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The Benefits of Solitude and Separation

Sometimes as we’re undertaking our recovery process, we can feel totally overwhelmed by our relationships and the many issues related to them. Our family members, friends, and partners are often immersed in our struggles with our addiction because they care about us, have been supporting us and want to be there for us. Similarly, we’re helping them with their challenges as well, and we might be in codependent relationships or have codependent dynamics where we rely too heavily on each other to cope. While we might appreciate each other’s support and find it to be helpful, sometimes the close proximity of our relationships can be detrimental to our healing, especially if we live together or see each other often. This is because we’re usually contending with all of the issues in the relationship, in addition to all of the personal issues we’re facing individually. We’re dealing with our loved ones’ struggles with addiction and mental illness, in addition to our own. We often don’t have the time, space or energy to fully devote to our own recovery because we’re busy helping our loved ones with theirs. We aren’t dedicating our full internal resources to our own healing, and we’re often sacrificing our needs and compromising ourselves for the people we care about.

Feelings of Guilt and Obligation

Many times we feel a sense of obligation to our loved ones. We care about them, but we also feel obligated to help them, perhaps because they’ve helped us in the past, or because they don’t have anyone else supporting them in their recovery. We might be their sole caregiver. They might have identified us as being their only friend. We hate the thought of leaving them alone to suffer. We can’t imagine separating ourselves and thereby giving them another source of pain to contend with. The thought of separating ourselves from them in order to focus on our own healing fills us with guilt and shame. Many of us have loved ones who are totally dependent on us, whether emotionally, physically or financially, and we feel that if we leave them to handle their recovery on their own, they’ll only suffer more, and they won’t ever be able to get better. We feel responsible for their well-being and their recovery. We’ve taken on the responsibility for their daily lives as well as their healing.

Lacking Personal Responsibility in Recovery

Not only are these patterns of codependence harmful to us in our recovery, but they can also be harmful to our loved ones as well because they take away each of our personal responsibility, autonomy, and commitment in our own recovery. We are not as dedicated to our healing when someone else is taking care of us. We’re not as committed to our recovery when we’re leaning on someone else to do our recovery work for us. We’re not doing the emotional work needed to heal when we’re caught up in harmful emotional patterns with our loved ones. We might have subconsciously come to believe that we’re unable to heal ourselves without someone else’s help. We might believe that we are incomplete, unworthy and inadequate without the love and support of someone else. These are problematic limiting beliefs because they chip away at our feelings of self-assuredness, confidence and inner strength. We become convinced that we can’t recover on our own, and we constantly look to others to lift us up rather than doing the work to uplift ourselves. We become emotionally needy and dependent, sometimes being totally unable to stand on our own. We fail to work at our recovery because we’re waiting for someone else to do it for us.

Reconnecting With Self

Sometimes in order to fully recover, we have to shed the feelings of allegiance, guilt, and obligation we have in our relationships so that we can learn to be independent and stand on our own. To this end, sometimes our healing requires that we give ourselves distance from our loved ones. We have to discover who we are as individuals, separate from the dynamics of our family, friend and partner relationships. We have to figure out who we are apart from the roles we’ve taken on in these relationships. Sometimes giving ourselves time for separation and solitude is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our recovery. Giving ourselves this time enables us to gain clarity on the issues that have been confusing and painful for us for so long. Sometimes with distance, we’re able to be more honest and open with ourselves because we’re not contending with our loved ones’ avoidance, manipulation, and dishonesty. We’re able to connect with ourselves in deeper ways because we’re not being distracted constantly by their input, their opinions, and interference. We’re able to be more objective with ourselves because solitude can help us to look at the big picture in a more broad, all-encompassing way. We start to develop and practice our own coping skills, rather than blindly following in the unhealthy coping mechanisms we’ve adopted from our loved ones. We’re able to learn valuable insights about ourselves as individuals and do important soul-searching work without always having to contend with the unresolved issues in our relationships. Very often taking time apart gives us the space to be able to practice forgiveness, which is something so many of us struggle with within our relationships. Sometimes being alone to focus on our healing and practicing healthy detachment in our relationships is exactly what we need to address our recovery in insightful, connected, meaningful ways.

At The Guest House Ocala, our experience with addiction and recovery makes us uniquely equipped to be able to understand the struggles you’re experiencing.

We’re here to help.

Call 855-483-7800 today for more information on our treatment programs.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488