Being Alone vs. Feeling Alone
I saw this posted on Facebook and below it there were roughly 30 comments. I clicked on the comments because I assumed it would be people exploring this concept of being alone vs. feeling alone and what I found was a long argument about whether or not Robin Williams actually said this. Really?
So I will to explore the concept and leave those commenters to their misery.
I attended rehab 2 years ago. I was required to go to a Friday night women’s AA meeting that was held on the grounds. I hated it. I felt judged, unwanted and unworthy. But, I wanted to get sober and so I continued attending this meeting because you’re supposed to do as you’re directed.
Women often shared about how they hated the meeting at first, but when they got some time under their belts they started to love it. I didn’t have this experience. Months passed and I still felt judged, unwanted and unworthy. I tried to fellowship with these women, contrary to my internal instinct which was to avoid them, but I felt like I was purposely being kept on the outside.
The interesting thing was that I didn’t even like these people. I was grasping for something I didn’t want. The saying I had heard was, “If you want what I have, do what I do.” But I didn’t want what they had. They were crabby and complained at every meeting. They had time, but their lives still seemed unmanageable. I tried, with minimal effort, to fit into their click, but in the end I gave up because what they had didn’t seem so shiny or desirable. Drinking seemed like a better plan. And so I drank.
I partially blame my relapse on those unwelcoming women. I simultaneously take responsibility for my relapse in that we all make our own decisions and it was me, not them, who took the first drink. But in the end I felt it was worse to feel alone in a group of people then to be alone with the drink.
I went back to that meeting 3 days ago. I brought with me my 1.5 years of sobriety, my new found confidence, and my sister-in-law. I needed to know if those women were as horrid as I had remembered or if I was just a newcomer with skewed thinking.
I left mid meeting feeling the need to escape the miserable energy. The room sucked the life and joy out of me. I left knowing that I was not wrong – that my experience of that Friday night meeting being my first home group was truly unfortunate.
I’m sure there are women that room has helped. Everyone arrives with a different set of needs. But this meeting didn’t meet any of mine. Not one.
I have since found a home group and a group of people who embrace me, care deeply for me and look out for me. I have found women who are brilliant, funny and share my values. These women are vital to my sobriety. They keep me in check. It was only because of my determination that I found them. I didn’t stop searching. I walked into room after room, alone, until one felt right. It was like searching for my soul mate.
These Anonymous groups are a little more tricky then they’re led on to be. I feel that they’re often misrepresented by being your solution wrapped up into a neat 1 hour meeting wherever and whenever. The truth is they require some recon. You have to be ready to be uncomfortable for as long as it takes. You have to trust your gut when it tells you that this room, or this group just doesn’t feel right for you. And you have to trust that there’s a room and a group that will.
If you are new to sobriety please explore different meetings and look for one that meets your needs. Look for one where the people are welcoming and happy to see you. Those meetings exist. Don’t settle for a meeting that is less then what you need. Don’t try to fit yourself into a group that doesn’t suit you.
If you do, you just might find yourself scrolling around on Facebook arguing about who authored enlightening quotes instead of absorbing and growing from them.