When I was drinking and using I never thought of myself as lonely or isolated. I lived what seemed like a full life, I had a house, a car, a job I was a very sociable and outgoing person and always had lots of people around me.
I’m able to see things more clearly now, I constantly had people around me but most of these relationships lacked any true meaning or connection. Low self-esteem and low self worth have always been big issues for me, I used alcohol and drugs to mask this and project this more outgoing lifestyle. As my illness progressed I ended up isolating more physically to drink and use, hanging out in social settings with false-friends became too exhausting in it’s own right.
It’s a really painful place to be, to be living with this sense of isolation to not feel connected to yourself or the world around you. That’s something working a 12 step recovery programme is really helping me to overcome. I going to meetings and keep in touch with people, staying in touch regularly about what’s really going on in our lives, the friendships I’ve made in recovery have ended up being more important than I ever though they would be. My relationship with IRL friends has improved, I pay attention to a smaller number of close friendships and value their place in my life. I’m more open and honest with my family and slowly rebuilding that side of my life.
Your addiction wants you as small as possible, it wants you alone and isolated. This is why getting help and getting into recovery has been so important to me.
I’m able to start overcoming this sense of isolation which played such a big part of my addiction.
Staying clear or alcohol and drugs is one thing, but using these tools to stay connected and address the reasons I drank is what’s going to help me live a happier, fuller life.