Rehab Beats Being Alone
For many of us, the progression of our drug use took us out of the party of many, and placed us in a party of one as addiction started to take hold. We began drinking alone for fear that those around us would protest our excessive alcohol consumption; we started using drugs alone because we thought that others would reject us if they knew exactly how reckless we were. Perhaps we thought we were being responsible in containing our uncontrollable behavior, protecting ourselves from being arrested for drunk driving or protecting others from our aggressive tendencies. For whatever reason, our addictions began to alienate us from our friends and families and drove us into isolation.
People said we’d had it made, but don’t they know we’re so afraid? Fear led us to live double lives, and isolation became the answer to compartmentalizing the double lives we led. We saw only the differences between us and other people, and our constant refrain was “all these people make me feel so alone.” No one understood us—how could they? We were afraid to be alone, but our addictions promised us that everybody has got a home in isolation—a home with no judgments or expectations, a place where we make no mistakes. A place where we do have what it takes.
Our worlds became little towns where, outside of our isolation, everybody was simply trying to put us down for our choices and our actions. That is why we thought isolation worked so well for us: we were able to effectively block out everything and everyone that disagreed with our solutions to how we felt, and threatened to come between our addictions and ourselves. With nothing and no one getting inside, we could exist and live our ever-shrinking lives comfortably numb.
Forced To Pick Up The Pieces
“Well, we don’t expect you to understand,” they told us after we broke out of our isolation and were forced to pick up the pieces of the wreckage we caused, “after you’ve caused so much pain.” We caused others a great deal of pain as a result of mistreating our own. But we’re not to blame. We’re only human—victims of our insanity. Surrendering our isolation was the first step in recognizing our insanity, addressing our problem and choosing recovery and a new way to cope with how we feel.
Because of our isolation, we were afraid of everything and everyone—afraid of the problems and even more afraid of what others proposed as the solutions. Restless, irritable and discontent, we were driven into isolation, which only exacerbated these feelings. It was only when we came to recovery that we discovered that we were no longer alone in our struggles with our emotions, feelings and addictions. In fact, we found a new home in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, where we were finally among our fellows. It seemed that we had triumphed over our isolation.
Though our problems may never disappear, our worlds can begin to expand again once we come out of isolation and start living in the solution. This is one of the promises of completing the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. For, in surrendering our isolation and becoming part of a greater whole, we will begin to know a new freedom. Once again, we will find our selves in a party of many, among fellows who understand, and in a place where we truly have what it takes to be happy, joyous and free.