How to Handle Addiction Recovery When You're an Introvert


Sober Recovery Expert Author

Recovery can be difficult if you’re an introvert. While you were in addiction, you may have numbed your natural shyness and reticence with drink and drugs. But now you can’t do that anymore.

Though it may not seem like it from the outset, being an introvert can actually help your recovery. Here are some tips to help you use your introverted nature to your advantage.

If you're an introvert, you might find recovery especially difficult. You may have covered up your introversion by drinking and drugging, but now you can use your introversion to enhance your recovery efforts.

1. Accept yourself.

The first thing you need to do is stop seeing your introversion as a burden. That’s what drove you to your habit in the first place. Accept the fact that you feel awkward, inadequate and nervous around people, and that you might just prefer to be alone. Don’t pretend to be an extrovert. Only by being fully yourself can you benefit from recovery. Your therapist can help you with self-esteem and self-acceptance issues. Once you’ve peeled off the layers of deceit and embraced your authentic self, you’ll have no problem cutting yourself from family and friends who urged you to use so you could be less boring to them.

2. Seek social contact.

Joining a support group enables you to listen to others’ experiences and view your own recovery more objectively. But this could be extremely daunting if you’re an introvert. You’ll hate having to stand up and volunteer personal information to complete strangers. It’s bad enough just driving to the meeting. But you can take things slowly. You could start off by simply watching people go in and out of the meeting from the parking lot. Then one day when you’re ready, you can enter the meeting.

Many programs allow you to simply listen in at first and then gradually work your way to opening up about yourself as part of the healing procedure. But you still have the option of declining to talk. When you decide to open up, start with a few positive things about your life. Once you’re more familiar with the group and have made some friends, you can graduate to talking about the more challenging aspects of your life.

If physical meetings are in no way to your liking, you could try online chat rooms and meetings as another option. These outlets allow you to interact meaningfully with other recovering addicts without being physically present with them in a room. Reading blogs by other introverts in recovery can also be helpful because they often illustrate problems from their own recovery that you can use as solutions in your own.

3. Gravitate towards other introverts.

Recovery meetings attract a variety of personalities, including other introverts. You can connect with a few of them and swap ideas on how best to open up at these meetings. These could be the best friends you make. You can learn how they socialize without first being high. And you can pass on your new skills to incoming introverts who are struggling to fit in just as you once did.

4. Turn self-reflection into an advantage.

As an introvert, self-reflection and meditation come naturally to you. You’re used to quietly watching people and situations, mulling things over and thinking up solutions. Nobody does it quite like you. Recovery calls for this kind of skill. With it you’re less likely to give up easily and revert to your old habit because you’re prepared to look for new solutions each time. It’s a technique worth sharing with others at your meetings.

5. Find a sympathetic counselor.

One-on-on counseling works well for you as an introvert, especially if your counselor understands you and if he or she is also an introvert. This person will help you work on your self-esteem and will provide other means of support, including steering you towards meetings with other introverts. In fact, research shows that everyone who is in recovery benefit considerably from receiving professional help[1]. If you're looking for a nearby counselor or therapist, we do offer a list of nearby counseling an therapy centers to help you in your search.

Many people turn to drugs and alcohol to escape their introversion, only for it to return when they become sober again. But introversion has its advantages and when these are applied together with some social interaction, they can actually enhance rather than derail your sobriety.


1. Introverts Can Struggle with Addiction Too. Accessed online on January 2017.

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