Entering rehab can be a scary prospect for anyone, but for someone who is introverted, the thought of group meetings and regular social situations can be off-putting. Introverts may even dismiss going to rehab, thinking that they would be better off solving the problem on their own. The word introvert comes from Latin and means “inward-turning”. While introverts aren’t necessarily anti-social, they find comfort in solitude. The Urban Dictionary defines introvert as “a person who is energized by spending time alone”. For those of us that fit that mold, here are several tips on how to make rehabilitation more comfortable.
Make a friend
While this may seem like a big first step, having one person who you are friendly with can make it easier to be in group situations without feeling like a complete outsider. When you first enter rehab you are bound to be approached by at least one person. Take this opportunity to connect with them and allow them to show you the ropes. As an introvert, it can be challenging to attend group meetings without knowing anyone and feeling like all eyes are on you. Having a friend at meetings can help you to feel less conspicuous.
Plan for some alone time
For introverts, alone time is needed to recharge the batteries. Whether it’s reading a book or simply being alone with your thoughts, it’s crucial to maintaining balance. Spending a lot of time with others can make you feel drained and even anxious. Cheryl Strayed said, “Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” Talk to your counselor about your needs and make sure to plan out time to just be alone. Just knowing that you have time set aside for just yourself can help make interacting with others when needed easier.
Don’t feel like you have to be an open book to everyone. While you should open up to your primary counselor and be truthful, you don’t have to tell your life story to everyone who asks. Most people you’ll meet at rehab will be willing to give you your space if you just ask. Share as much or as little as you’re comfortable with, and in time you’ll feel more open to connecting with others on a deeper level. Try not to isolate yourself, though. Talking with others really does help, but don’t feel like you have to with everyone all of the time.
There is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Make sure to tell your counselors and those who conduct your initial assessment. Let them know that you desire to participate, but express any concerns you may have. People are introverted to varying degrees, and you may be more or less comfortable with things than someone else. It’s important to let them know exactly what makes you feel shy or closed off. The initial assessment is also the time to discuss your needs and other concerns you may have. They can let you know the options that are available to you.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
While it may be tempting to hide away in a corner, this kind of behavior is dangerous and detrimental when done too often or to the extreme. Make sure you are around people, even if you’re not actively participating in the conversations at first. Once you become familiar with people you may find yourself feeling less anxious and wanting to open up more to others.
Recognize Your Strengths
You might not realize it, but being an introvert gives you an advantage during rehabilitation and recovery. Many times throughout treatment you’ll be given the opportunity for self-reflection, and this is something that introverts tend to excel at. This allows you to gain more than someone who has trouble looking inward and tends to be too focused on the world around them. Meditation may also come easier to you as an introvert than to someone else who is extroverted.
Remember, You Are Not Alone
There’s a good chance that you won’t be the only introvert in the room. While you are in group meetings take a look around and see if you notice others who seem a bit quieter or withdrawn. These people may be introverts just like you! One benefit of befriending other introverts is that you’ll be able to understand and respect each other’s need for quiet alone time better than others. It is important to try and form at least some meaningful connections while in treatment, but think of quality over quantity. It’s better to have one or two good friends than to have several acquaintances.
Contact Clearbrook Today
Remember, entering rehab is outside of everyone’s comfort zone. Please do not let this stop you from seeking the help that you need. If you or someone you know needs treatment, we will be happy to help. For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been treating alcoholism and chemical dependency. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today. Recovery is possible…and it starts here!