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Why is Isolation So Bad for Us?

When we are struggling with addictions and mental health issues, many of us have a tendency to isolate ourselves from other people. We retreat from the world and from our loved ones. We stop participating in the things we once enjoyed. We don’t communicate with other people about how we’re doing, and they often worry about our wellbeing. We think isolating is the better thing to do because we’re afraid of burdening, troubling and inconveniencing other people. We might feel prideful or afraid to ask for help. We have such a hard time wrapping our brains around our challenges, and an even harder time trying to speak about them, that sometimes we stop talking altogether. Shutting down, keeping too much inside and suppressing our emotions are all extremely toxic for our health.

When we isolate we also tend to ruminate. We dwell on our issues which compounds them, causing them to grow and grow until they’ve completely overwhelmed us. Our racing thoughts and anxiety can contribute to all kinds of health issues including insomnia, drastic weight loss or gain, and high blood pressure. We can suffer breakdowns in our mental, emotional and physical health. When we are living with these things alone, we often have no one and nothing to help us interrupt these very toxic cycles. We are alone in our self-destructiveness, and we retreat into our sadness, fear and shame.

We are meant to help each other in life. When we isolate, we don’t receive all the benefits that come from being in community with other people – sharing wisdom and guidance, offering love and support, receiving the help we need. We’re not meant to suffer alone, in silence. There are people around us, already in our lives or who we have yet to meet, who want to help us, who have lived through very similar struggles, who can offer us the support we need. Isolating ourselves cuts us off from all of that.

When we don’t feel we deserve love, we close ourselves off to it. Choosing to open up to people requires that we have a certain level of honesty, humility and vulnerability, and it’s far from easy, but the love we receive is our reward. Be brave, and allow yourself to be supported and cared for. We have a much greater chance for a successful recovery when we allow ourselves to benefit from all of the healing tools, support and helpful guidance other people can provide.

Many of us are in recovery ourselves and have personal experience with these issues. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.