Rehab makes me feel lonely, what should I do?

One of the challenges of facing detox and treatment is the loss of community. Even if current drug use is making your life completely unmanageable, there was a time when the euphoria of drug use was paired with social connection that gave you joy. No matter your own goals, you have to ask yourself, “If rehab makes me feel lonely, what should I do?”

Of course, we know that those social connections are not good for us. You may only have people who reach out to you because they know you will share your stash or have extra alcohol on hand. You may also have connections that bring you drugs or alcohol and stay to socialize. Additionally, there is a pattern to addictive behavior. Even those who only smoke tobacco once or twice a day, there is ritual in sitting down, lighting up, inhaling and releasing the smoke. The loss of this pattern may leave you feeling bereft and un-anchored.

Reconnecting With Those Who Have Turned Away

Before you look back on your days of using drugs as “the good old days,” it’s time to take a look at the folks who turned away from you as your drug use swallowed more of your life. You may have family that you are embarrassed to be around and friends who no longer speak to you, or who simply don’t connect with you anymore.

Deciding to enter rehab is well worth an announcement to folks that you have lost touch with. Be ready to ask for another chance. Talk to your therapy professional about the best way to maintain these connections as you work through the discomfort of detox, and particularly as you move into maintenance in treatment.

Your fellow treatment attendees can also provide community. Once you enter treatment, the detox process may not leave you feeling like reaching out or making friends; being nauseous, sweaty and sick will not be conducive to building positive friendships. However, as you move into treatment, you may be able to participate both in individual and group therapies that will allow you to learn to reach out and build new relationships. You may have gained a great deal of confidence from some recreational drugs.

If you’re not as confident as you once were about meeting new people and engaging effectively, talk to your individual therapist about your concerns to make sure that you enter your first group with as much confidence as possible. If you can gain access to one, try to work with a mentor or a sponsor within the recovery community or group who can help you make introductions. There will be many aspects of detox and treatment that will be extremely uncomfortable.

This discomfort may be physical, mental or emotional. If you need spiritual guidance and counseling, be aware that this care could also be a place where you can allow yourself to be a bit more vulnerable than you may be willing to share in group. Do your best to reach out and be as honest as possible with your individual counselor. An inability to reach out comfortably to other humans can be an indication of underlying mental illness, which you may have been managing by self-medicating with alcohol or illegal drugs. Build new rituals. If there was a specific time of day that you used to help you relax, find a quiet spot and meditate for 10 minutes. Simply set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes, close your eyes and gently clear your mind.

If your mind starts to wander, gently guide it back to a clear spot and, in your mind, turn your face to some imaginary sunlight so you can shine a light on the new life you’re building. There is the chance to build new connections as you work through detox and rehab. You may find that your needs change as you get further through the process. Private conversations may be limited by the folks running the facility. Do be thoroughly aware of your contribution to the environment. You may be feeling unhappy, uncomfortable, and you may share that by being unpleasant. Even if you can be entertainingly grouchy, you may be taking energy from your fellow clients. Do the work to boost your connections in a positive way so you can build healthier friendships in treatment and after. We can help, call now 833-846-5669.