Even though alcoholics and drug addicts may think of themselves as the life of the party, the truth is that tendency to isolate is more often the norm. As the disease of addiction progresses, so does the shame and guilt. People who are abusing drugs and alcohol often begin to isolate themselves from family and friends because the drug of choice has become the most important priority in their lives. They begin to live in a world of chaos created by lies and deceit. In order to continue drinking and using, they have to lie about their whereabouts. They often lie about finances. Because of the guilt that arises, they want to hide and avoid reality. As relationships begin to feel the strain and start to crumble, alcoholics and addicts cannot face the pain they have caused to their loved ones. They choose to isolate instead. They become lost and alone in their disease, even if they keep up some semblance of contact with others.
Isolation and Loneliness Are Trademarks of Addiction
An alcoholic or addict can feel lonely in a crowded room. While they may attempt some semblance of sociability, their primary attention is focused on their substance of choice. They may seem as if they want to participate in conversation, they are wondering if others can tell how inebriated they are or planning how they will get their next fix. At the opposite end, they may decide to exclude themselves from social affairs, preferring instead to have alcohol or drugs as their companion. They lose interest in their friendships and relationships. Alcoholics and addicts also may give up on their favorite pastimes, such as crafts, hobbies and sports. An essential part of recovery is leaning the difference between being alone and loneliness. Alone time provides the necessary private sanctuary for personal reflection in recovery. Loneliness is the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical withdrawal from life that occurs when substance use takes control. In recovery, the fellowship and support of others who have walked the path makes all the difference.