The Connection Between Isolation & Alcohol
Even though humans are naturally social animals, we all need our “alone time” every now and then. While there are ways to use this time in a positive way, such as with meditation or other activities that help with mindfulness, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. For instance, in 2020, we began facing a global pandemic, and many people found themselves stuck at home with limited social interaction.
It’s no secret that isolation, especially forced isolation, can be a problem for many people’s mental health, but it can be particularly rough for those struggling with alcohol addiction. Isolation can happen in someone’s life for any number of reasons, not just a pandemic, so let’s take a look together at some of the connections between isolation and alcohol abuse, and how rehab and recovery can help address them.
Boredom Can Allow Temptation In
Nobody likes to feel bored. As children, we may have mitigated our boredom by turning to an activity that requires the least amount of effort to keep us entertained, such as snacking in front of the television. This mentality doesn’t much change as adults — it’s just that we have access to more dangerous and tempting things to “liven things up.”
So when there are long stretches of nothing to do, or we’re floating through a mindless activity like binge-watching a TV show, having a drink in hand can make it seem a little more fun. However, that’s an empty solution to having real feelings of excitement or happiness.
Putting forth the effort to find something new to occupy your time can be difficult, maybe even frustrating, but it’s healthier than drinking alone. This is why one of the most important aspects of rehab and recovery is finding hobbies that bring you joy and fill your time without the use of substances.
Grief, Stress, and Isolation Make it Feel Like There’s Nowhere Else to Turn
Everyone will at some point experience grief or stress, whether it’s due to the loss of a loved one, a job, or something else important to us. Everyone processes grief differently, and one unfortunate means of coping that people sometimes turn to is alcohol.
Grieving is often accompanied by someone retreating into a shell instead of trying to reach out and find solace with other people. Because alcohol is a depressant, it makes processing grief, stress, and isolation even harder, and damages your body in the process.
But having a drink to “take the edge off” is not a long-term solution and connecting alcohol with these feelings causes a habit to form, creating a vicious cycle. In rehab, your counselors will help you isolate the root causes for your addiction, and help you address some of the feelings that made you turn to substances in the first place.
Easier Access to Alcohol in the Digital Age
One thing that can actively contribute to the temptation to drink is simply its accessibility. When online grocery shopping began to increase in popularity during the pandemic, alcohol was one of the things that people started demanding be delivered; some states even granted permission for restaurants to have beers and cocktails available for takeout.
Having alcoholic beverages so readily accessible between both grocery and takeout deliveries could result in temptation that wouldn’t otherwise be there. In particular, if you’re living alone or in a place where it could be easy to be discreet about ordering alcohol, the temptation to drink can rise.
It’s normal and natural to feel some shame over hiding a drinking habit, so this increased accessibility to alcohol (aided by the relative anonymity of online ordering) fosters a new type of problem. In rehab, individuals struggling with alcohol addiction will learn the tools they need to avoid triggers and maintain their sobriety by addressing temptations that may arise.
Handling Isolation & Alcohol at Extra Mile Recovery
Even though being alone is difficult, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. Sobriety itself can sometimes feel isolating, but at Extra Mile Recovery, part of our holistic approach to rehab is showing people how to handle situations where being the only sober person, or perhaps the only person at all, can still be okay.
We’re an all-male inpatient addiction treatment center located in the quiet, serene forests in Mantachie, MS, where we offer an alcohol rehab program tailored to every person’s individual background and unique experiences. If you or a loved one are struggling with alcoholism, we can help. Make one confidential call to learn more about our life-changing addiction treatment programs today.