social isolation

Old 05-25-2007, 08:00 AM
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social isolation

Since I started dealing with issues related to my son's addiction, I have become more socially isolated. I have never had a big circle of friends, but I was close with my circle at work and my family. Now I find it difficult to lift the phone to make a call to chat with anyone other than my daughters. My husband and I have not been active in church for many years and my daughters live hours away from our home. In a very special way, I feel close to members of my Alanon group, but I only see one member of the group outside of the meeting. Since I am a teacher, I am more isolated than ever during the summer. When I am around my students, I can break the hold of my obsessive thoughts and actually communicate. Now I sense that I am alone even when I am with people. If only I could break out of this shell of isolation.

This is an example of how addiction becomes a family sickness. My husband and I are both sick! It seems our lives are occupied with worries related to our son. Your thoughts and suggestions are requested. I have learned since joining this group that many of you share similar experiences. Even though my reactions may be different than others at SR, many of you suffer the same emotional and social ailments. How have you coped and reclaimed your life?

I would like to express my thanks to all members of SR who have shared your thoughts and stories. Your stories have touched my heart and opened my spirit.
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:06 AM
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I agree with you. I have been isolated for many year's aswell from my family and friends. Slowly I am creeping my way back. It is a sickness..
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:14 AM
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What we did - my sponsor was the instigator - is we started a Saturday Women's group. It started out as pure Alanon, but as we got bigger (we started with about 8 and are now aobut 23 or 25), we added AA women as well.

We are a study group - we have studied mostly the traditions, a set that was rewritten for relationships and the steps. Oh my goodness - what an incredible difference to our recovery.

Our meetings are 2 hours long, we share some pretty intimate stuff (thus the no men rule) and we use the Traditions to guide our meeting structure (no crosstalk, no judgments, that sort of thing). We have added a potluck (figures, eh?) and meeting one time a month.

One person started this group.... just one.

The book we used initially was Paths to Recovery (Alanon) - we tried to read one step or one tradition at each meeting, then we copied the pages at the end of the chapter - put a question in the hat, and drew it out randomly, then answered whatever question we picked (leaving it up to HP... smile).

This has changed the relationship with my Alanon buddies SOOOO much. We are not alike, for many reasons, we would generally not run in the same social circles, we might not even encounter one another often in our daily dealings... we are very different. Yet these are the women I can call in an emergency... true friends who see the "real" me and respond to her with their "True selves".

These women and I share smiliarities that "earthpeople" cannot imagine. Recently I finally realized what folks were talking about when they said "unconditional love".

It didn't happen overnight, but the Saturday meeting is THE most important one I attend. Perhaps something like that could work for you?

I hope so. (((hugs)))
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:24 AM
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Guinevere, I have been in your spot many times. I always had a lot of friends and was a very social person. Isolating myself was very out of character for me. I just felt that no one in my life could relate to me because they weren't going through what I was going through. I also didn't want to share my problems with them because it was too embarrasing. I have 2 good sons and I have sisters and brothers who I could share with. They all stuck by my side and encouraged me to do things in spite of my pain. I have 2 daughter-in-laws and a baby grandaughter. My husband is deceased.
Basically how I get through it is I have SR to share my deepest and most embarrasing issues of this addiction. I push myself to go out and do things. I work, and I go out line dancing. I took lessons when my husband died and discovered that music helped to heal my broken spirit. I made a lot of friends who I became very close with. I also have a summer getaway that I go to on the week-ends. I invite my widow friends along for week-ends and we have a sleep over, cook outs, we line dance, and laugh a lot. I have shared info of my daughter's addiction with my closest friends and it was the best thing I ever did, because now I don't have to put on a false face when I am down. They are supportive and love me no matter what.
I don't go to meetings or therapy. For me I didn't want what she has done to her life to consume that much of me. I did not want to be forced to go to things that I did not want to do. I have tried meetings, I didn't like it. I get a lot out of coming here to SR. I have made a special friend here and we talk on the phone and share a lot of the same feelings about our daughters. That has helped both of us so much. I do know that I can't do this alone. I cannot do it without God in my life. I go to a prayer group and I have people praying for my daughter everyday. Any way that I can bring God into her life and mine I will share so people will pray for us. Great things happen through the power of prayer. I never stop believing or having hope. For today I will keep SR in my life. I keep family and friends close, and I will keep on dancing.
I hope that you and your hubby can find a balance to put a smile back in your heart,

My prayers and blessings to you and your son...............Lo
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:25 AM
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It's just something you have to keep working on.
I joined a community lunch bunch, and reach out to others frequently. Some of our close friends know the struggle we've had over the years with the sons addictions, and have stood by us....others, I just never shared.

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Old 05-25-2007, 09:42 AM
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welcome to S.R. i am not sure if i have met you. in answer to your question remember the 3c's. you did not CAUSE it, you can not CONTROL it,& you can not CURE it. lots of times we feel guilty for our childrens addiction.i know i did for a lot of yrs until i found recovery.i felt like people were blaming me.go to meetings,lots of meeting.keep coming back here & know this is not your fault.there is nothing you can do for your son.the addict in my life is my son.he may or may not get better.hes been addicted to crack for arond 15 yrs & alcohol before that. he is now 36yrs old & looking at a lot of yrs in prison again.we have to work at making a life for is hard work to let go & let God. i love my son like every mom does but i have accepted the fact i have not control & it is let go or get dragged.keep coming back here.we are here for you.prayers for your son & mine & you & your husband.
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:58 AM
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I did the exact same thing. The worse my AH drug use got, the more I pulled away from everybody. I would let the phone ring, never answer the door, quit making plans and basically just let the world go by while I stayed inside my dark house completely depressed. It was all I could do to get through an 8 hour work day pretending like everything in my life was hunky dory, at the end of that day I would just hole up. I knew at the time it wasn't healthy, but I think I was giving all I had at work and just didn't have anything else to give.

My AH has been clean now for over 2 years, but I still find myself struggling with isolation more than anything else. It is something I have to work on every single week.
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:32 PM
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Basically, I did the same thing. At first even work was hard for me. All I wanted to do was sit at home, drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and ruminate. Then slowly after joining SR I started to have better days. This year my job has been really important to me because when I am at work, I can have fun and not think about my AD as much. I work in a school district too and am looking at summer vacation coming up. I am in a much better place than I was last year. I had to start doing the things that made me happy before my daughter was born. Things like long walks and fishing. It takes time but if you give it a chance you will start to feel better. Just know that your son's future choices are his to make. Awfulizing about things is not a good place to be. Out of choice, I don't have contact with my daughter. It is just easier not to be pulled into the drama that way and easier for me to stay sane and not awfulize as much. I hope that things get better for you. Hugs, Marle
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Old 05-25-2007, 01:51 PM
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I'm sorry that your mind is going crazy for your son, I know it's easy to let one thought lead to another and I know it's much much worse for a mother than for me, my xabf dominates my thoughts nearly every day since he broke up with me in January and once I found out he was smoking crack, I didn't know how I was going to get through some of the days I've experienced in the last couple of months. It's maddening to worry constantly about how they are, or what they're doing or if they are even safe. I just hope that if anything serious were to happen that someone would let me know. I'm sorry for the pain you're feeling, especially as a caring and loving parent.
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:04 PM
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get it, give it, grow in it
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When I find my thoughts on one of these three topics 1. fear 2. doubt 3. worry then I know it's time to change the subject. Does your Alanon group have a phone list? If not start one, if so, maybe you can reach out when you want to talk things out. I've made several friends that also have AD/AS that I call my step-sisters. It has been a God-send. I have to remind myself of all the fabulous things going on in my life. the only terrible thing is AS so in the scheme of things I have to remember to have gratitude and embrace the good, cuz what we focus on will magnify. I can relate to you, you are not alone with the sorrow of an AS, but I can't let the sorrow wear me down. Though at least one day I month I do allow myself to feel the sadness briefly.
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Old 05-25-2007, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ncdeac View Post
I did the exact same thing. The worse my AH drug use got, the more I pulled away from everybody. I would let the phone ring, never answer the door, quit making plans and basically just let the world go by while I stayed inside my dark house completely depressed. It was all I could do to get through an 8 hour work day pretending like everything in my life was hunky dory, at the end of that day I would just hole up. I knew at the time it wasn't healthy, but I think I was giving all I had at work and just didn't have anything else to give.
Sounds like me, when I was living with the addict, I kept what was going on a secret-I didn't feel comfortable telling anyone about the problem, and I didn't invite people over, cause I never knew how the addict was gonna act. I didn't like to leave the apt. to go out with friends much cause I felt like I had to "watch over" him to try to control his using and to make sure he didn't invite crackheads off the street into the apt. (I now know there was no point in that). I felt like I led a double life, I would go to work and look at all the 'normal' people around me and think, 'if they only knew.." Now that he is gone, I get together with my old friends more, some of them still know nothing about what was going on. It's nice to come here and be able to hear others' stories and know that I'm not alone with what I went through. I have yet to attend an alanon meeting. I am gonna try to go this week. I would like to meet some new people, but it is hard sometimes. Especially when your shy and trying to be sober.
Maybe try taking a class, being involved in going back to school at a later age in life helped my self esteem and helps keep my mind off the crap I went through.
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:07 PM
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get it, give it, grow in it
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This is a particularly difficult time for us moms, at least me. I keep getting graduation announcements in the mail from all my friend's children that have taken the traditional path and are graduating college now. Each time I get one it is a reminder that my son was kicked out of his college and his dorm the very 1st semester he was there do to his escalating drug habit. He has never gone back nor given up his habit. Graduations are a time for family celebration, my son doesn't come to many family events. We spent so many yrs. thinking we were preparing out children for a happy successful life and that is a hard one to give up. But what other choice do we have for now? I do keep my son in a place in my heart right next to hope. He has his own journey separate from me...I did my BEST
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Old 05-25-2007, 03:59 PM
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I stopped keeping secrets when Keith died. When this new situation arose with my daughter, I called my best friend. Once you open up, people open up about their addicts. Dont think its just us.
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:22 PM
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I also understand the pain and isolation. It is so hard, but you will get through. I hid everything for a couple of years due to embarressment and humiliation and ignorance that I had failed. With therapy, friend, and this site I can now talk about it a little more and be honest--we are not alone!

Know you are in my thoughts and prayers,
"..and the greatest of these is love"
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Old 05-25-2007, 07:32 PM
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I was very isolated when my XABF lived here. I am not a real social person... rather be with a small group or one person or no one... rather NOT socialize actually.

However, since XABF is gone I have been more socially involved.. I do things with neighbors and I go to church and my next thing will be to get into an obedience club/group with my dog.

However, I often choose to be alone. I like my solitude and my animals.

I know for me that you have to decide to do things, invite people to do them with you and, well, for me it is an effort. I make myself do things. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised by how much fun it is and other times I don't feel so much that way. I just keep pushing myself because I don't think it is healthy to be isolated as much as I am.
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Old 05-25-2007, 08:35 PM
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Living in the light
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I suggest you make a list of things you'd enjoy doing this summer. Do you have an interest you want to persue?
I have many interests and they have led me to get out of myself, meet and share with others and be happy discovering many fascinating areas of life.
All the preoccupation and worry for another does not change a thing.
Do what you love and enjoy....follow your dreams.
I learned to discuss problems related to AS and myself with Alanon members and some family, perhaps a friend or two as long I and they were comfortable.
Life is not just our troubles, it's a fabulous rainbow of discovery.
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