I am new to abstinence. I am in early recovery.
Before I began my much-needed quest for sobriety, I felt alone—isolated from my peers in their sober world. This world has no drinks; or is maybe where just one drink feels satisfying. It’s a world where people don’t desire drugs every day—all day—to numb themselves from feelings. It’s a world without social anxiety or depression; where friends are abundant, and relationships solid. It’s a place where menial day-to-day tasks are not insurmountable peaks, and days are without shame and secrets.
That was not my world.
I entered rehab with a desire to get better; to leave my world behind and join others in what appeared to be a healthier, happier world. But today, I feel more alone than ever.
Every day I am surrounded by people just like me—people struggling and working their hardest to cross over the border and live in this magical, seemingly unattainable world. But we are not the same. We have various drugs of choice, different ages, genders, backgrounds. We are people with different strengths, weaknesses, triggers, and coping mechanisms; joined together to help each other.
Yet somehow, in this room with 30 people running towards a similar goal, my loneliness is palpable. I never thought this would be easy. I also never imagined I would still feel so isolated and disconnected from everyone and everything around me.
I have begun to shed my “addict identity,” working to find a new one. I have become a resident of Middle Earth. I know that I shouldn’t turn back, but even the tiniest of baby steps forward is exasperating.
I have never been good at making friends or maintaining relationships. I sprint too hard too fast and then have no energy or desire to make it to the finish line.
Those I have managed to forge lasting relationships with, love me for exactly who I am. They support my choice to abstain, but they don’t understand what it means. They want me to join them for “Mom’s night out,” but cannot grasp how difficult it is for me to watch them drink wine while I sip water. I avoid these events. I make excuses and stay home alone…again.
I long for someone within the walls of rehab to understand this; to understand me. I want someone to call at 7 PM, when I’ve run out of strength and need a pep talk. I want that person to understand that just because we talked it out doesn’t mean I won’t need to talk about it again.
I yearn to feel less alone. I felt this way yesterday and know tomorrow I likely will, too.
I also know, by getting sober, I am doing the only thing that will take this lonely feeling away. Sobriety will give me a fighting chance for stability and self-confidence. It will enable me to climb out of middle Earth and claim a restructured, more solid identity. It will allow me to finally finish that race. And even if I come in fourth, finishing will be the only thing that matters.
I just hope, in the end, I won’t feel so alone.
This post was submitted by Anonymous.