Generally speaking, extroverts are people who get energy from being around other people, while introverts are people who get energy from being alone. While few people are completely extroverted or introverted, generally falling somewhere in the middle, most people tip at least a little towards extraversion. This can be a major advantage in addiction recovery because much of the process of overcoming addiction is social. Group therapy is often very effective and is a common element of addiction treatment. And having strong family relationships and sober friends is one of the best ways of protecting against relapse. However, extroverts may also have some specific challenges in recovery.
Perhaps the biggest challenge extroverts face in addiction recovery is peer pressure. Often, people who take their cues from people around them and highly value social acceptance are also more vulnerable to social influence. This can be a major factor in why people start using drugs and alcohol in the first place. After treatment, it may be hard for extroverts to resist spending time with old friends who still drink or use drugs. The relatively isolated period of early recovery may be more difficult to get through. The good news is that extroverts tend to make new friends more quickly than introverts. They often find it easier to participate in mutual aid groups and connect with others in the group. Once these new connections have been established, peer pressure can actually work in their favor.
Another challenge extroverts face, especially in treatment, is that they are typically less aware of what’s going on in their own heads. Introverts often have the opposite problem–being too aware of what’s going on in their own heads. While introverts can get wrapped up in their own thoughts, it does make therapy a little easier if you can communicate what you’re thinking and feeling. It often takes a lot more work for extroverts to figure out and articulate what’s happening behind the scenes. This can also cause problems after treatment, when faced with stress and cravings. One way to overcome this problem is to keep a journal or diary and practice articulating your thoughts and feelings. Studies have shown that the more accurately you can identify emotions, the more control you have over them.
Extroverts are also more prone to boredom. They tend to like the stimulation of being around other people and they get restless when there’s nothing around to engage their attention. This can lead to cravings and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. Boredom can’t always be avoided, but having a regular schedule can help minimize long periods of down time. Regular exercise, especially with a team or in a class, going to mutual aid meetings, and engaging in hobbies can help keep boredom from sabotaging your recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.