5 Tips to Overcome Loneliness in Sobriety
Sober, Lonely And What To Do About It !
Edited version from my book – A Sober Mom’s Guide to Recovery
Ugg loneliness – one of the most difficult feeling I ever felt. It felt like a hole in the bottom of my gut and a deep aching pain in my heart. I ran from the feeling of loneliness in many ways: alcohol, sex, bingeing, purging, overeating, overworking, and shopping – a lot of shopping. These quick fixes did the trick at first but the distraction wore off and I was back to feeling lonely, isolated and more self-hatred.
I remember one particular day after I got divorced and my kids were at my former husband’s house. This was the first time I faced the pain of being alone. On more than one occasion, I was actually doubled over in pain from loneliness. It felt like there was nothing to live for and no one cared for me. I was sure I would die an old woman alone with cats crawling all over me. I was sure this feeling would never pass and that it might actually kill me. When I got sober and first felt the feelings of loneliness, I was terrified.
I had no idea what to do with this feeling—other than to drink. To admit to another person that I felt lonely was out of the question.
What I learned in recovery was loneliness is a deep spiritual longing to connect with my Higher Power, myself, and other human beings—the very things that my addictions had cut me off from at an emotional level. I was told I needed to learn to be quiet and connect to my Higher Power, to slow down and just be with myself. I needed to get to know me.
Getting to know myself was awkward at first but it paid off. I started with a few hours alone and eventually I went traveling alone to Hawaii, Yosemite, and twice to Europe. I discovered I things I liked to do and to enjoy my own company. Best of all I got to know myself and found out I really liked me!
Here are some tools you might want to try to help overcome loneliness in sobriety, which worked for me.
- Breathe! Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Breathe deeply into the part of your body where you feel the ache of loneliness. It’s not going to kill you. No one has ever died from sitting and breathing into an aching heart. What does kill people is running from this pain by acting out an addiction.
- Ask yourself out on a date. Many of us spend a lot of time looking for a partner to fill the hole of emptiness – which no one can ever fill. Take yourself to the movies, dinner, or a walk alone.
- Make a list of things you’d like to do. Try something new. Choose one today and do it!
- Remember what Eda Leshan, “When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death—ourselves.”
- Go to a recovery meeting and connect with other people feeling just like you do!