One symptom of a substance use disorder (SUD) that may often be overlooked is the feeling of isolation. You may be so deep into your addiction that you do not even realize how isolated you have become from others. One day you might look up and realize you have pushed your family and friends away. Or you may intentionally isolate yourself with the idea that it is best for you so that you can partake alone. Yet, isolation can cause you to spiral further into your addiction and make it harder for you to reach out for help.
As a man, being vulnerable may not be something that comes easily to you. Whether it is from the toxic masculinity that society has created or simply how you were raised, it is often thought that men should conceal their emotions. This can lead to you finding unhealthy coping strategies to help you deal with these uncomfortable feelings like shame, guilt, and denial. When it comes to having a successful recovery, vulnerability and finding emotional connection in recovery are both key to maintaining a sober lifestyle.
How Addiction Causes Isolation
Addiction can be an incredibly lonely disease. While alcohol and drug use can cause its own spiral into isolation, it can be common to use substances to combat the loneliness that is already experienced in life. This creates a vicious cycle that ultimately can keep you deep in your addiction. In other scenarios, isolation can become more of a symptom of preexisting substance use. Once your body begins to crave alcohol or drugs, your sole goal in life is to now satisfy those cravings. This can cause you to only seek out opportunities to get drunk or high and partake in spaces where you are away from others.
You may also become embarrassed of who you have become when under the influence. You may behave in ways you later feel ashamed of when you use. For instance, alcohol might cause you to become more aggressive or angry, impacting the people around you. This can also cause your friends or family to push you away so they can protect themselves. This can bring about alienation, which can lead to isolation because you learn to naturally distance yourself from them.
The Power of Emotional Connection
For many centuries, it has been taught that the more masculine a man is, the fewer emotions he should show. The damage with that stereotype is the resulting idea that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. Yet, emotions come with being a human and are not specific to one gender over the other. Addiction can bring about many intense and uncomfortable emotions, such as:
- Low-self esteem
Maintaining close relationships with the people around you can help bring out many positive emotions such as happiness, hope, and fulfillment. Many studies have shown that people often tie their sense of self-worth and sense of belonging to the quality and quantity of connections they have around them. This means that, the stronger and more fulfilling your relationships are, the better your mental health will be. This offers many benefits for you while in recovery, as the quality of your mental health is simultaneous to problems with addiction and drug use.
Why Vulnerability Is Important for Long-Term Recovery
Vulnerability is being completely open to someone and expressing who you are and what you feel. As a man, vulnerability can feel uncomfortable at first if you have never allowed yourself to be open with others or yourself. When you decide that you are ready to take the first step toward recovery, you will quickly learn that you will have to be vulnerable. That is because, to start your recovery process, you will first have to learn that it will require you to admit to yourself that you need help. Being vulnerable with yourself means looking inward and realizing what you have been struggling with.
It is essential to acknowledge that needing help is not a bad thing or something you should be ashamed of. Recovery is a lifelong process, meaning there will be many ups and downs. You should not have to go through it alone, and quite frankly, you cannot do so successfully. Treatment centers, doctors, and other resources are available strictly to help you get through these situations.
When you build emotional connections, you also learn to build trust. Trusting the people around you means you can rely on them. Opening up to your friends and family allows you to create deeper connections and a sense of closeness. This benefits you in long-term recovery because you are creating a support group for yourself. Your family and friends have probably watched you struggle with addiction and will have a stronger desire to help you stay sober.
Vulnerability and emotional connections are also crucial to long-term recovery because they can help prevent relapses. Relapse happens when you break your sobriety by engaging in the act of drinking alcohol or consuming a substance. On the road to long-term sobriety, you may experience cravings or triggers that might tempt you to want to use again. Being able to safely open up to your support system and being vulnerable with them can help prevent you from relapsing and taking a step back in your recovery. Recovery will require daily commitment, which is why it is necessary to have connections around you that you can lean on and trust to help keep you on track.
Healing Pines Recovery is a treatment center dedicated to helping men overcome their addictions. Our treatment center offers a welcoming and safe atmosphere that will help aid in teaching our clients how to let their guard down and accept the help they need.
One of the core aspects of living a fulfilling life is to create emotional connections with the people around us. During our clients’ residential stay, they will have the opportunity to go through individual, group, and family therapy which are all led by our licensed clinicians. Here you will learn how to dig deep within yourself and identify what you have been struggling with that has led to addiction while strengthening the relationships that have been damaged along the way.
Call us at 720-575-2621 to learn more about how we can benefit your recovery process today.