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Loneliness.

7 August 2012

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.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 7 August 2012 09:30

    I’m in the same boat..it’s incredibly hard to meet someone when you don’t have a pool of new people to interact with. I’m not incredibly sociable, I have things that I like to do, but they’re relatively solitary endeavors. I’m not a team sports sort of person. Then, in an effort of trying to ‘get myself out there’ and try to do things that I enjoy, I end up doing things that are overwhelmingly dominated by females, so the chances of meeting someone for a date is insanely small.
    I’ve tried the online dating thing..and that’s left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The pseudostalker completely ruined me for that.
    So I’m left with trying to put myself out there. I keep meaning to go back to the religious organization that I self-identify (although don’t always agree with) in hopes that I could find someone. I’ve signed up for these ‘meet-ups’, but craft and photography ones are female dominated. I’ve told friends that I’m available to date, and feel free to set me up.
    Yet all of these things have made me look at myself and ask, “What’s wrong with me?” Hell, I’m not even sure what’s Right with me.
    I’m also independent, so I also thing that I don’t give a good single air about me. I’m totally comfortable with going out to eat or a movie by myself, so maybe I don’t get talked to because I look like I know what I’m doing? I’m not sure anymore.

    I never really thought that I’d be like this. I don’t want kids. I’m not sure that I’d ever want to get married again, but I’d like someone to grow old with, and share inside jokes with, and someone to cry to, and someone to cook for. I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for, but it’s not this.

  2. Mona permalink
    7 August 2012 13:47

    I just do the things I like to do and if people want to tag along they can. People come in and out of my life depending on what the things I like to do are, but I don’t worry too much about it. I’d rather do really cool stuff on my own than to try to find people to hang out with if the stuff we do isn’t as interesting to me. I’m really selfish that way, but I feel much more fulfilled than by trying to morph to suit those around me.

  3. DrLizzyMoore permalink
    7 August 2012 13:49

    Right now, a lot of my ‘friendly’ interactions are twitter oriented…..I’m done fretting abt whether this is ‘healthy’ or not. At least until you find me in a corner somewhere gripping my iPad saying, ‘My Precious’…..I love you guys, man…..

  4. 7 August 2012 15:23

    World enough, and time, my dear friend.

  5. furtheron permalink
    8 August 2012 02:14

    Top of my gratitude list today following reading this – my wife and family. I’ve very lucky to still have them both. I take it for granted sometimes, get infuriated at others etc. I shouldn’t

  6. 9 August 2012 10:10

    I am a loner. I can be among people and have an enjoyable time but am glad to get back to solitude. I’m glad to have my wife and a few friends. Recovery meetings have opened up a new world of friends to me. Relationships are difficult no matter what. I don’t think that there is an answer to the complexity of two human beings uniting.

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