10 Things I’ve Learned From Choosing Sobriety Over Friendships

Flickr
Flickr

I want to make this clear out of the gate:  I’m not a creepy, social recluse incapable of socially interacting with other people on a normal level.  Throughout my life I’ve been an outgoing, funny guy.  I always had a great deal of friends from various circles.  However, since I chose the path of sober living I’ve lost all the folks I considered “good friends.”  As a matter of fact, none of those people even bother to contact me simply to see how I’m doing.

A large portion of my time is spent at home because I haven’t really developed any close relationships in sobriety.  All of the people I used to pal around with are still actively drinking and/or smoking, and frankly I don’t want to be around that.  Furthermore, I don’t come across many new people who can have an enjoyable evening without getting loaded.  I love being around sober people, but sadly I don’t really spend time with them outside “the rooms.”

I would like to share with you some facts, both enlightening and demoralizing, that I’ve gathered about myself and life in general through the process of journeying through existence without any close friends.

I’m just as weird as everybody always told me I was.  I received this all of my life and never viewed it as a negative thing.  I still view it as an attribute, but never realized how true it really is until I began spending countless nights alone.  I am weird.  I do goofy things and I’ve always justified them with the claim “I aim to entertain myself.”  I truly do.  While sitting by myself I’ll say outlandish things in different voices or audibly quote random rap lyrics.  The unsettling fact is nobody’s around to laugh with me these days.  I’m like a fun, functioning schizo.

When I’m actually around others I can’t stop talking.  Admittedly, I’ve invariably loved to hear myself talk.  I believe I have a lot of insight and comedic value to offer others, but in recent months the “others” aren’t around.  Therefore, when I’m actually in a social situation I may get to a point of annoyance and I’m unable to fully realize it until after the fact.  It’s not something I can help despite knowing nobody wants to hear my analyses of 90s romantic comedies.

  Significant time alone has caused me to develop strange new interests.  For example, plump women and the yearning to own a monkey as a pet.

Old “friends” only contact me when emotional support is needed.  As mentioned, people from my past don’t reach out to me often, and never in the interest of spending time together.  They know my state of living and wouldn’t want to waste any time that could potentially be spent smoking a blunt or filling a shot glass.  They can certainly come to me for advice or emotional uplifting though!

– Watching movies isn’t as fun when you can’t tell people about them.  My favorite aspect of watching old horror and thriller films used to be telling friends how interesting they were, and recommending them to people with similar taste.  Now I have built-up knowledge about irrelevant films which isn’t of any interest to the lady at the gas station.

I can’t appreciate my dogs quite like I used to.  Seeing my girls was a lot more pleasurable after coming home from a night out with friends.  Now they’re just kind of there…all the time.  Their adorable faces are nice to wake up to, but they really should learn to talk and debate with me on the most overrated rappers.

Material things are worthless.  In retrospect, building up my sneaker collection and buying nice clothes was plainly an ego boost.  My ego has deflated and led me to register all of my expensive fashions are meaningless.  My purpose was to look good for women and be envied by peers who weren’t well-off enough to have such things.  Nowadays I don’t “go out,” so women aren’t looking and nobody’s complimenting.  Self-searching also aided in this realization, but that all stemmed from extended alone time.

–  I can be aware of and work on my character defects.  I can’t fully chalk this up to to being solitary.  I owe an enormous amount of thanks to faith in a higher power and the program for the ability to step outside myself and look in.  Nonetheless, constantly being by myself gives me the opportunity to sincerely self-reflect.  I have the time to genuinely review my past, look at my mistakes and discern what issues within myself caused me to make them.

– Thinking is now more of an issue than ever.  Pairing along with self-reflection is the constant stream of thoughts I face every second of the day.  Thinking too much is a trait I have lived with forever.  In the present I have nobody but my higher power to take me out of myself.  I don’t continuously have others around to distract me from persistent thought, AKA my worst enemy.  In regard to self-searching it can be a great thing.  On all other accounts it’s daunting.

Nobody can make me as happy as I can.  Being forlorn can be quite depressing at times, but it has forced me to realize I can only depend on myself for happiness.  This constant isolation has pushed me out of the dependent, needy role I was once living.  I don’t need anyone catering to me in order to feel content with myself.  In relation to the aforementioned character defects, neediness was a prime factor in my past failed relationships.  During these relationships I firmly believed I NEEDED that significant other for my well-being.  I’ve come to a point where I can feel joy and be content with myself without someone consistently saying great things about me; also a point where I can make amends to those I hurt in my old state of mind.

By now I’m sure you’ve discerned that having no friends and little time with others has been more of a blessing than a curse for me.  Self-discovery would not have been possible without this extended time away from a social life, in addition to a higher power and the program.  Growing to love and accept myself would not have been possible either.  The people who are incessantly with friends and going out are likely much sadder than they would like us to believe.  I’m certainly at a place in life where I’m ready to be more social, but my personal development and satisfaction required the alone time.

Finally, I want readers to understand my mentioning of “a higher power.”  I’m simply referring to a higher power of my understanding in which I choose to believe.  For me that happens to be God.  I understand many out there choose to believe faith in anything is a crock of shit.  In my personal experience I’ve found it necessary to have a belief in something, and a continuous relationship with said something.  Very generally, this relationship has given me meaning and purpose.  Some may think that makes a person stupid or weak.  If you do happen to feel that way please keep it to yourself.  None of this is relevant to the main substance of the article, but clearing things up seemed necessary to prevent useless comments from atheists or agnostics. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Related

More From Thought Catalog