On an island

Well, it seems like I’m starting to realize how different I am from my family, friends, coworkers with my newfound sobriety. Last weekend, I had a girlfriend cancel on my to do something with another friend (who is a big drinker), despite the fact that she kept sending me passive aggressive text messages about how much she misses our time together. Then this weekend, I was supposed to get together with my cousin, who is also one of my very closest friends, and I was so excited because we were planning a girls date night – dinner and then a trip to the coffeehouse for some organic lemonade with rose water (yum!). But then she cancelled on me as well. She is also a pretty big wine drinker, and I’m starting to wonder if maybe, just maybe, I’ve become boring to my boozing buddies.

And then, I’ve never really fit in at work, since I’m a woman in a very heavily male dominated industry. I’m in sales, so of course, we are all big drinkers. That’s what we do – we work hard and we play hard. Well, since becoming sober, the ONLY thing that I really had in common with these people is now gone. And I feel like I’m on an island. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not even remotely thinking about going back to my old ways, but I’m really starting to feel so very different from the people in my life.

Maybe different isn’t so bad? Hell, last night was Friday night. I played in the pool with my son and husband, and out of the blue, at 7:30pm, I decided to get out and go for a run. Prior to becoming sober, I would never have been able to do that because by 7:30pm, I would have been shitfaced. It feels great to NOT WASTE SO MUCH TIME. It feels GREAT to be awake at 6am and to feel amazingly clearheaded and full of energy. It feels great to not look at my phone and say, “Oh shit, who did I drunk text last night?” It feels great to feel great!

So why do I feel so lonely?

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18 thoughts on “On an island

  1. When I first got sober, I found that less I had friends but but folks I got wasted with. I also found that what I mostly had in common with many of these friends was drinking.

    I found that early in sobriety, even the true friends were not certain how to take my not drinking. Many felt that they could not drink around me, so I became an obstacle to their doing what they wanted to do. Some were simply nervous and did not really know how to handle my not drinking afraid I would relapse.

    After a bit of time, things began to sort themselves out. In fact, when I think about it, some of my closest friends now were friends from way back when I first got sober some 25 plus years ago. However, most of my friends from back then I simply don’t deal with any longer.

    I will also add that despite the fact that I continue to attend AA meetings, have a service assignment in my home group, I have never been one to socialize a lot with AA folks. I remember laying in the detox bed reading in the Big Book about how one goal of AA was for us to return as functioning members of today’s society. That is one of the things I wanted. In that path, I have found that my interests have changed and so have many of my friends. I find today that I simply do not gravitate toward heavy drinkers as friends, and that for my friends that drink moderately, my not drinking is treated at the most no differently than perhaps a Jew who does not eat pork, a vegetarian, or something along those lines, and in most cases, is not even noticed. That is, with time, my not drinking ceased to even be a relevant consideration in anything. To the point, the most often instance when my recovery is relevant to friends is when they have a friend or relative they believe is in need of recovery.

    To Thine Own Self Be True

    • I can relate very much with this too–what a wonderful and thoughtful comment. Thank you, Christy

      * hope you are well, Jess. Good luck with your upcoming tri!

      • I hope to someday relate:-). It is so helpful to know that this feeling of awkwardness will fade in time – I appreciate the input, Robert. And Christy, thank you as well for your encouragement along the way!

  2. Feel ya sister! I’m sure there is a hump to eventually get over.. I’m kinda waiting for that.. I feel lonely as well. But feels much better than a hangover.. You are not alone! I am here… Your doing great!

  3. It has been a little lonely for me at times but the feeling doesn’t last long. Truthfully I’d rather not hang out with folks who are drinking. Maybe that’s an early sobriety thing, maybe not. For. What its worth, I’m here for ya!

    • I really appreciate your comment – yeah, I’d rather not hang out with people that booze, but unfortunately, those are my peeps. That’s really all I have. My husband is probably a functional alcoholic, and my family and friends all drink. Most times, it doesn’t bother me – I keep thinking of how great I feel when I wake up in the morning after a sober evening, but sometimes, it’s just TOUGH. I think I need to find some sober friends – just not sure if I’m ready for the intensity (perhaps just imagined on my part) of AA. I’ve been doing some triathlon training and have my first race in two weeks – I’ve met some nice women during training, and perhaps can cultivate some friendships with people more into fitness and wellness…
      Anyhow, thank you for understanding. Means a lot to have someone in the sobersphere feeling the same things I do from time to time.

      • I totally get it and I understand what you mean about AA. I looked up some women’s meetings in my area, still haven’t gone though. Triathalon? @_@!!!!!! Wow!

      • Just a sprint tri! Swim 700 m, bike 18 miles, run 3 miles. And I am in it to finish, not to place! I’m doing the IronGirl series. It’s a great place to start.

        Maybe I will google women’s groups in my area – good idea!

  4. I have experienced the exact same feeling of loneliness; everyone I love is a drinker! Many times I feel so isolated in a group of friends or family since I am the only one not drinking. So far, (DAY 89) I have been able to get through it. I am trying to branch out socially so that perhaps I can find some sober friends to hang out with. You are most definitely not alone in your loneliness!

  5. Great points. I am very much in line with what Robert said. Drinking buddies will go by the wayside. Always happens. The real deals will stick around. Sometimes people feel awkward around someone who is newly sober, as much as newly sober people can feel around those who are drinking. It’s not that they don’t care, but can feel self-conscious around you. time irons these things out. Don’t try to take it personally – we don’t always know the real reason someone cancels, etc. We always think the worst ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am fortunate (?) that I had already run most people out of my life in my drinking days. But most of them were drinking pals…and so I went silent and underground and drank secretly. That blew up. So the people that I have in my life aren’t real drinkers (busy with work, kids, etc) so I don’t have those social and familial concerns some others have. But I can understand how it would be difficult for you when surrounded by those who drink big or have it as part of their lives.

    Remember that this is your journey alone. but not that you alone! Big difference. We are all on this journey, helping one another and supporting one another. We don’t do this alone, even though our paths are unique in many ways. That’s why for those of us who are in AA we get the joy of the fellowship – meeting men and women who understand us and get us. The same can be said online in many ways.

    Regardless, we don’t do this sobriety thing to be lonely. We get out there and carve a new path – opening ourselves to new people, places and things. the old adage “nothing changes if nothing changes” comes to mind. Open mindedness helps me in this…I was as close minded as they come ๐Ÿ™‚

    Blessings,
    Paul

    • Paul, your reminder about this being MY journey is just what I needed to hear right now. I need to take ownership, toughen up a bit, and can’t really expect people to change just because I am reinventing myself. Thank you for that!

  6. I think early sobriety can be a lonely time even if the people in our lives are dealing with it well. It’s hard to be doing something that’s so huge and difficult that most people around you really have no clue how big a deal it is and, worse, that so much socialising revolves around booze. I’ve totally had those feelings.

    I’ve found that my true friends don’t care if I’m not drinking, even if they really don’t get it. A couple of “friends” revealed themselves to be more drinking buddies than friends and so I have distanced myself. It’s sad but it is what it is. Hopefully your cousin genuinely was busy or whatever and will come around. If not, with the people who really matter to you, it’s probably worth spelling out how that makes you feel and that you could actually really use the companionship and support right now.

    It’ll get easier. I promise.

  7. Don’t want to be pushy on AA at all – but if you live in a major metropolitan area, there are probably several hundred meetings per week to choose from including for women, gay, smoking, nonsmoking, discussion, speaker, etc. etc.

    And yes, some folks in AA can be pushy, overly dogmatic, and severe. You will find horror stories on both sides of the issue. If what anyone does that does not include AA is working for them – have at it. However, if it is not working, I encourage folks to give AA a shot.

    • Thanks for your response. Every time I drive by the church that hosts some local aa meetings I am tempted to stop but just really intimidated. I almost feel like my problems are not bad enough for aa, if that makes sense? And then I will look like an attention whore for showing up…ugh I am just so confused.

      • There are online meetings where you can sit in the comfort and anonymity of your home. http://www.aaonline.net/ You can go to an “open” meeting where you don’t even have to consider yourself an alcoholic. You can go to some of these larger meetings with 50 or 60 other people and just melt into the background. You can drive to a meeting perhaps one hour away where you won’t know anyone and no one will know you. Again, not being pushy, just stating the options. If what you are doing is working for you, that is cool. If not, there are other other options to consider.

  8. I love the idea of you giving an aa meeting a shot, or really any face to face recovery group, just to meet some sober folks and have someone local you can call, ya know? You don’t even HAVE to do the steps and stuff, though you may decide to at some point. And different groups have different feels to them, so if one doesn’t click try another. The face to face is critical I think, especially if most of your current peeps drink.

    On my resources page, I have a link to what to expect from your first AA meeting. Takes some of the unknown away, so you won’t be as nervous.

    Just an option, but one that really helped me feel less lonely and more understood in the beginning.

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