A key component of well-being is the creation and maintenance of meaningful connections with our fellow human beings. A human connection is a real and genuine connection with another person in the present moment. It is different from a “relationship,” which is about status (i.e., brother, sister, mother, father, friend, spouse, colleague, etc.). Connection is something deeper and more profound. It can be experienced with someone you know and love as well as with someone you meet for the first time. It requires authenticity, humility, trust, and understanding.
As an alcoholic, I know that connection is an essential part of my recovery experience. Addicts and alcoholics often have trouble with their human partnerships. We yearn for connection, yet we look for it in all the wrong places. In my addiction, I did not trust you. I was afraid that you could hurt me in some way. So, I kept you at arm’s length as a defense mechanism. But the more I isolated myself, the stronger my addiction became.
Isolation is the enemy of recovery from addiction and other mental health conditions. The cure for isolation is connection. How then do we go about finding connection? By being present for our fellows. By making space for authentic conversations where the other person feels seen, heard, and safe. The prayer of St. Francis offers guidance when it asks us, among other things, to seek to love rather than to be loved and to seek to understand rather than to be understood. For me, I found this in the fellowship of recovery meetings. But there are many paths to connection, recovery, and well-being. Find one that works for you. And remember that true growth and the meaning of your journey is found in the pursuit, not the capture.