Council Administrative Offices | 215.345.6644 -- Information, Intervention, Recovery Support Line | 1.800.221.6333

Coping with Lonely Moments in Recovery

LonelyWhen I started my journey of alcohol and other drug addiction recovery, I learned an easy-to-use guide to help steer me away from danger and keep me on my positive path. I was told to NEVER allow myself to get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. These feelings and biological experiences may lead a person to use a substance to help them cope with those uncomfortable feelings. I learned to HALT whenever I had these feelings and stop and think before acting and choose a more positive means to cope. It is an effective tool and twenty-two years later, I am still using it!   

Continuing our HALT series, we are focusing on LONELY (the forgotten middle child of HALT). While it may be relatively easy to identify when you are hungry, angry, or tired because of the observable physiological identifiers, loneliness is trickier. Loneliness can creep up on you and before you realize it, you are sinking in a bog of depression that is hard to escape. Loneliness is difficult to describe, very subjective, and differs from person to person. You may have heard people say that they can feel lonely in a room full of people. We all have felt lonely at times. For me, it takes the form of isolation. 

Let me give you a little bit of my history: I experience social anxiety which means that I prefer to be alone. I am also the youngest of seven kids, married with an 11 month old child, and work in the helping field, which keeps me constantly surrounded by people. In fact, I dream about being alone! Every fiber of my being tells me to get away from what is causing these uncomfortable feelings and in the past, I used alcohol and other drugs to cope. 

We are social beings and like it or not being around people, POSITIVE people, is healthy for us. When we isolate, we tend to get in our heads and get stuck thinking negative and often depressing thoughts. We need to HALT, and make a decision to get out of ourselves. The key to this is to learn what your own personal signs of loneliness are and then do something about it. For some people, myself included, this can be a daunting task. PRO-ACT offers recovery support services that can help a person with loneliness. 

At PRO-ACT’s Philadelphia Recovery Center (PRCC), we have fun alcohol and drug free social activities every Friday. We call it Fun Fridays and  do things like karaoke, line dancing, board games, music and being around fun and positive people. On Friday, October 31st  from 5 – 7:30 pm we are having a Halloween Party with a prize for the best costume! 

The PRCC offers a meditative class called “Being Present” to help you get out of dwelling on your past or worrying about the future. The class is a series held on Wednesdays from 1:45 to 3 pm. If you prefer one-to-one interaction, you can sit down with a Certified Recovery Specialist to create a Recovery Plan which can be your map to your recovery journey. Call us at 215-223-7700 for more information on these programs. 

Volunteering is another great way to get out of yourself and focus on helping others. We have many volunteer activities to choose from. To get involved contact our PRO-ACT Volunteer Coordinators:  In Philadelphia call She-Ria Bethea 215-223-7700 x102 and John Carlson at  215-923-1661; in Southern Bucks call Karen Burke at 215-788-3738 x100; in Central Bucks call Rick Petrolawicz at 215-345-6644.

If you feel that your loneliness is more severe and you are considering professional help, call our Information/Intervention Helpline at 1-800-221-6333 to find resources in your area.

Sean E. Brinda, MSW, CCDP Diplomate
Senior Peer Services Coordinator

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