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A Blog Post

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

overcome loneliness in sobriety - ROC Recovery services - images-2Ugg 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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. Make a list of things you’d like to do. Try something new. Choose one today and do it!
  3. 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.”
  4. Go to a recovery meeting and connect with other people feeling just like you do!

    A Sober Mom's Guide to Recovery by Rosemary O'Connor - published by Hazelden - ROC Recovery Services for women

  • jocelyne on March 30, 2016

    how can i start a group,….without all the red tapes of systems telling them, they have too.

    • Rosemary O'Connor on March 30, 2016

      Hello Jocelyne, I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you asking me how to start a group on loneliness?

  • john Garcia on December 9, 2016

    A good article that came at just the right time for me. I ache for the people I lost and I can get really down on myself. I have friends in sobriety but sometimes it feels like loneliness will never leave. I know it is just a feeling and I have to go through this because things did get better. Thanks this helped a lot

    • Rosemary O'Connor on December 12, 2016

      Hi John, Thanks for your comments. I know for me the feelings go away when I go to a 12-step meeting or make phone calls.
      Take care

  • John smith on June 10, 2017

    its good to be clean and sober, but having real friends is hard even though go to alot of 12 step meetings. especially when family has pass on, and no relationship. Life on life terms

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