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Warning Signs Of Isolation

Written by O'Connor Professional Group
Published on January 4, 2019

Isolation is a breeding ground for problematic behaviors. Left alone to its own devices, the mind can come up with a million reasons to seek the behaviors it has learned to depend on. Particularly during the early stages of recovery, avoiding isolation at all costs is strongly encouraged. Isolating from others reinforces the negative belief that an individual is all alone in the world, their suffering, and even their recovery. If you feel you or someone you care about is isolating, look for these three signs.


  • Needing more time alone: Even extroverts need time to themselves. Alone time is self-care time. Alone time is a time to refresh and reboot. Everyone in recovery needs alone time, for some period of time, at some point in time. Hints of isolating behaviors start to pop up when someone is needing more and more time alone beyond what is normal for them.
  • Declining social invitations: Community and friends are important forms of support for individuals in recovery. There is no law which says that being in recovery means have to be a social butterfly all of the time. It is strongly suggested, however, that social interactions with others, especially others in recovery, be a frequent activity. Declining social invitations more often than not is a warning sign of isolating behavior. One or two missed opportunities is normal. When excuses start piling up and someone is constantly missing, there may be more going on.
  • Building resentments toward others: Resentments can be defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly”. Going through a treatment process never results in perfection, but progress. Working on letting go of resentments is a daily practice in forgiveness and moving on. When individuals in recovery cannot let go of resentments or move on, they use resentments as an excuse for isolation. Everyone and everything become the enemy, unworthy of time, effort, or attention. Excusing isolating behaviors becomes a practice in blaming others instead of taking emotional responsibility for the self.


Breaking through periods of isolating is a challenge, but not an impossible one. Isolating is a comfortable, enticing place to be in recovery which feeds negative thought and behavioral patterns instead of encouraging new ones. To end a cycle of isolation:

  • Reach out to a friend, family member, or trusted team member
  • Contact your case manager to set up a schedule for attending meetings, group therapy sessions, or mentors
  • Consider hiring a therapeutic recovery coach or a therapeutic recovery companion who will keep you busy and help you recognize isolating behaviors
  • Pick up the phone and ask for help

Let the O’Connor Professional Group take the guesswork out of putting a treatment plan together. Our combined personal and professional experience empowers us to empower you with a private consultation and customized plan of action for getting the help you need. Call us today for information: 617 910-3940

Warning Signs Of Isolation

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