A primary psychological symptom of addiction illness is isolation.
This symptom can precede dependence on alcohol or other drugs. On the surface, it can appear as distancing one’s self from a situation, placing a shield between one’s soul and the “outside” world.
The root causes of this type of isolation can range from shame and embarrassment to one’s inside world view. At some point, most individuals with addiction disease feel ill-equipped to deal with life’s demands, frustrated by interpersonal relations, or simply unworthy.
As the disease advances from “at-risk” stages to full dependency, isolation becomes entrenched – forming a wall, reinforcing faulty thinking, and strengthening denial. Pain associated with this separation becomes severe. The intuitive need to medicate this pain drives us to even more drinking and drugging.
While healing from addiction requires significant internal transformation, it is the connection to others that restores the appropriate arrangement of human beings on the common mission of survival and wholesome living. Human beings are born to rely on each other. Few images of life are as distracting and false as the lone hero building a future through fierce independence and self-reliance.
A major reason Twelve Step groups are effective is that they provide a platform for connection. When a person suffering from addiction sees and talks with another sufferer, the healing begins.
A useful direction is initiated when one alcoholic or addict opens up to another who shares the feelings of addictive pain but has begun the path to recovery. In time, and as trust is rewarded, the individual learns to open up to a small group in recovery. Trust is awakened as a useful tool, rather than a foolish risk.
Continuing the healing, connection expands and multiplies to restore family and work relationships. As mature recovery develops, the person on the recovery journey sees everyone differently, replacing fear with a new knowledge that we are all family, and that we share our experience, personal growth and hope with all our spiritual siblings on this unique and wonderful planet.