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I’m Solitary Sober… What Kind of Sober are You?

I’m Solitary Sober… What Kind of Sober are You?

I’m Solitary Sober… What Kind of Sober are You?

I guess, if I were being honest, I’d have to say I am the kind of person who enjoys being alone in a remote cabin in the woods. I am writing from one now. If you met me, you would not think of me as some solitary, grizzly gal. I shave my legs, I carry on lively conversations when needs be. I can even be the life of a party if I put my mind to it…

 

But since I got sober, I enjoy my solitude even more…

I used to start all my drinking stories with “I ended up,” As if I were cast ashore by a tempest or airdropped into the calamities that befell me. As if I were not responsible for my misadventures – tossed in by a capricious God. But since I got sober, I take full control of my actions and full culpability for my frailties. It is freeing and a bit disarming.

 

Kind of like the time I was getting ready to move from our first house and I was packing up the attic. I found boxes and suitcases full of my husband’s old socks and dented golf balls. In the seven years we had lived on Lamplighter Lane, he had never thrown away a pair of argyles or a golf ball. He was a box-keeper. I suppose it’s better than bags of human hair, but you think you know someone…

 

What about when you surprise yourself?

It’s weird enough when the surprising behavior happens with someone else, but what if you surprise yourself? The fact is, that after all I have read about “the opposite of addiction being connection’, I want to be alone. Not all the time. It’s not like I am a recluse or even want to wear animal skins and hole up and grow my finger nails like Howard Hughes.

 

But after a long day at the office, or after a vacation where I am with family or friends 24/7, I want (need) to slink off somewhere solo and recharge. I don’t want to have to apologize for that.

 

I don’t want to apologize for the fact the cabins I have stayed in have really nice views, either…

So how does it fit with my sobriety?

But how does this work with my sobriety? Isn’t someone frowning right now into their tablet and thinking, Oh boy – she’s headed for a fall… Isolation is the bugaboo of the addicted set. You cannot be sober and isolated. Cabin in the woods? Alone? Kiss of death… Get thee to a meeting…

 

But remember naysayers, there are many paths to recovery. And there is a big difference between isolation and solitude. I’ve written about it, so I know. If you are an introvert or a loner, sobriety can be an additional challenge. But in taking responsibility for my actions, I have also accepted my idiosyncrasies. It feels to me like the definition of “recovery” and it does not preclude social time or group meetings.

 

Sometimes a walk on a back road will make you feel like the universe is sending a message…

 

Careful…

For the solitary, grizzly sober folk, the key is routine and forced community. Does that sound like an oxymoron? And we must never go off the grid or not be available by email or phone. Periods of solitude should be limited and the recovery tools that serve everyone else with a substance use disorder, are particularly important. I have yet to stay in a remote cabin that doesn’t have a “secret” booze cabinet, for example. The evil little devil on the shoulder can whisper in your ear, “Who would know?” And who, but you, would hear?

 

Most importantly, I do not recommend a stint alone in the woods for the newly sober. Why test yourself? You’ve been through a lot…

 

As I navigate this sober life, I learn more about myself every day. I like the fact I can tell the world I am content all by myself. I am thrilled I have finally begun to understand what makes me tick (speaking of cabins in the woods…). And I am confident I have developed the tools to do what I like, but also mitigate my natural tendencies to isolate.

 

At least I don’t hoard old socks…

Today I’m not drinking because I am enjoying the things that make me – me – in recovery…

How come you’re not drinking?

 

 

Comments (6)

  1. Zentient
    Mar 23, 2017

    How come you're not drinking?
    Because I feel like my heart is getting stronger since I quit drinking.
    This resonates with me. I do keep in touch with people and spend time in groups, but not as much as most people seem to do. I also like time spent with one person, conversing and discussing anything and everything.
    The time I spend alone is precious, gently healing and restoring. A big part of it is the quiet, which opens up space in and outside of my mind. I love listening to the sounds when no one is speaking, knowing that there is even a greater silence beneath all that, and to access that silence is connecting in a way much deeper than socializing with other people.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Mar 24, 2017

      Quiet is good. So is being with myself. And I too am better one on one than in a group. I have spent a lot of years making excuses for my behavior and now I have decided that I am not isolating or hiding – I just like to be alone sometimes. One of the things I enjoy about being sober for a while is not feeling like I have to be a certain way to be successful sober. I yam what I yam.
      XXXOOO
      M
      PS Your heart IS getting stronger!

  2. Who the hell has time to drink?
    Mar 23, 2017

    You’re right. Solitary is nice. Solitary DRINKING MADE ME FEEL GUILTY, BUT NOW, SOLITARY gives me time to do all I need to do, and don’t feel a bit guilty. Still enjoy people (although some are having a hard time with my not drinking???) but know life is fuller and more satisfying and more hopeful without a glass within reach.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Mar 24, 2017

      No guilt – except when I eat something bad for me… and I do not have the issue of others wanting me to drink. That must be rough (and annoying). I always love to hear from you. Thanks for the support.
      M

  3. Rose-Marie Jaeger
    Mar 23, 2017

    Newly sober, I feel calmer, more positive, and more connected. Today’s blog resonates, as I loved my alone time because it meant I could drink as much wine as I wanted and escape into a blurred world of disconnect. I don’t drink because I owe it to myself. Period. And to my kids. Period. Love the blog.

    • Marilyn
      Marilyn
      Mar 24, 2017

      Thanks. And congratulations on your new life! I remember when I first got sober, the mornings were so wonderful. I would say aloud to myself, “Feel how you are feeling…” I wanted to note the difference in a morning without the guilt and illness. It will keep getting better – I am happy for you.
      XXXOOO
      M

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