Saturday, April 8, 2017

Isolation, Loneliness, and Sobriety

Dear Readers,
It is now proven that isolation hurts us. It makes us sick, depressed, and in some cases leads to death.
Some people are isolated due to a number of issues, some of which can't be changed, such as health problems or being unable to find transportation to get out and about.

Other people isolate themselves.
There are times I isolate myself, especially when I am sick or depressed.
Which ironically makes me more sick and depressed.

When I was drinking, I sometimes drank with friends. 

Sometimes I would drink alone at a bar, but felt "connected " with the bartender or other drinking strangers. 
But at other times, I would buy a bottle and drink alone at home. 

When I isolate myself now, I feel very lonely. I sometimes feel very lonely in a crowd, too.
Loneliness is a feeling that will wash over me.

Being retired contributes to isolation and my feelings of loneliness. 
I no longer have that built in community with my fellow teachers and students.
Also, I do not live near my family members, so I do not have that loving community.

When I feel lonely in a crowd, it is because I feel left out, or I feel different in some way.
This leads me to isolation as well.
However, I am growing up, and I have been learning how to be an adult living in an adult world.
If I can accept that I am really just fine being Wendy, that I don't have to be the life of the party, (not that I ever was), I am calmer, and can navigate social situations better.

I am working hard to breathe through the loneliness, not just ignore it, or say it's wrong or unimportant.
It's telling me something.
It means I am missing the human connections I need.

I am working hard to find ways to make fun and meaningful connections with people.
Volunteering has helped.
I feel very fulfilled after my time of helping people.
I have also found some lovely souls in the recovery community.

I make "playdates" with other teachers, going for walks or having coffee.
My yoga community helps too. 
I am working on keeping up with my oldest and dearest friends, because I can get lazy at times, and I put off calling them. 

Blogging helps me connect with people. When I read blogs, and leave comments, I know that somewhere out there, other people understand and care.

The most important step I can do to help myself when I feel lonely is to reach out to other people.
It's hard at times, because sometimes it feels as if I am the only one doing the reaching.
My adult self now understands that many people have much more going on in their lives than I do.
There are other people who are thrilled I reached out to them.

For my continued recovery, as well as having a happy life, I must keep reaching out, and keep myself from being isolated.
It helps other people, and it keeps the loneliness away for both of us.
I can't sink into the "poor me" place, as that is a lifeless place to be.

Sobriety is such a gift.
I don't want to waste it, or throw it away by shutting myself away in my house.
Being sober has made me happier, and I want to pass that along to other people, as others before me have passed it along to me.
I want to continue to see the little surprises that are happening along the way, little boxes of joy that open to my delight!

With Loving Thoughts,
On Day 946,
Wendy

PS - This week, I focused on loving my body. 
I had another cold, but I was so kind to my hard-working body.
It fought the cold, and today I was able to go to yoga!
Happy, happy, happy!
I also treated it to a pedicure and now I have lovely blue toenails!

14 comments:

  1. Wendy, I'm in your situation exactly! After working in an office for years, we've retired in a small town where neither of us knows anyone, without family close by. After two years, I have only two or three people I 'know' here. Is it isolating? I'm not sure. Part of it is due to being at the age where the traditional kids/jobs/etc. are no longer putting me in touch with people constantly. Like you, I am getting my most meaningful contact from the non drinking blog community. So, at least know that you are not alone in this. ; )

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    1. Hi Shawna,
      That would be very hard. Hubs and I sometimes want to move to a place with more sunshine, but then I would lose the community I have here!

      It's something that comes and goes with me.
      Part of it is my personality I think...I am more introverted than I think.
      Yet, when I don't have some connection with real people, my loneliness and depression get worse.
      But, I am learning how to be grateful for the friends I do have, that I can text or call family members, that I have my AA peeps, AND that I have the wonderful blogging community!
      xo

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  2. Hi Wendy, I also have a tendency to isolate. It sounds like you're doing a great job of getting out there and connecting with people - a much better job than I do. It's a fine balance for introverts to get enough social contact but also enough alone time. It's a balance I spend a lot of time pondering too.

    Take care, hugs x

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    1. I do more than I think I do!
      I think it's my thoughts.
      I am trying to observe them..to notice them and see what they are telling me!
      xo

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  3. Great post. Great nails too!

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  4. Fellow introvert here too! I am terrible about reaching out to people and then wonder why people don't reach out to me! I have always been so busy at work, commuting etc I never needed to reach out to people. Now that work from home I notice I haven't built those skills. I am making efforts to reach out to old friends and reconnect a bit and make sure I call my family members. They are the low hanging fruit. From there I just need to get involved a little more and hopefully those connections will come. Thank you for posting it reminds me to do the same. I wish we lived near each other and we could go on a weekly walk! I need a walking buddy. :)

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    1. I need a walking buddy, too!
      I can get someone to walk once in awhile, but no one to make it a set schedule.
      xo

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  5. I agree - lovely feet!
    Addictive behaviour like drinking starts because of (in my opinion) always wanting more of something - it is like we struggle to be comfortable in our own skin so drown it and look for more more more.

    At the moment I am conquering my loneliness and stopping worrying about being husband-less. Stopping worrying about dying without ever meeting the love of my life. so when I sleep I dream about it and sometimes wake up crying.

    It is a process - it has to be faced for me - I have to face that being lonely is definitely a state of mind. I watch an amazing doco piece the other day on Sister Aroha (an NZ nun) working in Sri Lanka at an orphanage. She gave up everything and fills her life with working and caring for children.

    It really made me think of the silly thoughts I have and how they must slowly be put to bed.

    It will take time but we all share the same goal. Addiction isn't the answer.

    I look for your posts and you have so many who care. Maybe you should look at the sunshine idea... where is Mr UT thinking of going?

    Adventures are really fun!
    Michelle xx

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    1. Mr. UT loves Arizona.
      I love the sun.
      We will see. Maybe we will be snow birds!
      I know it's hard not having someone special.
      My single friends struggle with that, too.
      Much Love
      xo

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