I watched this really great video from the In a Nutshell series a few years ago on how the antidote to addiction is connection rather than just denial of the substance/thing we are addicted to.
“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection”
Isolation is addiction’s best friend. For most people, when they are acting out in an addictive behaviour there is a secrecy and shame around it that, in many scenarios, means they end up doing it alone or increasingly distancing themselves from others.
For me connection with others has been a key part of addressing my addictive behaviours. First and foremost through recovery meetings and fellowship, but secondly in making sure I don’t isolate myself in my daily life. This is especially important now I live alone and work from home.
Don’t get me wrong I love my alone time and my own space, I can get overwhelmed by too much time with others and need peace and quiet, but now that takes the shape of more healthy rest and self care than it does as a breeding ground for depression, anxiety and self-destructive behaviours.
Since moving to Folkestone I’ve thrown myself in to getting involved in the community and making new friends. In the last week I have spent my weekends, evenings and even my lunch breaks doing things that have connected me to new people and got me out of the house. I went and helped out at the New Romney Country Fair a few weeks ago, I volunteer with Action on Homeless, have met new friends for coffee and popped into the local community radio station to plan my pilot show, which is very exciting. I went to a yoga and meditation workshop, attended a networking event, joined The Red Tent (a supportive women’s group), started doing Run Talk Run and attended a charity clothes swap among many other things.
Most of these things have come about as a result of being a member of the Folkestone Ladies Social Club, which I love. It gets me out of the house after a day at home working and has helped me to make lots of wonderful new connections. Most of the events mean I have still had some downtime to myself afterwards at home and haven’t been out late. This is the perfect balance for me as I like to get an early night and plenty of sleep!
Living close to my family also means I get to spend time with them regularly which is important to me. I was spending a lot of time alone when I lived in London, especially at the weekends. Moving back home to be with my family and with people who love me was the most healing thing I could have done.
We have the illusion these days that we are more connected than ever with technology linking us digitally to friends and family all over the world but in many ways we are becoming more disconnected from reality. You only need to walk down the street and see how many people are not looking where they are going just staring at their phones not engaging with or acknowledging the real people around them.
It’s all about balance. If it wasn’t for social media I wouldn’t be a member of the FLSC or have done half of those things above. There’s also lots of great chats on there. I love being able to see what friends I don’t see all the time are up to and when my sister lived in South Africa I was so grateful for Skype so I could video chat with her and see my nephew, however, I never underestimate the power of real life authentic human contact and connection any more. To me it has a power to lift the spirit like nothing else.