From the U.S.: I had chance when young to help myself but because of stigma in that day I chose not ,well I did for a year.Tthen parents after 16 years divorced. I have 3 sisters and brother so my mental health kinda got put to side while a bitter custudy battle ensued.

So I start self medicating nicotine, caffeine, Benadryl, white crosses try control symptoms. Wasn’t until early 20s I broke back Hydrocodone had me , 12 years.

I’m clean 7 years now and am in treatment for mental health, but I have no friends, don’t see family much, I live by myself, social situations are strange to me but I long for a companion. I’m so miserable I have tried dating sites, but nothing else. I don’t want to die alone please advise me ?

Seven years clean and sober is something to celebrate. But the lack of addiction isn’t enough if life is lonely and miserable. Moving from negative mental health to neutral is an improvement, but it doesn’t make a happy life. Now you need help to move into the positive numbers.

I’m very glad you are in treatment. I hope you are talking with your therapist about your loneliness. It is not at all uncommon for someone who was addicted so early in life and for so long to not have good social skills. You missed out on an important developmental stage when these skills get developed over time. Your therapist can help you begin to deal with what you missed and can support you while you try out what you learn.

I suggest you talk to your therapist about adding group therapy to your treatment. In group, you will have the opportunity to learn and practice new ways to interact with other people. A therapist will ensure that feedback is both constructive and kind — but honest. (Group members generally provide more honest feedback than family or friends who worry about hurting your feelings or who just don’t know what to say.)

As for getting socially involved: You aren’t ready to date yet. But you are way overdue for developing some friendships. The best way to do that is to join an activity you are truly interested in that also involves other people. Working on a project together puts the focus more on getting a job done than on developing friends. Ironically, it is often by working on a mutual project that friendships quite naturally develop. Consider projects such as Habitat for Humanity or a political campaign or a theater group — whatever truly interests you that will give you regular exposure to the same group. As you become more generally socially comfortable, you’ll be ready to date. You might even eventually find love while you are doing something worthwhile.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie