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Old 01-15-2010, 11:43 AM
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Matters of the Heart(positively non-medical)

Hello all,

I know I'm not "new new" to sobriety, but it's been a strange journey these past four months and so many days. I could really use some help from people other than my sponsor, if you all don't mind sharing some thoughts on my problem.

I have enjoyed some of the benefits of living sober (mainly through my bank account and the lack of hangovers, but those are both good in my book) but these past few months have been some of the lonliest of my life. No matter how many people I talk to, no matter how many meetings I go to, I still feel empty and disappointed with life. I am single, and I have been before and my sponsor says that I should not pursue a relationship within the first year of sobriety... does anyone have any suggestions on how I can go about feeling less lonely and more fulfilled with life?

I'm starting to feel real tangible pain in my chest whenever I get lonely. This has happened before, but not within the last four years. This is disturbing me because the last time I was like this, I nearly committed suicide. I'm not sure what I might do this time around because it seems that most of my social network has abandoned me because I can't drive and I don't drink.

What can I do?? Please help.
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Old 01-15-2010, 11:53 AM
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Welcome to SR.

While I don't have any suggestions... I can't help but notice you darn near posted the same thing I just wrote out. So know at least that you are not alone in your loneliness... as apparently neither am I.

I come to SR--often--because I don't have anybody to talk to in real life. It sounds trite, but it does seem to work. Although I really want real-life friends too... I just don't know how yet. I have similar problems, with the not driving, and the not drinking.

So sorry if this wasn't very helpful, but welcome.

TB
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:02 PM
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Have you finished working through the steps with your sponsor. I know exactly the pain you are talking about and had this a lot when i ddid my not drinking stint a year last october for 5 months. This time i have worked the steps and continue to do so on a daily basis and haven't had the pain, in fact everything has changed and i am a very different person. So the steps, where are you with them?

Stick around here too, lots of people to say hi to to keep yourself occupied:-)
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:05 PM
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Welcome to SR!

I am sorry you are lonely.

Do you go to AA? You will meet a lot of people there if you go early and stay a little late.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:18 PM
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YeahGr8,

I am working through the steps, but I'm taking my time, partly because the big book says "be fearless and thorough" and partly because I procrastinate a little bit. I'm working on my 4th step right now. And I'm being VERY thorough when I do work on it. So in short, I'm not all the way through them, and I was hoping that there was something I could do while working the steps to feel better, because even though I am doing them (albeit somewhat slowly...but my 4th step is pretty long) I'm not really getting a lot of relief. Granted, I don't harbor as many resentments as I used to... but it certainly doesn't make me feel any less alone.

And I am very well aware that I'm not the only person to feel what I'm feeling. I know I'm not a unique snoflake and there isn't anything I can feel that hasn't already been felt by at least a couple of people before me. While I do appreciate the comradery, I'm still miserable and I have no idea what to do about it, and my sponsor just says "work your steps" Which is a little less than helpful because I am working them, and to work them any more rapidly would be wrong in my eyes because I don't want to leave anything out, or skip something for fear of my sobriety not being of the right quality.

Does that make sense?
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:20 PM
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Bananagrrl,

Yes, I do go to AA. I go to meetings at least 3 days a week, and I used to go everyday. I mentioned that I go to meetings.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by robobrain View Post
YeahGr8,

I am working through the steps, but I'm taking my time, partly because the big book says "be fearless and thorough" and partly because I procrastinate a little bit. I'm working on my 4th step right now. And I'm being VERY thorough when I do work on it. So in short, I'm not all the way through them, and I was hoping that there was something I could do while working the steps to feel better, because even though I am doing them (albeit somewhat slowly...but my 4th step is pretty long) I'm not really getting a lot of relief. Granted, I don't harbor as many resentments as I used to... but it certainly doesn't make me feel any less alone.

And I am very well aware that I'm not the only person to feel what I'm feeling. I know I'm not a unique snoflake and there isn't anything I can feel that hasn't already been felt by at least a couple of people before me. While I do appreciate the comradery, I'm still miserable and I have no idea what to do about it, and my sponsor just says "work your steps" Which is a little less than helpful because I am working them, and to work them any more rapidly would be wrong in my eyes because I don't want to leave anything out, or skip something for fear of my sobriety not being of the right quality.

Does that make sense?
Total sense.

Let's use me as an example. I worked the steps, after doing the first 3 which was not any work at all, moved onto 4-9. 4-9 took me roughly 4 weeks with 2 financial amends that took longer to make but i have since done so. I worked the steps as quickly as possible to the best of my ability because it was how my sponsor did his and, as he explained, you get basically **** all until half way through step 9.

Do you know the promises? In my book (third edition) they are on the top of page 84 (begin at bottom of p83). This is why we are working the steps, read them and you will hopefully be able to see why the loneliness that i had before left me, why i could understand and accept that the recommendation of 1 year alone (if not already in a relationship) was prudent and wise (well my sponsor said 2 years to me but maybe you aren't as sick as i was). You will want to start working on yourself to ensure you are not the person you once were and you will not attract the sort of friends or partners you had before, because one thing is certain like does beget like...that's a fact alcoholic or not. Why on earth, having been restored to sanity, would i want any part of my life to be like it was before...i'm not insane anymore!

So suck it up, stop procrastinating and work the steps as quickly as possible to the best of your ability. Does that make sense?
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:47 PM
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Hi Robobrain,

Welcome!

I was blessed to kind of fall into volunteer work, literally in my first week of sobriety. It was absolutely the best thing that could have happened.

It made get outside myself and do something for the greater good. I met some of the most amazing women I could ever imagine, and I made a couple of really good friends as well. Take a look around your community and see what you can offer. You'll be surprised at the payback.
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:50 PM
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Howdy Robo,

This is exactly why I had to take the 12 Steps and live in that solution, by those principles. That lonliness and isolation you describe doesn't get better by not drinking. It gets better by a new life as the result of the spiritual awakening from the Steps.

Originally Posted by robobrain View Post
No matter how many people I talk to, no matter how many meetings I go to, I still feel empty and disappointed with life.
And why shouldn't you? Are there any promises in the program of AA that says if you talk to people and go to meetings you will be fulfilled? Can I ask, what Step you are on?
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:55 PM
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Robo!

I too cannot drive and I too do not drink. I know the feeling my man. I work full time and I'm doing 90 meetings in 90 days (I'm on step 2). I also go to outpatient therapy two nights a week.

So yes, I'm busy, but I'm also very lonely at times too. Sometimes I come home and I just want to do anything other than work on my recovery. I want to mix it up a little, I wanna socialize, I wanna mess around with girls, but I can't do that right now.

I do have some advice for you though. Try doing somethings for other people. It always works for me as it gets me out of my head, usually very quickly.

Just my 2 cents. ...and hang in there. You are worth it.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:14 PM
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Keithj,

I know the promises don't say anything about meetings making life better, but many of the other AAs I've met seem to think it does, as far as the talking with people, I figured that trying to be more social (like I was when I was intoxicated) would help me not be in my head so much. I thought that by trying to really listen to other people and getting to know them, I would have something to shift my focus, even just for one day. This however, did not work as I thought.

And I'm on my 4th step, working it in columns, I'm presently on the 4th set of columns, or rather the "where I was wrong" category. My inventory is pretty long because I've carried around a lot of resentment and anger for most of my years.

Kjell,

Thanks for the advice, and I try to do things for others when I can, but unfortunately there aren't alot of people around me to help most of the time. I try to do my job to the best of my abilities and yeah, I'll admit I'm procrastinating on my steps, and I have no justification for it, other than it's difficult for me. But I'm not completely slacking.

I hope that I can find someway to be more useful to people and get out of my own misery, but I haven't had too many opportunities so far. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, I do appreciate everyone's input, and I understand I must work harder on the steps...but are there any supplementary tools I can use to alleviate the way I feel?
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:31 PM
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Hi,

I know that feeling very well. There's many times I have felt isolated both physically and emotionally prior to recovery and during relapse. You may not have many people around you, friends, relationships etc but self-pity can be very destructive. Oh poor me, poor me, pour me another........

The answer is in working ALL the 12 Steps. Please read Bill's story P12 and 13 in the Big Book and see how quickly he worked the steps. Keep it simple.

Yes you need to be thorough at Step 4 but you can do it in a couple of days. Use a weekend, take some time off work. Do it now, like your life depends on it.

Step 5 can be done the next day. Step 6 takes one hour and usually by then you are ready to so Step 7 - instantly.

Your step 8 list has been made in step 4 and you just need to be "willing".

Step 9 you may need some input from your sponsor as to where it is appropriate to make amends and where not but you can start straight away making amends because you are already willing (step 8).

Once you have the willingness and the process starts that's when you are on your way to the promises.


Step 10 you start the next day and every day after.

Then you are at Step 11 and Step 12 and to me this is where you fill that void. God is inside you filling it but you are looking out towards others helping them - this is God's will.

You may also do service at meetings, get to know more people. Once you start sharing your recovery people will start approaching you, asking you how they can get what you have got.

Life will change for you then. Good luck, let us know how you get on. You have plenty of friends here.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by robobrain View Post
Anyway, I do appreciate everyone's input, and I understand I must work harder on the steps...but are there any supplementary tools I can use to alleviate the way I feel?
Have you ever told anyone at the meetings how lonely you are and asked to meet up?

Perhaps others are feeling the same. An AA meeting is certainly one place where you can open up about your feelings without the fear of being laughed at. You could even share how you feel in a meeting......perhaps someone may approach you after.

Look out for what you can do for other, rather than looking in at you and what is missing in your life.

Procrastination is just part of the alcoholic disease. It's very cunning and trying to draw you back in. Right now it is being successful. You have got so low you are even starting to think back to a time when you had been suicidal in the past and you are feeling the pain so bad the pain is physical. The next step will be picking up a drink. That's what your disease wants.

When I have sponsored I have got the sponsee to make an appointment to do Step 5 before they even start Step 4 so it is a few days after they start the Step 4. Taking a long time to review all the crap we have experienced in our life or all the bad we have done is enough to make anyone miserable. The 12 Steps are not meant to make you miserable - I go back to Bill's story P12 & 13 - see how quick he did them.
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:46 PM
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Dont despair as you are no alone!!!!!
I have 4 kids,work as a nurse with people all day, have enough friends etc etc but stll at times suffer such profound lonliness which i "treat"by keep going back to my sick relationship of 8 years, and ONE of the reasons i binge drink .
I dont know whether you are a reader, but getting immersed in a good book helps this alcoholic alleviate my pain.nevertheless we are different BUT i am really working within developing a rich inner life instead looking to others and alcohol to fill my "hole in the soul"
kind regards Julia
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:48 PM
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Just to add re the relationship issue, I don't think you can put a time limit on it, like a year, but you do need to be working all the 12 Steps.

When you are living God's will you will be living your life differently and you will enter a relationship from a completely different place from where you are now.

If you get involved now as a lonely, needy person you will end up having a disastrous relationship in the long-term. It may give you a short term boost but it won't be healthy. I've been there, done that and I would guess many people who are on this site could tell you similar stories.

I think people work 12 Step programmes for co-dependancy too
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Old 01-15-2010, 01:59 PM
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I can't give you any advice because I am not working your program but if it was me and I wanted to date I would date regardless of what someone else told me I should or shouldn't do.
Hope you can find something to make you feel less lonely.
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:08 PM
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Hey Robo,

I recently posted some thoughts very similar to yours. Loneliness, wondering if the fight to stay sober is worth it some days. But you know what? It really did pass and talking to the good folks here on SR helped with that A LOT. I also pop into the chat room every now and then when I need to be talked off the ledge because I'm thinking of having a drink.

But things are getting better and for the first time I am actually starting to visualize and see possible, a healthy happy life.

I don't know how bad my drinking was, compared to others in the program, but not dating for 6 months to a year just isn't realistic for me. And I just flat out have to be honest about that. What I CAN DO, however, is everything in my power to make good choices about dating, not rush into anything and really make sure I'm doing things for the right reasons.

I have also started reading again, as I had that darn addictive television taken out months ago, and feels like I'm visiting with people when I read. So maybe that will work for you as well.

I'm sorry you're feeling so down. Think about something you love doing, that maybe you've procrastinated about or just haven't had the motivation to do, and just go do it! Just get out there and do something you wouldn't normally do. Get outside of your comfort zone!
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Old 01-15-2010, 02:26 PM
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robo,
hey man, I'm going through the same feelings right now and I honestly believe that like drinking I'm addicted to not being alone. The last time I was alone was before I met my ex-wife and I was 27 years old, living with my buddy working as a brewmaster and partying like a rock star. Though I was single, I would "hook" up weekly with girls at the bar and have a constant love affair with beer, booze and wine. I was never never alone.
I have a belief that, at times, there are two different "truths" raging a war within my head. The surface truth might say, "just stop by the bar, have a glass of pinot noir, strike up a convo with the 2 ladies and you will feel great", but there is the deeper truth that says, "rob, man, you know exactly where that will lead you in a day, week, month (the truth is i never know; what i do know it always ends badly).
I don't know if this will relate to you, but I do believe the deeper truth, although not immediate, will give you a contentness built on a strong, wide foundation--one that will withstand many different test. The surface truth is a proverbial Caeser--hand is out with intent to shake, the other has a knife behind the back.
Good luck with it, cause I fight the same thing every second. I feel so alone right now. I have a mother and father who adore me and are willing to talk and when I am on the phone with them I feel like they are not even there. It sucks, because I love them from the bottom of my heart. I guess I just hold on to the fact that someday--hopefully sooner then later--my cup will be overflowing and my ability to give honestly will be back.
Again,
We are all dancing with wolves together
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:24 PM
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Robo, thanks for sharing. It has really helped me more than you may ever know.

What you are feeling is nothing uncommon from what I've felt. I'm convinced alcohol (spirits) was my first spiritual awakening. It filled my soul for years. Then I don't know how it happened, but it quit doing what it once did. It still did something, but in an empty sort of way. When I put it down completely, my soul seemed to slowly drain to beyond empty. I was shutoff from the sunlight of the spirit to say the least. White-knuckling, or so-dry-ety, is an awfully strange place to be. The great news however, is that there really is a power greater than alcohol. And it sounds like you are well on your way to tapping into it.

In the meantime, as far as relationships, a guy suggested prayer that helped me greatly:
"God if you see fit that I be in a relationship please make it so. Otherwise I will be happy just being with you until then." (Out loud helps..)

Lonliness:
I gave up my best friends Bud Weiser and Jose Cuervo. That made me very, very lonely. But it wasn't until I got to this point that I really became willing:
p. 152
"Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end. We have shown how we got out from under."

Had it not gotten that bad I would not have worked the steps, period. In hindsight pain and lonliness were gifts of desperation.

If there's any particular tangible to my spiritual awakening, it's that one night into the steps, I bowed my head at my desk. I felt two warm hands on my shoulders. I knew it was the father I had never known, and that he would take care of me. I could quit fighting, relax, and be at peace for the first time ever. He would always be there with me. I haven't felt the same since. I do feel a new belonging, that somehow gives me the ability to focus consciously and subconsciously on something other than another drink.

I do believe in fearless, thorough, honest. (Only partly attainable through much prayer/pain in my case) But I don't believe in perfect or permanent. In some cases it may be best to cast out the worst items immediately. Get some relief, develop some faith. Then get back to work in the never ending, always freeing process.

Please feel free to PM.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Stereosteveo View Post
If there's any particular tangible to my spiritual awakening, it's that one night into the steps, I bowed my head at my desk. I felt two warm hands on my shoulders. I knew it was the father I had never known, and that he would take care of me. I could quit fighting, relax, and be at peace for the first time ever. He would always be there with me. I haven't felt the same since. I do feel a new belonging, that somehow gives me the ability to focus consciously and subconsciously on something other than another drink.
Hi Steveo

I have also felt God physically (well that's how it felt) touch me.

I have lost contact but when I have reconnected, he has always given me a sign to show He is with me.

btw, I like that prayer your friend gave you about relationships. Thanks.
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