On the finer points of isolation
We have all done it. Many of us isolated when we drank, and some still do in sobriety. We may dress it up as “hibernating” or “being alone,” but it is usually not a positive thing. Generally, I am not good company for myself. Being accountable to my sponsor and other AAs keeps me from staying in isolation too long.
I always choose isolation. I even plan it. Maybe I did not get what I wanted, or maybe something “unfair” happened. I am different, I think, and misunderstood. I stop calling people and quit answering my phone. I go to different meetings where I can avoid communication and advice because people don’t know me. I pray with a bit of anger and read my meditations with a sarcastic attitude. Bad thinking and isolation lead me to negativity. Neither will help me get closer to my Higher Power or help me grow.
My sponsor has helped me see that isolating is partially an act of self-pity. If I don’t think I am being treated fairly, I pout and brood as I did when I drank. I am unwilling to be honest with myself. I isolate so that no one can challenge my thinking, and because I am unwilling to see any other viewpoint. I want to think in a narrow-minded and negative way. I spent many years doing this before I came to AA. But each year sober, I isolate less. It is non-productive, destructive, and immature. After all, I’m fifty years old, and it’s time to grow up!
Isolating not only keeps people out, it shuts me out from the light. I need that light and its power in order to grow. By making myself accountable at meetings, sponsoring other women, doing service, practicing the Steps, and regularly attending my home group, I stay connected to AA and my periods of isolation are limited or nonexistent.