Loneliness Is a Killer!
/ Author: CLAC Staff
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Loneliness Is a Killer!

Addiction can be incredibly lonely.

As consumption increases over time, alcoholics and addicts tend to isolate from loved ones to use with impunity. They do this to protect their addiction and avoid uncomfortable feelings and judgments that may come from others. They compulsively seek the comfort and relief that their substances once provided, and they are truly baffled by its elusiveness.

Addicts and alcoholics often feel misunderstood until they access support, especially when they meet others in recovery.

Support system members can function in different ways. Some people fill a variety of roles, while others may offer only a single type of support.

Here are some of the different functions of support system members.

Role Models

People who can help define goals for positions one might assume in the future. Role models not only show what is possible, they are a valuable source of information about the opportunities and challenges associated with a given role.

Common Interests

People who share common interests or concerns can be especially helpful when it comes to motivation and sorting out problems that are primarily imposed by the larger system and require collective activity to bring about change within that system.

Close Friends

People who help provide nurturance and caring, who enjoy some of the same interests, and keep you from becoming isolated and alienated.


People who can be depended upon in a crisis to help. These people are often experts like counsellors, psychologists, faith leaders, etc. These people typically do not maintain an ongoing personal relationship with the people they help.

Self Help and Mutual Support Groups

The two most popular programs for people who want to stop using substances are 12-step recovery programs and a program called SMART Recovery. Although the goal for both programs is sobriety and both hold meetings, the fundamental difference between the two is that the 12-step programs are based on spiritual growth and SMART Recovery takes a more secular, science-based approach to personal growth and recovery.

  • 12-Step Programs—Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) began in 1935, and since then, similar programs have emerged to address difficulties with other substances and behaviours. These include Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and most recently, Marijuana Anonymous (MA). The programs all work to help people stay clean and sober, one day at a time. 12-step meetings can be found virtually anywhere around the world.
  • SMART Recovery—SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) began in 1994 and is an online mutual support program that uses science-based approaches that emphasize self empowerment and self reliance. Participants have free access to online recovery resources, and unlike 12-step programs, participants determine their own plan for change. SMART Recovery can be used as a standalone program or in combination with other recovery paths. SMART Recovery recognizes that participants are uniquely qualified to become experts on their own recovery. SMART Recovery is an international program that offers meetings online and in person.

CLAC Can Help

If you are a CLAC member and need help, have questions, or want to speak with a Substance Abuse Case Manager, please call 877-863-5154 or email sacm@clac.ca All inquiries will be handled in the strictest of confidence. To learn more about SACM and access more resources, log into myCLAC.ca and select My Life and then My Wellness.


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