If your mental health team has recommended an intensive outpatient program,…
Addiction is a complex disease. For many people, it combines physical predisposition and environmental factors. The life circumstances that can encourage people to initially turn to substances as a coping mechanism tend to be the same circumstances that discourage people from being genuinely vulnerable. However, to be successful in recovery, it is vital to embrace vulnerability and open up to authentic connections.
At its heart, addiction is a lonely thing. It pushes away loved ones, with many people with an addiction finding themselves estranged or semi-estranged from family members and friends at some point in time. While you may have friends in the addiction, those friendships are based on self-harming behaviors. Even if you have genuine love and affection for people, friendships with people who use them can be toxic to you unless they are also recovering. So, many people with an addiction do not have and do not know how to create genuine connections with other people.
While detox is the first step to rehab, addressing physical symptoms is only the first step. Without additional treatment, most addicts will begin to use again. After all, something led them to substances in the first place. So, to avoid relapse, it is essential to address those underlying issues. Some people struggling with addiction ignore the environment’s role in addiction. They may think of addiction as a personal weakness if they do not have a sufficiently traumatic past. However, your environment does not have to be dramatically toxic to encourage addiction. Any environment that makes it more challenging to connect with people can help foster the isolation that drives a lot of drug use.
Most drug abusers would describe themselves as hardened. That makes sense. The more profound people spiral into addiction, the more likely they are to experience loss due to that addiction. However, facing that loss would mean tackling the role that addiction plays in it, which is something many people with an addiction cannot do. Therefore, they put on a façade and act like these losses do not hurt them. Hardening and shielding can make it impossible to establish real connections. Even worse, they can make maintaining any relationships you may already have impossible. Combine that with the dishonest behavior often accompanying addiction, and it is easy to see why substance abusers may feel all alone.
Through our rehab process, we help teach our clients how to break down those mental walls and shields. Connecting with people is much more effective at conquering loneliness than any substance. However, it requires a vulnerability that can be terrifying for many people when in recovery. We do not attempt to teach you not to fear those interactions. Vulnerability can be frightening, especially with people you may have hurt during your addiction. However, we can teach you how to embrace vulnerability, even when it is terrifying.