What Do You Expect?

I recently received a letter from a person who was detoxed at home, and who is sitting around feeling miserable and wondering when the symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal are going to ease up. [Not you, Matt.]

There are two issues here.  First of all, it’s not uncommon for people to either become depressed when they stop drinking or using other drugs, or to have been attempting to self-medicate  previously-existing emotional or other disorders with the booze.  In either case, quitting without support is likely to create feelings — both psychological and physical — that folks new to recovery are simply not equipped to handle alone.

There’s a saying (that you’ll read over and over if you hang around here) that “When you keep on doing what you used to do, you’ll keep on getting what you used to get.”   This is rather akin to the well-known “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  What did we do when we were using?  We isolated.  Often we drank or drugged alone, or with people to whom we were able to relate only superficially due to our mutual conditions, and every drunk and addict knows that feeling of  alone-ness while surrounded by other people.  Drunks and addicts isolate — emotionally, if not physically.

It therefore follows, as the night the day, that isolation is not a good thing for us.  It gives us too much time to feel sorry for ourselves, too much time to mull over old wrongs and resentments, too much time to decide that if it doesn’t get any better than this, we might as well use.

If you’re sitting around home, down in the dumps, either see a shrink for the depression or — possibly better yet — get to a 12-step meeting, make some new friends, and begin to change your life.  If it doesn’t work, they’ll be happy to refund your misery.
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So, what’s your experience with isolation? Tell us about it. You might save someone’s life.

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