Isolation vs. Solitude.

Isolation vs Solitude.

Thoughts from 1st Year Recovery

"If you are alone everything that happens to you is more intense and you remember the details more. If you are plastered you are dead and you don't notice as much-- and you don't have the full experience."

"In solitude you are redefining yourself, re-learning yourself in a new state."

"I'm going to Bar Harbor by myself in a hotel and getting a Thai Massage. It goes along with the work we've been doing. New Year's is symbolic for me."

"A lot of people in recovery are introverts, so we need alone time."

During the 1930's the founders of AA discovered that they could not get sober in isolation, and that they needed each other to recover.  So Bill W and Dr. Bob started an anonymous movement --  in people's living rooms. This humble beginning eventually grew into what has been coined "the greatest spiritual movement of the 20th century."  Whether one is attracted to AA or not, it is absolutely true that addiction is, in large part, a disease of isolation, and that people who develop a broad base of sober social support thrive in recovery. 

Many of us are introverted individuals living in an extroverted culture.  Introversion and its corresponding social anxiety (and a tendency towards isolation and avoidance) are challenges, especially in early recovery, as we learn to navigate our social and personal lives without psychoactive substances.  Introverts need solitude to recharge, but where the need for solitude crosses the line into unhealthy isolation is an important distinction. 

Here are some links to articles that further address this concept. 

What is Solitude?

When Solitude Becomes Isolation

Solitude vs. Isolation (From The Introvert's Corner)

Johann Hari: It's all about Isolation.