Isolated is what I most want to be, because it’s what I’m most familiar with. I was alone as a kid: first by exclusion, then by choice. And once I understood the soothing power that comes with not caring about others, the rest was easy.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
I knew long before I ever took a drink that I didn’t mix with people. I kept my distance from the crowds and hung with a small, rotating cast, knowing that none would become life-long friends. I wouldn’t have life-long friends.
Then, with the tipping back of my first keg beer into a 7-11 cup, people liked me! I was fun to be around and conversations were easy. I now had a liquid excuse to be unafraid.
And that epiphany lasted all of 3 months. In less than 100 days, I was stealing shots from the shared mini-fridge, and being screamed at by my roommate. People were starting to hate me for a whole separate set of reasons. Which was fine: I’d found something I like so much better than people.
Fast-forward twenty years. What have I learned? That if you’re diligent, you can drink yourself silly on the down-low for years and people will leave you alone. What I dreaded as a child I now craved as an alcoholic. Rod Serling would be proud.
So, today: understand that I was attempting to hang out with the wrong people. The normals. And that can’t happen successfully until I realize I’m not one of them. I’m one of us.
Self sufficiency can be a mask I wear to keep from dealing with people. The program has given me ways to deal with people and for them to be able to deal with me. Still not my first instinct or reaction, but much better.