Being Alone in Recovery


At yesterday’s AA meeting the topic was feeling lonely in recovery.  I got to thinking about this.  Loneliness is a state of being that I have not really come across in recovery.  I am an introvert by nature – less extreme as I get older.  Some twenty years ago I moved to a small town in Louisiana – population about 2000.  I thoroughly enjoyed being reasonably anonymous.  I knew no one when I moved there, and made very few friends for the several years that town was home.  Once I was invited out for a Thanksgiving dinner, but came up with a bogus excuse for not going, rented some videos, got some food, and reveled in four days alone in my apartment with the phone unplugged and the curtains drawn.  About that time as well, I was looking to buy a house.  I looked at an old farmhouse about two miles down a dirt road.  I thought if I could get internet access out there, the place would be ideal.  But then, I also realized that if I bought that house, I would for all practical purposes move further off the grid and fade into oblivion – a somewhat frightening thought.

Today I continue to prefer a good bit of solitude in my existence.  My wife is the same way which I suppose is one reason that we work out well together.  I have a few close friends that I enjoy spending time with, but I also greatly value my time alone.  My job includes working with lots of folks, especially students.  I thoroughly enjoy my career, but savor the downtime too.

When I was sitting in the meeting yesterday, I kept trying to think if I was just not getting it – that I really was lonely and did not know it.  In earlier sobriety, I spent a good bit of time waiting for the other foot to drop, so to speak.  I was warned about pink clouds, relapses, slippery places and more.  Today I have chosen not to live in a place of fear.  Today I honestly try to assess if my life has all the meaning, happiness, fulfillment that I want.  Today I can honestly say that life is good and I don’t have a complaint in the world.  So I don’t think I am fooling myself.  I am not lonely today even if I like to spend a lot of time alone.

4 thoughts on “Being Alone in Recovery

  1. Pingback: Anonymity in Recovery | Process Not An Event

  2. I am new to your blog and am really enjoying it! Newly sober at 51 – I too have a job dealing with lots of people and love my alone time. I thought I drank because I was lonely – my husband works long hours and I am a new empty nester. But spending the last few sober nights alone (don’t know why I was so terrified of this) has actually been very enjoyable. It seems I thought I needed alcohol for a companion but I am finding I am not bad company all by myself. I have been reading a lot of sober blogs and one thread I repeatedly see is how hard being sober is – no matter how long you are sober. I refuse to believe that. I quit smoking years ago and don’t miss it or even think about it at all. Why can’t not drinking be like that? Isn’t it all in your attitude? Like you say “I don’t have to drink today” vs. “I can’t drink today”. That about sums it up, doesn’t it? Thank-you for your positive spin on this subject – it is refreshing!

    • Thanks very much for your comment. What has really helped me wanting to remain sober is changing my attitude as you note, but also examining why I chose to keep myself in a state of inebriation for all those years. I truly believe that if I don’t continue to deal with that issue, then I might as well stay drunk. I find that for myself it is not just having an attitude that the glass is half full and not half empty, but drinking from the half full glass as well. Best wishes in your recovery!

      • Good point and something to think about definitely. I started seeing a therapist this week – maybe she can help me sort through this question. Thank-you for your insight – it is helpful.

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