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Avoiding Isolation In Addiction Recovery… It Aint Easy

Posted Apr 10 2010 3:21am
Posted on April 10, 2010

So it has been 1 year, 5 months and some change since I entered into addiction recovery. I have overcome a lot of my bad behaviors and addictive thinking patterns but there is one huge behavior that I am having trouble shaking... isolating.

We all know that active addiction and isolation are old chums and that they fit together so well. One directly feeds off of the other and eventually take over your whole being leaving you with... addiction and isolation.

Well I guess I am living proof that just because you take away one, it doesn't mean that the other will follow. It seems that isolation will hang out until you actively push it out of your life. So how do you go about avoiding isolation in addiction recovery?

In the past I noticed that I do this horrible thing that involves people watching and some pretty harsh judging of these poor strangers who are just trying to walk down the street or pick up some milk at the store. I would pick apart a stranger based on nothing more than how they look, what they are wearing, how they walk... anything really.

Is it a distorted way of making myself feel better? I guess that could be part of it. But it's also a way to ensure that I will not have any kind of meaningful connection with any other human being because I am way to busy judging them.

Like I said, I did notice this undesirable behavior in myself a while back and I have been working on not doing it. Once I realize that I'm having these thoughts about someone I just acknowledge it and stop that train of thought. I have found that I haven't had to change my train of thought nearly as much as I did when I first noticed it. So there is improvement there.

But I have so many isolating tendencies still left. It is one thing to feel lonely when you are messed up all the time. You kind of just numb it out. It's a whole other thing to be doing things to distance yourself from people when you can feel the pain it brings. So why do I do it?

Honestly, I haven't figured that out yet. Who knows if I will ever figure it out. I don't think you need to know the reason why you have some of the bad behaviors you do. I think you just have to admit that you do it, it's a problem and then work towards not doing it anymore. So simple right? Sure.

I have even made a conscious effort lately to be more open to making connections with others while I'm out in public. I realized that maybe I wasn't always giving off such a friendly vibe to people. Sure, the crazies would still talk to me but I would never just strike up conversations with people like the cashier or the gas attendant. I see that happening more and more lately.

I guess all of this kind of stuff comes to the surface when you are trying to be more self aware . I just realized the other night that even though I am in a house full of people or I am out to eat with a group of people I am still feeling lonely.

Instead of pretending that this isn't happening, stuffing my feelings, and then trying to find an easy way out of feeling the pain I've decided to do something about it. Along with being active in my recovery my main "self goal" is to work on my isolating tendencies.

I can't be the only one out there who is focusing on this. If you find yourself exhibiting some of the same types of isolating behaviors as myself I would love to hear about it.

If you find yourself having to go against every internal instinct to push yourself out of the protective husk that you have built up around yourself... just remember that I'm doing it to. You're not alone.

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