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.