When I was using, sometimes I felt like I was living in solitary confinement. My addiction was my incarceration–a lonely, frightening and lifeless jail of my own doing. Now that I’m clean and sober there is a whole dimension of solitude I’ve learned to embrace rather than fear.
During my first year of sobriety, dealing with solitude was difficult. Like many others entering recovering, I had to let go of friends who used and using patterns I had developed that were social. Although I had developed other social networks with the program, I still couldn’t be with people 24/7 and those hours spent by myself were probably the hardest part of my first 90 days. I remember how being alone clean and sober felt so overwhelming. I had come to realize that in the past, whenever I was uncomfortable being alone, I turned to drugs to fill the void. Then that isolation became my solitary confinement. Rather than just enjoying the silence I would fill it with clouded, drugged out ruminations. The alienation I felt in addiction was a separation from my own feelings. I had lost the ability to be alone.
Solitude in sobriety is a wonderful thing since the silence I feel now is not negative but a device I use to tune out everyday noise and be present with myself. Taking the time to be with my spiritual self in solitude is to be present with my Higher Power, my Higher Self and provides a moment to heal from the heart.