The feeling of being alone has always been something I've had to accept. When I was in my home, I felt stifled by the emptiness of the place. When I was in a crowded room, I felt overpowered by the sense of connection others seemed to feel with each other. Real or imagined, literal or figuratively, I longed for what everyone around me had- a way to exist and connect.
When I started drinking, I suddenly found that these walls that seemed to have been built around me would come down. I could laugh, smile, and become engaged in conversations in a way I hadn't done before. I felt heard and understood. I felt like I could express myself without fear of misunderstanding.
However, rather than that being the truth, it was just a way for me to deal with my social anxiety. And soon, it became something that I needed not only to interact with others, but to be honest with myself. Instead of what I had used as a crutch, drinking became a ball and chain. I couldn't seem to function in any setting without a drink or the preoccupation of getting to the next drink. It became an ironic twist of fate that the thing I'd begun doing to be able to have relationships with people led me to start alienating those around me. I would feel as though they were standing in the way of my next drink or judging me because I was drinking. I began knowingly and unknowingly pushing people away. I soon ended up alone again, but this time, it was a true thing- there was no imagining or misconception.
After a long stretch of self-imposed isolation and self-destructive hard drinking, I had a rare moment of clarity in a hospital bed and realized that if I didn't get sober, I wouldn't make it much longer. So, I quit drinking and went into a 28-day inpatient program. I came out to an outpatient and sober house living arrangement. But knowing what I know about myself, I began looking for people, places, and things I could do to make human connections while still adhering to a sober lifestyle.
I fell into THRIVE through a friend and finally found something new. A place where it's simply about being sober and connecting with others trying to stay sober. No message, no meetings, and no requirements. Those things are available among other things. However, for me it’s just a place to simply be, interact, support, and spend some time with others in similar situations. I've found help through some of the outreach of peer advocates and been able to help others just by being there to listen to them. By sharing this place with others- I finally don't feel so alone. I finally found a place where I can just be. And that simple fact has made all the difference in my recovery.
East End THRIVE