Once you’re out of the rehabilitation program, everything will feel different around you. It’s not because people have moved on or mankind has changed overnight, but rather because you are undergoing a transition period. Your eyes are now open and you start seeing things without the alcohol goggles. You are changing.
Unfortunately, the change can be overwhelming and, in your attempt to stick to your objective of keeping clean and sober, you can push people away. Since you are advised to avoid the people and places where you used to drink, some unwillingly become isolated and feel lonely. The feeling of loneliness in recovery is rather tricky and can eventually push you back into using alcohol.
Take the time to grieve the loss
When I got out of rehab, I felt my life had no direction. I wanted to avoid my old ways so much that I refused to get out of the house for an entire month. I was so keen to stay on the right path that I didn’t even want to take phone calls.
I didn’t like it one bit that I was looking at a future without my friends in it. I experienced a feeling similar to losing your best friend. Even though I realized that my relationship with alcohol was one-sided and I wasn’t holding the upper hand, I couldn’t bear the feeling that my life was empty without alcohol.
Later on, I found out that giving up alcohol once and for all is an important loss in a person’s life. Similar to any loss, you must undergo a grieving period during which you are likely to feel overwhelming emotions like anger, shock, and loneliness. However, I can confirm that these feelings are not going to be with you for the rest of your life. Slowly, but surely they are going to decrease in intensity with time.
You’re not alone!
It’s not uncommon for recovering alcoholics to feel like pariahs, and that society has pushed them away and wants nothing to do with them. The emotions you’re undergoing during early recovery can be so overpowering and devastating that you might be tempted to see yourself as an outsider.
I can understand why recovering alcoholics feel helpless and do their best to avoid social interactions. However, I can also tell you that there are numerous people in your exact situation and who are confronted with the same issues. If I were able to go back in time to the period of my early recovery, then I would urge myself to join a support group sooner.
The importance of spending time with others during recovery cannot be stressed enough. Not only do these meetings help you realize there are other people with similar struggles out there, but they can teach you a thing or two about how to cope with the new you. Moreover, the people there are ready to provide a sympathetic shoulder and offer you with honest feedback. Who else could possibly understand exactly what you’re going through other than people who are undergoing the same changes as you?