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Why do we Isolate?

Old 05-09-2013, 06:16 AM
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Why do we Isolate?

Just wondering why we isolate when drinking or withdrawing? When I drink or come down from its effects, I have zero tolerance of being social. I try to put off every activity that I have planned with friends. I want to hide away and just be alone. Is it the shame? Fear of being found out or embarrassed? I have to go out today and wish I did not. I don't want to talk to anyone or even go out- But I have no choice.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:19 AM
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Not wanting to be found out for me, the guilty shame I have been secret drinking so isolate so no one sees my withdrawals.
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Old 05-09-2013, 06:37 AM
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Our affliction thrives in isolation.

That's why I think face-to-face support can be helpful (hint, hint). Sorry to see that your struggles continue, NewHouse.
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Old 05-09-2013, 09:10 AM
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I think shame is a big part of it. I also think that intoxication itself, by warping the senses, turns our attention away from the exterior world and into ourselves. So, if you get too used to being focused inward, you start to lose touch with the world outside yourself, and fall out of practice in knowing how to deal with it.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:05 AM
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I isolated cause I didn't feel I was fit to be anyone's company. I no longer feel that way.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:08 AM
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probably a lot of different reasons for different people. i dont recall ever thinkin about it, but i would have to say low self esteem. i was sure everyone was lookin at me and thinkin i was a useless POS. yup, i thought i was that important in everyone elses world.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:11 AM
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I agree with the low self esteem comment. Personally I was completely disappointed in myself. As soon as I realized I have a problem is when I started feeling bad when I drank. I think all aware alcoholics know they are better than the bottle.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:28 AM
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When I drank I didn't need any people. I had all the people I needed in the bottle.

Everybody else was just a hassle. I wound up being a hermit.
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:44 AM
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Bottle was the best friend ever. Actually the most evil mistress. It was escape from responsibility, stress etc. Irrational avoidance; time now to live life and know it will never be perfect, but can be very rewarding. It's not what you look at its what you see.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:19 AM
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"No man is an island, entire of itself"
~~ John Donne

This alcoholic never isolated while drinking. Drinking was a team sport. I isolated because of other reasons that ultimately fueled my drinking and drugging.

Being gay, feeling lesser, my childhood abuse, a general feeling of loneliness and being misunderstood drove me to be quiet and unassuming. To never have felt like I could be seen. Not until my 30's did I realize I could be seen.

The odd part is I started drinking at 28. Nothing before that. Then I used drinking to get out and meet people. Expand my horizons.

I think people isolate for many reasons. Drinkers don't have a corner on anything with regard to that. Drinking seems to be just another reinforcing aspect to someone's already isolating nature.

Of course I could be all wrong. And we just want to hide our drinking.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:36 AM
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For me it's the lack of energy that comes with early recovery. The first few weeks are full of this new found energy. Now I feel like the bottom has dropped out. I know it's temporary but I certainly don't feel very social. That will come in time. I need to learn to live in my own skin I guess. Baby steps.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by InNeedOfGrace View Post
I think shame is a big part of it. I also think that intoxication itself, by warping the senses, turns our attention away from the exterior world and into ourselves. So, if you get too used to being focused inward, you start to lose touch with the world outside yourself, and fall out of practice in knowing how to deal with it.
Thank you for this post. This resonates with me so much. I've been isolating for 6 years since my husband's death. When drinking, I found people to be not very interesting, boring, downright irritating at times, and when I had a social event that I couldn't get out of, I always made sure that I had hit the liquor store first, so that I could "soothe" myself once I got home.
Drinking has closed me off to really listening, paying attention to other people and their lives, stories. I'd get resentful too, that others had what I thought I wanted, so I'd prefer to stay alone at home with my "best friend".
It's very self centred, and selfish. I know I have been very bitter at times.
I live alone, so isolation has become a way of life, but one which I really want to change.
Sometimes I think people, even strangers can tell I'm a drinker, in stores eg, not just the liquor store, and I feel anxious, full of shame and a bit agoraphobic, and that fuels the isolation, so it becomes a vicious circle.

Day 9 for me and I'm working on not isolating, going to yoga classes twice a week, the meditative aspect of yoga helps me stay focused.
Breaking the habit of isolation is not easy, for me at least, it's like I have to relearn how to engage with others. Small steps, like anything else.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:32 PM
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shame, not feeling well physically, low esteem but also hating and having an arrogant contempt for the world...being depressed and not even realising it....

all those things are factors I think.

Things get better once we remove the alcohol and allow ourselves a little time to heal - the difference in my perspective was astounding

D
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Old 05-09-2013, 04:47 PM
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While drinking, it was definitely shame. I would go out drinking with friends and then retreat when I knew I was too drunk and just keep drinking alone.

Since sober... three big things, I think. First, I'm just exhausted still. I've noticed that after a few "normal" days, I inevitably have a day (like today) where I just feel kind of like I've washed up on a beach somewhere. Luckily although the fatigue is still there I am noticing that the "normal" days are becoming more and more busy. At the start a normal day might be grocery shopping, making dinner, and meeting up with a friend. Now I'm getting to the point where I can attend multiple appointments or engagements in one day, run errands across the city, etc.

Second, even though I isolated while drinking, I feel like a big part of my drinking was that I never wanted to spend any time with myself, ever. Anytime I was alone I was drinking to get rid of my own thoughts. So I feel like now I'm getting to know myself and like any new friendship it takes time.

And third... this is just such a huge transition, and in my case most of the people in my life don't know how big of a deal it is for me. I think that's naturally building in some space to my relationships. Not in a negative way. But I think that's why I spend so much time on SR. Getting sober is my project right now, but in many ways it's a secret project!
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Old 05-09-2013, 07:01 PM
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I isolated when I could because I was embarrassed of who I was when I was drunk. It was just easier to be my big old mess of a self without anyone judging me or having to make explainations. It was just me and my bottles and a numb brain.

Geez, when I think about that it makes me appreciate sobriety even more if that's possible! Today, I'm back to my sociable self and considering my whole job is social that's a really good thing
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by NewHouse2012 View Post
Just wondering why we isolate when drinking or withdrawing? When I drink or come down from its effects, I have zero tolerance of being social. I try to put off every activity that I have planned with friends. I want to hide away and just be alone. Is it the shame? Fear of being found out or embarrassed? I have to go out today and wish I did not. I don't want to talk to anyone or even go out- But I have no choice.

You hit it on the head. Everytime we drink it steals a little more of our self esteem and self worth.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:30 PM
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I know for me the isolation was a way to quiet the world. I hate busy/noisy days at work, and at the end of the day I just wanted to be left the hell alone to shut my brain off. A couple pills helped with that . A lot of it was fear of being caught with drugs too.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:37 PM
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I drank alone and isolated because I did not want people to find out my secret (that I am an alcoholic) also when I am in this state of mind, people get on my nerves. One reason I never drank in bars and am not a party person is that drunk people and people who are high really aggravate me with their stupidity whether I am sober or active.
Me, myself, my booze and classical opera...a scary, creepy neighborhood.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:49 PM
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Totally agree with your post, I feel the same, did the same.
Your signature quote says so much too, thanks.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Carlotta View Post
I drank alone and isolated because I did not want people to find out my secret (that I am an alcoholic) also when I am in this state of mind, people get on my nerves. One reason I never drank in bars and am not a party person is that drunk people and people who are high really aggravate me with their stupidity whether I am sober or active.
Me, myself, my booze and classical opera...a scary, creepy neighborhood.
Pretty much the same here. I didn't wreck my life in a bar, I wrecked it on my couch. I would watch whatever sports event was on TV after work and just drink until I had to go to bed. Weekends became isolated for me because I knew if I stayed alone, I could drink all day with no interruptions, sideways looks, or issues. I even came to the point of ordering vodka along with all my groceries from a delivery service, and after I quit my job and broke up with my girlfriend, I was basically a shut-in. Looking back I didn't even care, as long as I had my booze things were fine. The world collapsed around me and I didn't even dare go outside to check the mail.

Isolation is a breeding ground for alcoholism, like a petry dish and bacteria. Do you have any tricks for getting out of this situation? I have a few tips if you need anything, pretty simple stuff really but it builds up.
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