Man standing alone on the end of a jetty, looking over a foggy lake.

A lot of people in recovery have an unhealthy habit of isolating – I know I did.  We do this for many reasons.  We may feel shame or guilt for our behaviours when we were drinking or using, we may fear being around people, places and things that could trigger our addiction, or we may isolate simply because it is familiar to us.

Unfortunately, isolation means we spend a lot of time in our own heads, and this is not beneficial in sobriety.  We have to learn to avoid getting lost in our own negative thinking.

Isolation also results in avoidance of our support systems.  We don’t move ahead in our recovery, we retreat into old habits and behaviours, causing us to isolate even more.

Isolation causes anger and resentments to build until we start to crave something that makes us feel better – usually a drink or drug.  Our self-esteem we have been trying to nurture in recovery goes down and we often develop physical and emotion health problems.  We can find it difficult to tell others how we really feel so we hibernate.

When I find myself isolating, I take stock of myself because it is a sign that something is not right.

Being alone can be good at times, but chronic isolation is detrimental to our recovery, so if we see that we are spending too much time alone, we must look at why and correct it quickly.

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