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The Effects of Addiction on our Friendships

Those of us struggling with addiction and mental illness are no strangers to isolation. We isolate ourselves from the outside world and from the people who care about us. Often our isolation comes from a place of fear. We fear being judged and rejected. We fear being confronted on our issues. We fear leaving our comfort zone and pushing ourselves to do the difficult work of recovery. When we isolate ourselves, we miss out on all the wonderful benefits of friendship. We lose the opportunity to love and be loved, to help others and be helped by them.

Throughout the course of our struggles with addiction, we tend to accrue all kinds of relationship issues. We experience intense interpersonal conflict, painful endings to our important relationships, and burned bridges full of anxiety and frustration. When we haven’t learned how to have healthy relationships with other people and when we haven’t found a sense of inner peace within ourselves, it’s impossible to have peace with others. We come to associate friendship with difficulty, stress, effort and overwhelm. Many of us start to believe that the difficulty isn’t worth it in the end, so we stop trying. We resign ourselves to being alone, and we think we don’t need other people in our lives.

Our friendships are like reflections of us. Just like our other relationships, they can mirror back to us our wounds, our fears and our unresolved pain. When we have issues within us that have yet to be healed, we often direct them towards other people and they become issues in our relationships. We create conflict out of our own unresolved personal problems. We transfer our pain onto the people closest to us. We often are in denial about the severity of our pain and choose to turn a blind eye to it, focusing instead on the drama of our relationships because it can provide a form of temporary escape. Our issues with our friends can be easier to handle than the deep pain we’re trying to avoid within us. As our issues intensify, many of us decide we don’t want to deal with them anymore, and we separate ourselves entirely, breaking off friendships that took years to build. We convince ourselves we’re better off without them, and even though we miss them, we keep our distance. Our relationships often become another casualty of our addiction.

At Enlightened Solutions, our treatment programs include therapy, spiritual care, mentoring, holistic healing and trauma support, to help you heal yourself and your relationships. Call (833) 801-LIVE today.

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