Tell me lies and hold me tight… I don’t want to be lonely tonight!
Loneliness is the worst emotion I have ever known. I can be lonely in a room of 100 people or at a quiet dinner with friends. It represents my downfall and I will do anything for just a few moments of relief. That saying “everyone looks good at closing time” is actually pretty accurate. How many times did I end up with a stranger just for company. It never provided anything more than the walk of shame the next morning.
I follow a pattern, I will begin to isolate from people and things that I normally enjoy and from the isolation develops loneliness. Unless you have felt the emptiness of being lonely none of this will resonant. For so many years, I silenced the loneliness with pills and alcohol. I turned to them as a friend at my lowest times and they turned on me with a vengeance. Loneliness is tough… being a lonely alcoholic is lethal. How many people do you know that have died from suicide or accidental overdoses trying to quiet the loneliness? Probably all of them.
It doesn’t matter how many people we’re around at the end of the day, we are all alone. It’s impossible for anyone to ever truly understand what it is to be you, to experience all the things you have experienced, to understand your joys and happiness, your pains and sorrows? We can talk to other people about how we feel, we can draw pictures, we can play music, but with all these attempts to communicate we cannot always get our feelings, across exactly as we wish we could. Hoping for them to understand… yet, you find no relief and that’s where the painful reality comes that ultimately we are alone… by ourselves in this world. Unfortunately, loneliness is a universal phenomenon, that will visit every human soul at some point in their life.
So, what is loneliness? Loneliness is not the same as being alone, it’s a feeling that causes people to feel empty, alone and unwanted. You can be living alone and live happily without much contact with other people… but when the feeling of loneliness comes to someone it doesn’t matter how much social contact they have, whether they are in a relationship or part of a huge family they will still feel lonely.
Loneliness is not feeling part of the world. You might be surrounded by loads of people but… you’re lonely. Some people experience deep and constant feelings of loneliness that come from within and do not disappear, regardless of their social situation or how many friends they have.
There are many reasons people experience this kind of loneliness. You might feel unable to like yourself or to be liked by others, or you may lack self-confidence. This may come from having been unloved as a child so that, as an adult, you continue to feel unlovable in all relationships. Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, people isolate themselves within their relationships because they are afraid of being hurt.
Remember, I have spent years in therapy trying to figure out why I was so lonely… once I got sober I could see the problems and how to work to improvement them …
So much loneliness can be alleviated by simply taking an action to get better…
1. Get Sober…. nothing is going to improve in your life as long as alcohol and drugs are in your body. It simply can’t happen. You have to be free of the chains that are keeping you enslaved. In your heart you know what I’m talking about ….
2. Take initiative. If you’re isolated find something you like to do outside your home… this is a good ways to meet people. In addition, try going through your phone and email address books as well as your Facebook and other social media contacts and make a list of people you haven’t seen or spoken to for a while. Don’t psych yourself out and tell yourself they’re not interested.
3. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Once you’ve compiled your list of friends and acquaintances, reach out to one of them each day…. Those of us in AA call our friends and sponsors daily… Yes, they might not have been in touch for a while or returned your phone call from two months earlier but give them the benefit of the doubt. Invite them to have coffee, or even a catch-up on the phone and you’ll be surprised by how many of them will happily make plans.
4. Approach people with optimism. It’s perfectly normal to fear rejection, but you have to get yourself in the right frame of mind when you contact people so the vibe you put out is positive and inviting (rather than overly cautious and uninviting). Getting into a positive head-space is also important when you contact people on-line. Emoticons can be very useful. “How have you been? :)” is much more appealing than “Haven’t heard from you in two months, wanna get together?”
Loneliness controlled my life for far too long. Don’t let it control yours…