The link between isolation and substance misuse is well documented, and the devastating overdose rates during the covid-19 safety measures reflect this notion. While it’s difficult to avoid isolation during a worldwide pandemic, understanding how loneliness and social withdrawal affect addiction and people in recovery is crucial to preventing more instances in the future.
It’s never been easier to connect with like-minded people with the help of the internet and various social media outlets. Many people in addiction recovery exclaim that social media has been a life-saving tool to create support networks of empathetic individuals who act as a lifeline when they feel vulnerable. However, social media isn’t just for recovery groups; it can be useful for people looking to avoid having their social life revolve around drinking and bar hopping in general. There are tons of private hobby and interest groups that are closely moderated to ensure people’s safety, and many local groups have meetups for those who would like to engage in person.
Spending an extended time alone can wear people down quickly, but it’s much easier to get through those periods when there’s something to look forward to. Even if it’s a local destination that doesn’t take more than a day, planning a road trip is a great idea. Using the internet to find hidden gems to explore in the surrounding area can uncover tons of surprises. A change of pace and environment can also lead to a much-needed improved outlook, even after a short hike in a local nature preserve.
It’s easier said than done but keeping the body and brain occupied while alone is essential to overcome the urge to self-medicate with substances to defeat boredom or loneliness. Many people slip into addiction quickly when they convince themselves that things are “more fun” when intoxicated, even watching tv or doing household chores. Over time, they begin to feel dependent on being under the influence to find anything amusing or tolerable, which leads to a slippery slope of chronic misuse. Picking up new interests and hobbies that require concentration and keeping hands busy can ease cravings while passing the time. With plenty of free tutorials online, virtually every hobby can be learned for free.
A valuable activity that is often overlooked is volunteering in the local community. A quick online search can bring up many nearby nonprofit organizations looking for people to donate their time. With a group of giving and compassionate individuals working together, some friendships are bound to be made along the way. People who feel socially isolated may find that donating their time to a good cause is not only gratifying but also provides a lot of interaction with all kinds of people, and even animals! In fact, research shows that people who volunteer regularly are often in good mental and physical health.
Recovery Services of New Mexico is dedicated to providing effective and accessible medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorder. Specialized medical providers and substance use counselors work closely with patients to increase their chances of successful, long-lasting recovery in a convenient outpatient setting. To learn more about the treatment programs available, locate a neighboring RSONM clinic and message or call today.