The Benefit of Community and Connection in Recovery
For many of us the years spent with the most suffering in our addictions were also the loneliest. Isolation and the depression as a result of disconnecting perpetuate the cycle of addiction.
For the majority of my life I felt alone. I never felt like I “fit in”. No matter how many friends I’ve had or family that loved me I always felt different than everyone and had a difficult time connecting to people. This feeling of disconnection and isolation leads to depression. The disconnection, isolation and depression would all lead to a low self worth. Feeling alone, depressed and unworthy in addition to resentments and trauma would fuel my alcoholism and addiction.
I would go out to parties and drink to feel connected. Although I had a group of friends that I still connect with to this day I still felt alone. Eventually I would just end up going home alone to binge use because that’s where I felt the safest. I would feel shameful about my using so I would want to push everyone away in order to thrive in my loneliness.
In recovery we are forced to deal with ourselves in a very real way. We look within to find relief and deal with the resentments and trauma that led to our using. We go through so much emotional work in recovery its impossible to do it alone. Through the recovery community people are able to step outside of their isolation and loneliness in order to feel connected and reestablish self worth.
Sober Living Environments are a great way to establish a recovery community. In addition to the relationships that one cultivates in Residential Treatment and the rooms of recovery in your local community SLE’s offer connection in a way that other fellowships cannot. One of the main reasons is that you live with these people. There is more of a family atmosphere to the SLE that helps bring people together to feel connection.
In early recovery people experience many ups and downs. In treatment settings dealing with deep traumas or just having a tough time staying sober leaning on the recovery community especially in the Sober Living Environment helps drive the fact that you are not alone. Knowing that other people care about you and are going through similar experiences can truly be the difference between life and death for someone deeply struggling with their sobriety.
Human beings are designed to be connected. Isolation in prison is one of the worst means of torturing the world’s most dangerous criminals. We need to have communities that are driven with love and compassion to be able to reach out and connect to the disconnected. We need to show those that are suffering from isolation that they are not alone. By continuing to grow these communities and connect with those suffering we will save lives of those that feel lost and forgotten and spread hope and love.