What role does connection play in addiction? For many people who are struggling with addiction to a substance, as their struggles with substances increase, their connection to other people decreases. In fact, for many of my clients by the time they see me, they really don’t have a strong connection to anyone around them. (With the possible exception of other people who are also struggling with drugs and alcohol).
Humans beings truly are wired to connect so this lack of connection really is important. In fact, in addition to losing connections as a result of drinking and using, many people who struggle with addiction start using in part to self medicate feelings of loneliness and isolation. Regardless of the role connection plays in the development of drug and alcohol struggles, it really needs to be an important part of recovery.
For many people who do struggle with drugs and alcohol, lack of connection can actually be a trigger for relapse. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are hard to sit with and the natural impulse for those who struggle with substances is to use drugs and alcohol to avoid those feelings. Aside from this, recovery is hard! Maybe even more importantly, it really is helpful for people who are struggling with addiction to get the message that they are not alone. Dealing with addiction can be incredibly isolating. It is easy to feel like you are the only one struggling with it and there must be something “wrong” with you.
Dealing with shame requires vulnerability. We have to share our struggles. Because shame is a huge part of addiction sharing those thoughts and feelings really is necessarily for recovery. Maybe this is with friends and family, maybe this is in a support group like AA, maybe it’s both. Whatever ways you can find to increase your ability to connect and share with others, please do so if you are struggling with drugs and alcohol. You are not alone and it’s important to find people you can share your story with.
Questions about the relationship between connection and addiction or anything else related to addiction and sobriety? Please feel free to get in touch!