What Is the Difference Between Isolation and Space?

Isolation and giving yourself some space are two separate things. One is restrictive and limiting, while the other is designed to protect yourself and others. Understanding the difference between isolation and space is essential in addiction recovery because everyone needs space now and again — to heal, to think, and to process — but isolation can be detrimental to your progress. Knowing the difference between these two things and choosing the right one can make or break your recovery success.

Isolation Versus Having Some Space

Over the past few years, individuals across the world experienced forced isolation because of COVID-19 restrictions to prevent infectious disease. However, when you are struggling with something like substance use disorder, isolation can exacerbate the problem and worsen mental health concerns. You may think you are protecting other people by hiding or preventing yourself from shame, but in addiction recovery, when you choose to isolate yourself, you restrict yourself from getting the help you deserve.

On the other hand, giving yourself space is a way for you to break free from the crowd and take a moment to breathe and realign yourself. It is different from isolation because having space happens for a brief period with socialization in between versus an extended time of seclusion. Using boundaries and taking some time away from others is essential in addiction recovery because it gives you the chance to meditate and focus on your healing.

In addiction recovery, you learn that self-care is an essential tool in recovery. Self-care involves taking some space and time to yourself when your limits have been reached, or you need to recharge and reconnect. Having some space is more of a break than a continual amount of time away from others.

Isolation and Space in Addiction Recovery

Many individuals who struggle with addiction feel they need to distance themselves from others because of their anxious thoughts and reliance on substances. As a result, it is not uncommon for those struggling with substance use to isolate themselves completely.

Isolation can cause individuals who struggle with substance use to spiral into the lonely circle centered around their current situation. Isolation is counterproductive to sustaining healthy relationships or building healthy emotional constructs. Conversely, having space balances outward connection with inward reflection.

Many people can feel anxious, lonely, and unhappy as they search for the meaning of life. There are many ways to overcome these feelings: some healthy, like seeking counseling, some not so healthy, like abusing drugs or alcohol. Those who choose to self-medicate with harmful substances can find themselves tending toward isolation instead of self-healing. Addiction treatment can teach you how to create a moment in time or break to give yourself some space for self-healing without isolating.

In those space-saving moments, you can meditate and refocus your mindset in a positive direction. Addiction recovery does not promote complete isolation as being fully isolated contributes to self-destruction, and individuals who self-isolate may experience more mental health disorders than those who engage in healthy connection and brief disconnection. When you suffer from loneliness and separation through isolation, you are more at risk for adverse health outcomes.

Addressing Emotions and Feelings Constructively

Those who experience isolation may seek other alternatives to cope with the day-to-day lifestyle. That’s why it is so important in addiction recovery to learn about the differences between isolation and space.

When you learn to promote self-healing with a sense of purpose and practice feel-good modalities in your dedicated space-time, you further progress your goals and develop a healthier way to cope with life's challenges. Addiction recovery teaches you to address your emotions and feelings constructively. It’s essential to reach out to professionals and get the right tools so you can openly discuss your feelings with others. Teaching yourself to create time for yourself every day is crucial when developing healthy habits.

How You Can Avoid Isolation and Find Space in Addiction Recovery

Many individuals use substances and isolation as a means to cope with life's challenges. Life is never easy, but isolating yourself will only make it harder. The right treatment plan can help you learn how to avoid isolating or distancing yourself. The trick is to avoid isolation by having a group of people who care about you and your recovery that you can count on and setting aside a space in your home and time in your day to process and work on your recovery.

If you feel you are inclined to use substances and find yourself more isolated, then reaching out to a professional can guide you in a better direction. Addiction recovery addresses each element of your life and is the first stepping stone to building a healthier lifestyle. At a treatment center, you can learn more specifically how to manage giving yourself space without isolating yourself.

NorthStar Transitions will give you the tools and resources to direct you on a path where you’ll feel more comfortable opening yourself up to others, and you won’t have to feel so alone. We have a team of compassionate professionals who know how tempting isolation can be when you feel overwhelmed or ashamed. We can teach you how to create a space where you have time for yourself, time for your healing, and time for developing healthier habits to handle the stress in your life. You do not need to cope with life’s challenges on your own, with substance use, or ever feel lonely again. With NorthStar Transitions, you will have an individualized treatment plan to follow that gives you your space but will not isolate you from the positive elements of life. If you want to learn more about how you can reconnect with yourself and avoid isolation, talk to NorthStar Transitions at (303) 558-6400.

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