Building Healthy and Meaningful Connections This Year

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As we approach a new year, we might start to consider making changes. Many people celebrate New Year’s as a time to reflect upon the past year and move forward for something even better. People in recovery from addiction might feel that they have lost some of the connections in their lives. While addictive behaviors are unhealthy and ultimately need intervention, they do serve some sort of purpose for us when we are addicted. Addiction is usually rooted in a maladaptive means of coping with stress or dealing with life’s problems. Addictive behaviors might help us feel connected with other people. However, without addiction, we can still build healthy and meaningful connections.

Some people may have had an unhealthy influence on our behavior. As we take inventory and examine our lives, we might realize that we need to distance ourselves from others to maintain our sobriety. However, if we do not have something to replace these past friendships, we might continue to feel empty. Recovery is not just about removing all the bad or unhealthy things from our lives. It is about finding healthy replacements that we can keep in our lives without fearing damage to ourselves. 

Finding Meaning in Connections 

Ultimately, connections help us make sense of our lives. They help us find meaning and purpose. Connections validate our existence as the unique person that we are. We might discover these important connections through a number of different avenues. We can connect to nearly everything in our lives, like:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Romantic partners
  • Peers in recovery
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Passions
  • Careers
  • Pets

We can broaden our horizons in 2021 to find meaningful connections through pursuing our passions. As we heal in recovery, we can get back out into the world and live the life of our dreams. Through building strong connections, we can find meaning in life. When we have things in our lives that matter to us, we are more likely to succeed in recovery for fear of losing that which matters most to us.

Exploring and Knowing Yourself

Describing the feeling of connection can be a challenge. Is there an objective way to define this feeling? We usually know a connection when we feel it. Think back to when you first met your best friend or a romantic partner. Recall the first time that you met a new pet or saw your child after giving birth. You know the feeling when you feel it. Hang onto this feeling and remember what it is. The better that you understand what a connection feels like, the more quickly you will be able to recognize this strong bond when you experience it again.

We can connect to things outside of ourselves that do not involve other people. You can build strong bonds in your spiritual life by getting in touch with nature or exploring the outdoors. You might even find meaning in the tasks that you complete when you dive into your passions. Take time this year to explore your passions and interests to foster meaningful connections. 

Connecting With Yourself

An important aspect of recovery is recognizing and acknowledging your own needs. When you take care of yourself, you can form a strong connection to your inner life and self. The stronger this connection, the better you will be at building self-esteem and confidence. Take time each day to meditate or journal to get in touch with your innermost thoughts and feelings. When we know and love ourselves, we can find an inner peace that we might have been searching for during our struggles with addiction. We can sometimes get so caught up in obligations to other people or tasks that are not meaningful to us that we become distracted from connecting with ourselves.

Grieving Your Losses

The act of letting go can be challenging. As you build healthy and meaningful connections, you might reminisce about past friendships and activities. You might feel sorrowful about needing to cut ties with old friends or leave regular hang out spots behind. At some point in your life, these things were valuable to you. While some old friendships may not have been healthy, you can still miss some of the qualities of these things. We find connections and friendships because we, as humans, thrive on them. Sometimes, we seek meaning down a path that leads to destruction. However, our intentions were to find solace, belonging, and peace of mind. As you continue down a brighter, healthier path, acknowledge the grief of walking away, but continue to move forward and find connections that serve you better and don’t cause you pain.

Finding connections with others, ourselves, and the world can help us find meaning and purpose during recovery. Some of us may have had to cut out unhealthy friendships or leave triggering environments to treat our addictions. We might miss these things because, at one point, they were the things that occupied our time and made us feel connected. However, as we stop our bad habits, we make room for healthy ones that lead to growth and change. We can foster stronger bonds with others and develop the relationship that we have with ourselves. We might feel lonely or overwhelmed due to our addiction. We might need additional support and a safe space to learn new ways of looking at life. The Kimberly Center is here to help you connect with others in meaningful ways. We believe that everyone can live the life of their dreams, free from addiction. Call us at (855) 452-3683.  

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