4 Tips to Maintain Social Connection in Recovery

We know that humans are social creatures. Throughout our history, our survival has hinged upon our ability to form relationships and build community. Today, social connection is an important part of a healthy, well-rounded life, especially for those of us in recovery.

In his TED Talk, journalist Johann Hari famously said, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection.” Studies have shown that connection helps reduce anxiety and depression, improve self esteem, and even lengthen your life. Unfortunately, the inverse is true for those struggling with isolation or loneliness.

Here are four tips to maintain connection:

Think of connection as self-care.

In the same way you might make time to take a spa day or visit your therapist, prioritize relationship-building activities like having a meal with a loved one, calling a friend or sponsor, and maintaining involvement in communal activities.

Find a community that aligns with your values and goals.

This can look like a group hobby you enjoy, like cycling or yoga; a spiritual community, such as your local church; or even a group with similar goals, such as recovery or wellness-based communities. Don’t give up; there’s a place for you that inspires fellowship, joy and wellbeing.

Focus on acts of service.

If you’re struggling to build relationships, consider shifting your focus towards helping others. You can try volunteering for your community, offering support to friends and family in a stressful season, or simply working small acts of kindness into your day. Helping others creates a sense of connection and purpose, and studies have shown it has many of the same benefits as social connection.

Ask for help

Sometimes, we may not feel well enough to focus on external relationships and community. If you’re struggling with mental health or sobriety, remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. Ask for help, either from a friend, a loved one, or an experienced professional.

If you or someone you love could use support with alcohol or substance use recovery, The Lumos Group offers one-on-one mentorship, advocacy and companionship for people in all stages of healing. Tap here to start a conversation about how we can help.

Interested in learning more about the importance of connection and how it relates to addiction? Check out this article from Psychology Today.

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