Ready to get help? Call (855)972-9760 Request a call

Call Us | 1-855-972-9760
Addiction Treatment

Avoiding Isolation in Addiction Recovery

By March 4, 2019 June 15th, 2023 No Comments
Avoiding Isolation in Addiction Recovery

Addiction can be a very isolating condition. It can cause extreme damage to relationships and can lead the person with the addiction to withdraw from others due to their addictive behaviour and underlying mental health issues. This, in turn, can make it harder for them to achieve recovery, as the support of others is a crucial aspect of this process.

Isolation In Recovery

Isolation can also become a serious problem for people in recovery. Their social life before recovery may have largely revolved around obtaining and using addictive substances. This can lead to a lack of social contacts during recovery. People they previously socialized with and places they used to spend time may now be deeply triggering. People they once socialized with may not be supportive of their recovery.

Addictive behaviour can also be very damaging to relationships, meaning that a person in recovery may have to work hard to rebuild them. It is important to rebuild communication with people who will be supportive of recovery but may have become alienated, hurt or angry as a result of addictive behaviour.

People struggling with addiction also sometimes isolate themselves. They may do this in order to hide their addictive behaviour or because of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety which co-occur alongside addiction. Someone struggling with addiction may also withdraw from others out of guilt or shame relating to their addictive behaviour. This means that, when this person begins working towards recovery, they do not have a support network in place.

Dangers of Isolation

Isolation is a common relapse trigger. It is important to work to avoid excessive isolation in recovery. This may require identifying and addressing the root causes of isolation, such as communication breakdown with those close to you or a lack of people in your life who are supportive of your recovery. Some people in recovery may also isolate due to mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. It is essential to address these issues in order to achieve lasting recovery.

Spending time alone can be very healthy and can help to process thoughts and emotions. One important aspect of recovery working towards becoming comfortable in your own company without the use of addictive substances. However, excessive isolation can cause problems that can jeopardize recovery.

Lack of Support Network

Isolation can cause various problems in recovery. It can leave you without a support network. The support of others is extremely important in recovery. This can also mean that there is a lack of open communication between the person in recovery and those who care about them.

Open and honest communication is very important in working toward recovery. It allows the addicted person to express concerns they may have or ask for help with particular problems. They can process thoughts and emotions in a progressive manner. It also allows those who care about that person to express their own concerns and to offer their support.

Isolation can also negatively affect mental health. A lack of communication with others can negatively affect self-esteem. For someone coping with mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, alongside their addictions, isolation can exacerbate their symptoms. Isolation is also likely to cause boredom, a common relapse trigger.

Methods For Coping With Isolation

It is useful to consider methods for avoiding excessive isolation in recovery and coping with any isolation you do encounter. If you have participated in addiction treatment, this should be incorporated into your discharge plan. It is also useful to discuss this issue in any aftercare or support meetings you attend.

When working towards recovery, it is important to accept that you have lost something that was a large part of your life. Experiencing anxiety and sadness over this is natural. You will have spent much of your time before recovery engaging in addictive behaviour. Many of your relationships may have been based largely around obtaining and using addictive substances. It is understandable to feel bereft or lost.

It is also important to accept that there may be times during your recovery when you will face isolation and loneliness. Coping with these feelings and working through them is part of the journey of recovery. The further you progress in your recovery, the better equipped you will be to cope with them. You will also rebuild relationships, build new ones, and fill your life with other activities and interests that would not have been possible while you were using.

Rebuilding Communication

One important aspect of recovery is repairing relationships that have been damaged by addictive behaviour. Trying to make amends for any damage you have caused is one aspect of this. Rebuilding trust and communication is another.

It is important to openly and honestly communicate with those close to you. This will benefit both parties and will allow your loved ones to support you in a progressive manner. You should prioritize doing this work with loved ones and friends who are supportive of your recovery. This will help to prevent isolation and will help those invested in your recovery to understand how they can best support you. Open communication will also help to establish and maintain boundaries in relationships, another important aspect of recovery.

You may also find that the new relationships you form during recovery will benefit from your recovery work. Honest and open communication will help you to form deeper, stronger relationships with others. This will help you to form new relationships that will provide support in your recovery.


Aftercare meetings or support groups can be a vital support throughout the recovery process. Maintaining a commitment to these meetings will benefit you at every stage of your recovery. They will help to prevent isolation, providing a group of others who will understand what you are going through. They will also help you to gain insight into your problems and concerns. You will also be enabled to discuss problems you are facing and to work on communicating and processing what you are going through at any given time. You can use these meetings to discuss your problems and worries openly and honestly, without fear of judgment or a negative response.

Meetings provide an outlet for expressing thoughts, emotions and concerns. They help to establish relationships with people who understand the recovery process and will be supportive of your work. You can also use these meetings to express concerns about isolation and to ask for advice from others who will understand. Simply expressing concerns to an understanding audience will already help to cope with the problem and will help you to establish a connection to those around you.

Identify And Address The Problem

If you do experience isolation in your recovery, it is important to identify this problem and proactively address it. Generally, the roots of relapse begin to emerge some time before the actual event. Identifying and confronting problems early on is an important recovery method. Be honest about how you are feeling and accept these feelings without shame or embarrassment. It is natural to experience challenges in recovery.

If you do identify feelings of isolation or loneliness, consider how to respond to this. If you have stopped attending aftercare or support meetings, recommit to them. Have you have fallen out of contact with the people in your life who are supportive of your recovery? If so, work to rebuild communication. You can also consider taking up new activities which will help you to form new social contacts and process negative emotions. Activities that involve exercise or time spent outdoors can be particularly beneficial to recovery.

Supporting A Loved One

If someone close to you is struggling with addiction or is in recovery, you can help them to avoid becoming isolated. There are many ways to support an addicted loved one, as discussed here. If they are still struggling with addiction, trying to maintain open communication and letting them know your support is available will be very helpful for them. However, it is also important to establish and maintain clear boundaries and consequences between you so that the relationship does not become a negative or co-dependent one.

If your loved one is in recovery, making time to reach out to them and working on the relationship will be a great support to them. You can also consider participating in activities or hobbies with them to help them to avoid becoming isolated. They may have lost contact with others due to their addictive behaviour, or because they are not supportive of recovery. You can help them to avoid the problems this may cause.

We also recently published a piece on supporting a loved one after they have relapsed. This is a particularly vulnerable and challenging time for someone coping with addiction. If they become further isolated due to their relapse, it will make it more difficult for them to continue their progress towards lasting recovery. Again, reaching out and ensuring that communication remains open between you and that your support is available will help your loved one to avoid isolation and respond positively to their relapse.

If you have any questions or concerns about addiction treatment, contact Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres today.

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Leave a Reply