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.