Managing the feelings of loneliness that come with Sobriety

I’m 5 days free of THC after 12 years of consistent, daily smoking since HS.

I’ve seen people talk about how sobriety can feel very lonely, because you start to change, but none of your old friends change with you.
It often means you have to go through a period of loss and grief as you leave old relationships and try to find new ones.

Tonight is my second time experiencing Big Feelings without the aid of any THC to numb me. I have BPD and have struggled with emotional regulation for my whole life, but I’ve had years of therapy at this point and know so many more coping skills. I’m very proud of myself for how much better I’ve learned to take care of myself.

That being said, it wasn’t until 5 days ago that I was ready to admit with my full chest that I’ve been struggling with an addiction. My entire experience with therapy to date have been with weed in my system. I truly do not know myself sober, so I haven’t had to process my feelings to this extent before. I always used smoking to calm me and help me check out, but this would lead to dissociation and eventually depression.

I just want to talk about how it feels like I am a raw nerve when I’m sober. I know that eventually I will have more clarity and Integration, so my emotions won’t feel as intense all the time.
The longest I’ve quit before was 4 months, and that was about 4 years ago. I felt really raw for awhile, but eventually I had a lot of clarity and motivation. I relapsed because I hadn’t admitted it was an addiction, just did it to prove I could, but deep down I knew I wanted to go back to it.
So much of my social circles are based around smoking weed too, so I wasn’t ready to sacrifice that then.

I am now… But it still hurts, and I’m really feeling my inner child tonight as I grieve for feeling alone and afraid. I am afraid I am about to lose all my friends… But if I do lose friends because I no longer smoke pot… That just indicates that our quality time was not authentic. It was about mutually checking out together, and those aren’t the kind of relationships I want to have anyway.

That helps the grief a little bit… But there’s a lot of pain in changing yourself, because no one is guaranteed to come with you, or support you.

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Welcome @Cloud_Aquarius :sunflower:
Thank you for sharing, you are not alone in this change process sobriety and recovery bring with them.
Many of us experience feelings of loneliness as well-known social circles fall away due to no longer using together. It’s normal to grieve the loss of your most used coping mechanism (your DOC) and feelings of social connections that were attached to it. Those parts falling away are making space for new, more healthy experiences and people but of course that chsnge takes time and there is emptiness.
If you want, use the search function above for keywords like loneliness to read around what others share(d) and discuss(ed). It can be helpful to see how people cope, take what’s for you and leave the rest. I found some very helpful posts over time I bookmarked and go back to re-read when I’m feeling low and lonely.

Keep us posted how you are doing!

Hi there, and welcome to the gang!
First, many congratulations on the last 5 days! That is huge. Well done, you! :star:

Your system is bound to be processing a lot. I’m not surprised you are feeling raw, but hang in there. Things will improve.

I am the last person to be handing out advice about addiction, but, in a spirit of friendship, all I would say is be gentle with yourself. Focus on small, manageable steps. Checking in here regularly has helped me enormously. It’s so inspiring to read about others’ journeys and awesome milestones of sobriety.

I really get what you mentioned about time with friends / other users not being authentic. If everyone is simply enabling everyone else, is that the friendship we want?

A bizarre thing happened to me recently. I spoke to an ex-drinking buddy of mine. I was dreading the call as I was going to tell him about my new-found sobriety. Turns out he had opted for sobriety too - and on the same day as me!

I think that people still caught in the downward, inauthentic spiral of addiction will end up envying us. I take no pleasure in this - I hope they too wake up and see that this is just harmful. But, bizarre though it might seem right now, we are probably taking the most meaningful, authentic steps we may ever take. Right now, today!

Sending you very best wishes. You’ve got this! :star::heart:

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