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The Importance of Connection with Other People

It is a common conceptualization around addiction that the opposite of our addictions is connection, rather than sobriety. While sobriety is a main goal of ours when we’re struggling with addiction, another fundamental goal for our overall well-being is cultivating connection, within ourselves and with other people. When we feel disconnected from other people, we feel alone, lonely and isolated. We feel at odds with ourselves because we feel as though we’re wrong, abnormal, weird, bad or shameful. We aren’t open to receiving the support from other people that makes us feel nurtured, loved and cared for. We feel alone with our pain.

Disconnection as a Defense Mechanism

When we’re in this place, we can feel totally overwhelmed and uncertain about how to move forward in our lives. This is especially true as it pertains to how we will go about our recovery. Feeling alone and disconnected from other people makes us that much more likely not to reach out for help. We’re afraid of being judged, shunned and rejected, because oftentimes that has been our experience, and it has been such a painful experience for us that we do our best to avoid going through it again. This can cause us to separate ourselves from other people that much more, to isolate ourselves as a means of protecting ourselves. Disconnecting from other people is often one of our protective coping mechanisms, one of the defense mechanisms we develop to try and protect ourselves from further pain.

Learned Conditioning to Protect Ourselves

Many of us disconnect from other people because this is a pattern we’ve learned from childhood. We might have experienced abandonment, neglect, abuse or some other kind of trauma that pushed us to remove ourselves from other people. We might have felt that our love for others wasn’t reciprocated. We might have been conditioned to believe that it isn’t safe to connect with people. We might have learned that we can’t rely on people, and that we must be self-reliant and independent in order to survive. Our childhoods and everything we experience in our formative years contribute to our subconscious programming, the information that then directs the vast majority of our beliefs moving forward. If we were taught in one way or another that connection to other people makes us unsafe, we will then act on those beliefs as adults, causing us to fully disconnect out of a desire to protect ourselves.

Disconnection Feeds Our Addictions

Feeling this intense disconnection can make us deeply unhappy, and when we don’t have healthy ways to cope with our difficult emotions, many of us use our drugs of choice as solace. We aren’t fostering healthy relationships with other people. Instead, we’re giving our time and energy to patterns that don’t serve us and that are destructive and toxic for us. We’re not learning the importance of nurturing relationships, and we’re not receiving all of the benefits of them. We’re becoming more entrenched in our own harmful habits rather than connecting with other people, supporting them and being supported by them. We find over time that disconnection can absolutely feed our addictive patterns, causing us more unhappiness, pain and isolation that we then try to soothe with our addictions.

Connection Through Service

One of the most profound ways of connecting with other people is through serving and helping others. Service can help us to feel more fulfilled and can bring us a sense of purpose when we’ve been feeling empty, unhappy and unfulfilled in our lives for so long. By helping others we begin to feel more whole, more at peace within ourselves, more grounded, and more centered. There are countless ways we can serve – by volunteering with a local school, program or organization, by taking on a leadership role in our support groups, by asking people in our communities what needs there are and how we can help. Service doesn’t have to be huge undertakings, it can be small steps we take that have a big impact – cleaning up a neighborhood garden and seeing how much our seemingly small action can make a noticeable difference, helping a neighbor and feeling their immense gratitude, helping to lift someone else’s burden and feeling grateful we could be of service.

Sharing Time with People

Another way we can help ourselves to connect is by finding ways to be around people more, even in small increments if we’re still feeling restless or uneasy around people. Some of us experience social anxiety, so we want to be patient with ourselves and nurture ourselves as we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We can simply ask someone in our lives to be there for us, even in small ways, by stopping by on their way home from work or giving us a call from time to time. We can ask a friend to check on us. We can ask a loved one to spend some time with us. We can think of fun things to do with the people in our lives. We can join in a neighborhood event and allow ourselves to become part of the community, rather than always isolating ourselves and separating ourselves from the people around us.

Shifting Our Energy

Any time we are able to connect with other people, even in small, seemingly insignificant ways, we are changing our patterns, shifting our energy and adopting new habits that will serve us over time. We are giving ourselves more light and love, when for years we’ve been used to keeping ourselves in darkness and isolation. We’re slowly but surely lifting our depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, and we’re giving ourselves helpful means of connecting that take us away from our drugs of choice. We’re developing new patterns and coping mechanisms, we’re transforming our energy, and we’re discovering that connection can make us so much happier and more fulfilled than our addictions ever could.

Are you ready to take the first step on your journey to recovery?

Call The Guest House today! 855-483-7800.

3230 Northeast 55th Avenue Silver Springs, FL 34488