Our struggles with addiction are often compounded by our battles with mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety, as well as the different kinds of anxiety disorders we experience such as social anxiety. Our mental illnesses can make coping with our addictions and trying to recover from them that much harder. When we have social anxiety, we can be afraid of being in public, interacting with other people, communicating, and expressing ourselves. We can be afraid of confrontation, conflict and even conversation. Our intense fears can cause us to isolate ourselves because we’re afraid to be judged by other people or even to be seen. Our social anxiety can be so debilitating we’re terrified to leave the house, sometimes for months or years on end. When we’re suffering from social anxiety, it can be a block to our recovery from addiction because we’re so afraid of communicating with other people that we never reach out for help.
When we have social anxiety, we’re not just afraid of speaking to people, we’re also afraid of the vulnerability that comes along with it. We’re afraid of exposing ourselves and leaving ourselves vulnerable to people’s judgment, unkindness or mistreatment. A huge part of addiction recovery is being able to be open about our difficult issues and our painful thoughts and feelings. When we’re unable to open ourselves up to other people and confide in them, we have a very hard time letting them in to help us. We don’t reach out for support, even when we desperately need it. We miss out on valuable resources, guidance and wisdom that could help us to recover.
There are many ways in which our mental health issues can block our recovery, and with social anxiety, our inability to express ourselves and advocate for ourselves can act as impediments to our healing. We’re afraid to tell people how much we’re suffering, and we’re afraid to let them in when they might be able to help us. Part of recovering from our addictions is also working to heal from the mental health issues that are holding us back. We can use therapy, group therapy, energy healing, and writing to help ourselves heal the underlying issues fueling our difficulties and to address the potential causes of our social anxiety, such as a traumatic experience that caused us to silence ourselves and suppress our feelings thereafter, or someone making us feel as though we weren’t good enough which caused us to fear interaction moving forward. In order to heal from our addictions, we want to be able to develop the confidence, self-assuredness and inner peace we need to be able to connect with other people and to allow them to support us.
If you’re struggling with addiction, you’re not alone. Reach out for support. The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery. We’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.