Isolation can be a major part of our alcoholism. Everyone’s story is their own, but Isolation played a big part of my journey. Here’s my experience.
I never thought of myself as lonely and isolated. I constantly surrounded myself with people and friends. I’d make sure to the outside world I was able to fit in with whoever I was with, I would wear a mask that allowed me to feel accepted wherever I was. Drinking made me feel more comfortable in myself in those situations. The reality was that I was lonely, I felt isolated, I wasn’t happy with myself, with who I was, I was terrified of being alone.
When I was drinking with friends, my sense of isolation would disappear, at least for that moment. Friends would eventually leave, go to dinner or head home to see their families. I would be alone again, alone with myself and my thoughts. I’d find myself trying to avoid this by texting as many people as possible to see who might want to come and join me for a drink, my sent messages would be a series of the same message “hey, you out tonight, fancy a drink?”. All would have blue ticks, none would reply. They had seen it all before.
I began by accepting this, I’d head home and be alone with my thoughts eventually falling asleep.
However as my alcoholism worsened not having anyone to drink with became less of an issue. When friends left, I’d continue. As long as a drank, I would be able to disconnect myself from my feelings of isolation, from my fears.
Finding people to drink with eventually became too much work, my mind and illness decided it was easier to head straight home or stay in the office and drink all night into oblivion, alone. Looking back on that particular dark period of my life, I feel sadness, sadness for who that person was and what alcoholism was not only doing to me, but how it was also justifying and encouraging my actions.
This is what alcoholism can do. Well and truly isolate you. Isolate yourself from your friends, from your family, from the world around you, from your true self. It can take you to the pits of despair.
Being in AA and the fellowship has been incredible in so many ways, but one of the things I’m most grateful for is that I no longer feel alone. I no longer feel isolated. I have my sponsor, regular fellows I’m in contact with and every meeting I go to, I’m surrounded by people who know exactly what it feels like to feel alone. Fellows who accept me without judgetment and who will always be there for me in my time of need.
I’m so grateful for that. AA is saving my life.