I have been asking people lately, what are the situations and locations you feel most inclined to use addictive substances? What are the smells and sights and sounds that emotionally trigger you? As you can imagine, I am a lot of fun on a date. The answers vary greatly: everything from before, during and after sex to driving past a particular street sign or the smell of “home” when getting off a plane….
Sometimes these bolts from the blue are surprising, nothing that can be anticipated or avoided: a song on the radio or a familiar breeze that hits you just right – or wrong. I’ve said it before (as did Thomas Paine without the “sober” part), “These are the times that try sober men’s souls.” These are the times when the sobriety toolbox comes out from under the couch in the rec-room and you have to root around in there until you find the implement to fix the temporary inconvenience, like replacing the stopper on a toilet that runs.
The thing everyone seems to agree on, is that “being alone” is a dangerous thing. Especially in early recovery. When we isolate, we give ourselves the time to devise excuses such as, “Who will know?” In my case, being alone for long stretches of time makes me feel blue (navy blue) and when I feel blue I want to fill myself up with something, anything to make me feel solid. Whole.
I’m not going to list the 10 Things to Do to Stop Isolating and Start Living Sober, because you are smart and not being alone is a pretty simple concept. Just try not to spend a lot of time on your own, and if you feel yourself getting blue (midnight blue) go to a meeting, or go to work or make yourself call somebody and get outside in the world.
One of my true joys now that I am sober, after all those years of not being sober, is feeling part of something. Part of everything, really, and joining in this march we do each day, or this dance. Knowing that even though my natural inclination is to hole up and brood, there are people out there who want to see me.
And it is nice to be seen…