidden Dangers of Staying Isolated in Recovery

For people in recovery, loneliness is something to avoid at all costs. First of all, it is one of the four letters in the acronym HALT, which stands for four emotions that can put people at increased risk of a relapse: hungry, angry, lonely and tired. Each of these feelings will put you in a tough place emotionally, which may represent a challenge to your ability to make healthy decisions.

Also, socially isolated people have nobody to listen to other than the inner voice of their illness, which can be dangerous. In addiction recovery, a lack of accountability is often a recipe for disaster. In general, forming bonds with others makes life easier and helps strengthen our feelings of self-worth. And, according to a recent study, loneliness makes people more vulnerable to mental health challenges like mood disorders.

Ways to Break out of Your Isolation Cycle

If you need help finding ways to stop feeling isolated, try the following.
  • Join a club: Connect with peers who share some of the same interests as you, whether they are athletic, artistic or otherwise.
  • Volunteer: Volunteer service is an excellent way to give back to your community, and it helps you meet plenty of new people.
  • Go to support groups: Surrounding yourself with others who are working on their recovery can be enormously helpful. You will meet people who have faced similar challenges and dealt with some of the same issues.
  • Adopt a pet: Bonding with a pet can create one of the purest relationships you will ever have. Pets offer unconditional, non-judgmental love and ask for nothing in return but that you love them back.

Ask for Help When You Need It

If you are a young adult struggling with substance misuse, it’s time to explore your treatment options for getting your life back on a positive path. It is important to admit when you can’t go it alone. At Hope Academy, we specialize in peer-based young adult rehab for young adults. Contact our admissions team to learn more.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Things to Look Forward to in Sobriety

Being nervous about addiction recovery is common, especially for young adults who have begun to rely on drugs or alcohol to replace healthy coping mechanisms and are now facing decades of sobriety ahead of them. While it’s true your life will change significantly, it can be better than you ever imagined it being when you were misusing substances. Here are some reasons you should be excited about the gift of recovery.

1. Your life will no longer revolve around drugs and alcohol.

Addicted people spend a significant amount of time planning where and how to get the next dose of their preferred substance. Once you get sober and stop chasing a constant high, you will feel incredibly free from these intrusive thoughts, and you will no longer waste time on allowing drugs and alcohol to rule your life.

2. You will become more self-aware.

Rather than spending hours clouding your mind with a haze of drugs and alcohol, sobriety will put you back in touch with your true emotions. Once you can fully feel again, you can embrace your potential and learn who you really are without the influence of toxic chemicals.

3. Your friends and family will know they can count on you.

Once drinking and taking drugs become the highest priority in your life, you start to push aside all your other responsibilities. When you are frequently drunk or high, you are letting your family and friends down. Addiction recovery will give you the chance to repair those damaged relationships and become someone your loved ones can fully rely on.

4. You will welcome joy and gratitude back into your life.

During active addiction, you come to rely on drugs or alcohol as the sole source of your happiness. However, the sense of well-being or euphoria these substances create is not only short-lived; it is artificial. Working on recovery gives you the opportunity to discover who you truly are as a person. You will grow into your full capacity, and you will learn that you are worthy of experiencing genuine joy and gratitude.

5. You will learn how to deal with life’s challenges.

There is no instruction manual or road map for life, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. Addictions often develop when people begin using drugs or alcohol to deal with stress or numb painful emotions. In addiction recovery, you will learn better ways to cope with whatever roadblocks or obstacles you encounter, and you will also develop a more positive outlook in life. While nobody has all the answers, the things you learn about yourself in addiction treatment will equip you to keep a clear head and an open spirit.

6. Recovery will allow you to start over.

One of the many gifts recovery gives you is that you will have the opportunity to make a complete transformation in your life. You will go from being hopeless, ashamed and alone to embracing a future that is bursting with possibilities and potential. When was the last time you felt proud of yourself, or that you could take on any challenge and emerge as a stronger person? Addiction recovery will give you that hope and optimism again. While it is not an easy journey, it is one worth making because you will experience so many positive changes.

Get the Help You Need Today

At Hope Academy, our mission is to help young adults recover from addiction. Our California substance abuse treatment center offers clients a fresh start through detox, drug and alcohol recovery, dual diagnosis counseling, sober living and aftercare. We also provide life skills, college and career planning and coaching that provide a solid foundation to move forward as a successful adult. Contact us to verify your insurance and learn more about admissions.
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