I Belong

Another friend died. As I understand it, he died sober. But he had stepped away from his recovery, and his recovery friends. My suspicion is that loneliness played a big part in it. But I’ll never know. His friends in recovery sure wish they could have been there for him. But he had pushed them away. Alcoholics do that. We push away everyone who loves or cares for us and then feel sad and lonely. I do know that if I stop doing what has been working so well for me for so many days now, it won’t end well. Most likely, I’ll die alone, sad, and lonely.

I am a dichotomy. I am an introvert who loves attention. 

A couple of instances: 

  • I love Halloween. I love dressing up in ridiculous costumes. Then I am really uncomfortable with the attention that I receive. But I would like to hear about how great my costume was later. That I made the memory book.
  • I want everyone to be happy to see me, and then leave me alone(ish). I would love to show up to an event, have everyone happily greet me with “JOHN!” and then be given a dog and put in the corner. But then I would probably feel left out…

Confusing, right? Try being me. But I am not alone in my desire to be (sort of) left alone. I’m sure there are more like me, but I do know my immediate family is the same way. I have a wife and two kids. We can go on road trips for hours or weeks, and do great together, in close quarters. But the minute we get home, we scatter as quickly as possible. It’s like someone set off a stink bomb! An outsider would think we had gotten into a verbal altercation, but no. We just need our space, to ungroup, for a bit. But then a couple of hours later, there we are joining back up again, like nothing is out of the ordinary, because it isn’t, for us… for me.

It may be odd for other people, who are not like me. And that’s okay. We are supposed to be different. I have heard that the only way an introvert makes friends is when an extrovert is friendly to them. It’s funny because it’s true. I used to worry about what people think. I still do, but less now, because I’m working on it. What other people think of me is none of my business

There is nothing wrong with being who or how I am. It’s ok to be uncomfortable. Everything is ok. Whether I like it or not. It’s ok even if it’s not ok.

So, to stay connected is safer for me than not. To be in the room, even if I feel like an outsider. What helps me to feel like I am a part of, is to be of service. Helping makes me feel more like I belong, just by contributing, by adding to the woodpile. Even if it makes me uncomfortable to be there. Because, if I’m not there, I don’t get to hear what happens to people who aren’t there. To learn from others’ unfortunate examples. I cannot take my sobriety lightly, ever. If I stop, I’ll forget. And that may kill me, or what would be worse, I may suffer a very long time, active in my disease. Pushing away my friends and family. Death would be better.

So for today, I am happy. I have never had it so good. I’m so grateful that when I got recovery I received mercy rather than what I felt I deserved. Today I am connected, and I remember to say thanks. I try to be there, be a part of, and be grateful for the opportunity to help.

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