I think it’s important to find a routine in addiction recovery. At least that was the alcohol addiction advice my first sponsor gave me many years ago. Although I am not perfect, I do find routines that work for me. I am not steadfast about them. I just do my best.
I began attending a Tuesday morning meeting at 7:00 am. Yes, 7:00 am. I have to say that sometimes I am not 100% awake when I get there but again, I do the best I can. So, what’s my routine? Wake at 6, shower, cup of coffee, a small breakfast, 15 minute walk to the meeting with a stop for coffee, and then sit and listen. Then off to the gym, and then work. Not a bad way to start the day. I think what I like best about this meeting is the focus around the “As Bill Sees It” book. This book seems to pretty much hit home on a weekly basis for me.
Today’s topic? Loneliness. Here’s the excerpt from the book.
To Watch Loneliness Vanish
Almost without exception, alcoholics are tortured by loneliness. Even before our drinking got bad and people began to cut us off, nearly all of us suffered the feeling that we didn’t quite belong. Either we were shy, and dared not draw near others, or we were noisy good fellows constantly craving attention and companionship, but rarely getting it. There was always that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand.
That’s one reason we loved alcohol too well. But even Bacchus betrayed us; we were finally struck down and left in terrified isolation.
When I heard this excerpt, read it silently and then absorbed it, this is what I thought. This is me. I don’t know if I was tortured by loneliness as a kid, but I do know I suffered the feeling of not belonging to the scene around me as I was growing up. What’s tricky about being a budding addict is that I can’t quite decide if I didn’t fit in or I didn’t want to fit it, and in doing so, I would isolate, or do weird ‘stand out’ things. For example, my family was heavily into sports. Although I liked the physicality of sports, I would join the theatre department instead. My family drank Pepsi, so I drank strawberry soda.
It wasn’t until I got a bit older, my need or desire to fit with peers dominated and I began to drink. If I drank I was accepted as one of the cool kids. And it worked…for a while. Typically, I was very good at knowing when to leave the party before being asked to. So, most people didn’t see my depression, loneliness, and despair when I got drunk. They only saw the happy guy – the life of the party.
I was alone in my drinking, but once I stopped my life changed drastically. It wasn’t easy of course, as it was hard finding new ‘friends’ to hang out with. One of the major characteristics I’ve come to see over the years is that I am a bit of a loner anyway. I love to be around people, but I do love to be alone too. I’ve been able to find a happier medium space, but at least now I am aware of it. And that’s change.