I have recently had a barrage of messages, comments, and discussions regarding the isolation that sobriety can create, especially for the newly sober person. I thought I would focus on this idea for today's core belief as a way to reach out to my new friends in sobriety who are feeling alone and isolated. One thing I have learned on my sober path is that with sobriety also comes feelings, and I mean a lot of feelings. I not only became present with my own feelings, which is new and wonderful, I am also open and susceptible to other's feelings as well. When someone I have connected with through sobriety is struggling, I feel that struggle and want to be there for them. While I know I can't be available to everyone, I can certainly continue doing what I am doing with writing, meetings, podcasts, etc... and hope it offers a little break from the feelings of isolation. A new friend sent me this message last night, "God bless the stranger who cares." Well, we are no longer strangers now, my friend.
Why I feel alone...
Before we dive into the different ways changing our perception of this core belief can benefit us, let's look at why it occurs in the first place. While alcohol is known to be one of the most addictive substances on earth, a leading cause of death, literally a poison, and not to mention present in a massive percentage of violent altercations, it is also the most socially acceptable drug in circulation. Interestingly enough, while it is widely accepted, those who 'struggle' with it are quickly shunned, labeled as problems, and looked down upon. Could there be greater hypocrisy? Here, society says, drink this and never worry about access because it is everywhere, there will never be a shortage of it, and nobody will care if you engage with it because it is normal behavior. But beware, if you are not able to moderate it, you will be outcast from society. Seriously? It's no wonder, Annie Grace, in her book "This Naked Mind" talks about alcohol being the only drug you have to make an excuse not to do. As soon as we say we don't drink, people's minds start spinning and you can almost see the smoke exiting their ears from the turmoil their brain is experiencing trying to understand why someone would not drink. They must have a problem with alcohol. Yeah, that's right, it couldn't possibly be that alcohol is the real problem.
Needless to say, the moment we proclaim our sobriety, we lose friends. It's an unfortunate reality that I honestly do not know how to change. But, would we really want to? The friends we are losing are part of the problem. I am not saying they are bad people, I am saying that if we lose their friendship due to our sobriety, they may have their own struggles to deal with and are not ready to deal with them. We are, and so off we walk down the lonely path of sobriety.
New Core Belief: I am part of a bigger and more supportive community
I know it is hard to see it at first. At the beginning of sobriety it is difficult to see past the constant nagging and itching of that desire we will not speak of here. We will not speak of it because in the bigger schema of life (and this blog) it is a fleeting and temporary discomfort that is worth the outcome a thousand times over. Nevertheless, I know it can overshadow the potential that lies before you, but once you are able to look past the discomfort and see the incredible community of people who are out there waiting to support you, loneliness will be the last thing on your mind. Think about it, what kind of people are recovering addicts? We are strong, courageous, gracious, caring, positive, and supportive people who have been through more than some will in a lifetime. Who else would you want in your corner while embarking on this monumental and life-changing path?
How do I become a part of the sober community?
First of all, once you set down that addiction and decide to be sober, you are automatically admitted. It is important to remember, however, that the sober community is like any other, it does take a little effort to truly become a part of it. You have to reach out and let us know you want to be a part of it. Once you do, you will quickly find that the community is all around you, all the time, and we are always available on some level to support you. You most likely have acquaintances right now that are feeling the same loneliness as you, look for them. You may have colleagues or relatives who have been through what you are going through. If you worry about people knowing about your path, there is an enormous online community out here as well. Every social media platform has endless groups set up for supporting people in recovery. There are forums and online meetings where you can talk with others in recovery. There are mentorships available. The resources available to you are truly endless. You just have to seek them out or ask for help finding them. We want to help you find them.
You may ask yourself this question and it is a valid one. "Why are so many people wanting to help me?" It's actually quite simple and you will most likely witness it first hand. Sobriety is a deeply personal and difficult time for most people. It requires humility and a lot of trust and help from others. It is a really big deal when society is taken into consideration because society really doesn't want us to quit drinking. Some of our friends and family don't want us to quit. We have all felt the loneliness and isolation that comes with sobriety, so we know what you are going through. But it's even more than that. Something happens to a person who overcomes something like this. We begin to feel more alive. We begin to feel more confident. We begin to feel more like those people we never thought we could feel like. We begin to feel happy and positive about life. All of these feelings are a breath of fresh air from our past lives and then something else happens. We begin to see others struggling with the very thing we have overcome and we immediately and without thought or reservation want to help them through it. Call it paying it forward, or simply humanity. Whatever you want to call it, it creates a wonderful community of people whom I now consider my community and I am proud to be a member.
You are not alone, you are part of a bigger and more supportive community. Welcome.