Recovery and feelings of isolation, unfortunately, go hand in hand with each other. Whether someone is in recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol or experiencing mental health disorders, they all bring with them a feeling of being alone. While opening up to everyone someone comes across isn’t the most comfortable approach to overcome these feelings, there are other ways to address the feelings of isolation by looking for a companion.
This can be other trusted people or even animals –anything that someone is able to give love to and feel support from. Love and support are important through the course of recovery, so finding a supportive companion through the process can help ease all of the other changes that accompany the recovery process.
Effects of Isolation in Recovery
The feelings of isolation are ever-present through the recovery process. It can be difficult for a person to connect with someone else, especially when they feel as if they are experiencing something that nobody else could relate to. However, this feeling of isolation begins to wall a person off from the world at large.
They could be harboring a large amount of shame or guilt, and an unwillingness to confront the root of a problem. Opening up about internal vulnerabilities is an important step in recovery, and the unwillingness to do so can inhibit the rest of the process as well. Feeling alone can quickly allow doubt to set in, thus increasing chances for relapses in cases of addiction.
Companionship Can Come in Many Forms
Companionship is a very large term, encompassing a lot of different aspects. However, at its core, companionship is the feeling of love or kinship. It doesn’t necessarily require the other part of the relationship to be another person. What is important in companionship is the practice of not just giving love and support, but being open to receiving it, even if from just one particular source at a time.
Opening up to companionship doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing ordeal. For someone in recovery, they can decide who or what they feel comfortable with as well as how much information they are willing to divulge. Any amount of sharing is good and serves to begin building that sense of companionship.
Finding Companionship in Group Therapy
Attending a group therapy session is a good way for someone to find other people to begin sharing with. After all, everyone there is experiencing something similar and going through relatable trials. There isn’t as much worry about how someone would be perceived differently.
A companion from a group therapy session also doesn’t necessarily have to be the counselor. It can be much easier to open up at first to a peer, even with questions about how the group session looks on a normal basis, or how their particular strategies are going if someone was looking to model another person. All of these open the way to a dialogue, and thus a potential companion through the recovery process at large.
Finding a Companion in an Animal
However, there is a benefit to having a companion that isn’t part of a traditional dialogue. Companion animals can create a space where someone can safely express their feelings about their day. The important part here is the vocalization itself–getting those emotions out instead of letting them boil up internally. Companion animals also share in the benefit of not being concerned about whatever may lay in someone’s past. Instead, they care only about how they are being treated at the moment and respond to the kindness and love expressed going forward.
The results can be just the same–practicing love, and necessary life skills, like responsibility, as one cares for their new companion. Companionship as a whole is something that needs time to grow and spread, and a companion animal can be the catalyst that opens up that path towards other meaningful relationships. It all depends on each person and what their own situation looks like, and where their goals will lead them.
Building the Relationship
Finding someone to confide in is a huge step. However, maintaining a relationship takes time and a degree of effort. This is why the agency falls on the person who is experiencing recovery firsthand. They can choose who or what is important to them, and how they choose to express that.
Having a companion of any kind brings light to a future, and other relationships will be created in time as needed. Building that companionship leads to practices of trust and respect, both of which are important in life far beyond the boundaries of any recovery program. Having someone to share that experience with, even with an animal to start, can lead someone to finding a place of belonging, a place where they feel safe to experience the depth of their own vulnerabilities and emotions instead of denying or hiding from them in various ways.
It lends itself all to one goal–overcoming the feelings of isolation that inhabit the recovery process and opening up to a more positive outlook on the future alongside friends and loved ones.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and the co-occurring mental health disorders at any stage of recovery, contact LifeTutors today. With a personal, practical, boots-on-the-ground approach, LifeTutors takes into account the individual needs of each person and helps them grow their coping and life skills towards their own unique goals. There are many paths to recovery, and LifeTutors can help you each step of the way. For more information about the programs and services offered, call one of the professionals at LifeTutors today at (828) 417-7122.