Over at Scientopia, Doc Becca has an evocative post about loneliness in the modern world. She’s a new assistant professor in a new city, separated from her fiance by distance. Her description of her plan to marry, and then part the next day to live in a different city from her new husband is among the more desolate heartscapes I can fathom. Long distance relationships are excoriating to me. Relentlessly abysmal, no matter how wonderful the brief unions are. I don’t mean that to sound pessimistic for her. I am obviously very happy for her, and hopeful and supportive. Hell, I’ll pitch in for the commute to see love thrive.
I’ve been less lonely lately. I’ve been spending time with friends. I’ve been spending a lot of time working with someone new to the program, and that’s blossomed into a friendship I truly hope will be life-long. It’s incredible to see how people grow and develop when released from addiction. There is very little we can’t do, sober, sane, and motivated. It is always risky to become invested in people who are new to the program, to sobriety. But it is a risk I am willing to take, every time. Because so many people took it for me. Because when it pays off, the rewards are astonishing.
But most nights, I am home alone. I eat peanut butter sandwiches and drink skim milk for dinner, probably four nights a week. I watch TV and read, sometimes work, and interact with little boxes of endlessly scrolling text on twitter. People I’ve come to know and care about, despite having never seen their faces, never heard their voices. Despite, like in the case of Doc Becca, not even knowing their names. And sometimes, those little prisms of text erupt into real world people. I’ve met seven people in real life that I’d only ever met on twitter. Each of them was friendly and engaging and enjoyable to spend time with.
I get good socialization in AA. My men’s meeting is full of people my age and older, who act as friends and role models. But I don’t spend a lot of time with them outside the rooms. Essentially none. My Sunday meeting is co-ed, and I am really well respected there, for some reason. When I spoke there last month, people were incredibly complimentary in their post-share comments. It made me somewhat bashful.
I like having time to myself. But I would like to have a partner. Romance is a wretched wasteland, it seems, of distance, and logistics and frustration. To steal a line from the soul-shattering film Magnolia, delivered by the impossibly brilliant William H. Macy: I know I have love to give. I don’t know where to put it.