Monday, July 28, 2008

Loneliness versus Aloneness

Key words: Al-Anon. Loneliness. Aloneness. Solitude

Isn't it strange that we (I) can feel alone in a group of people? Maybe it's here, in a group of people, that I can feel an inadequacy of some sort that pushes me to the periphery of the group.

That's the way I used to feel sometimes, in certain situations.

Business Situations
Put me in a meeting, and I can fit right in. Put me one of those after work cocktail hour group things, and I suck. It's probably because I cannot find the balance between work and the people I work with and the socializing small talk, that I have to dig to find something in common with, versus the all-out, be funny, find something humorous about myself that I have done, we can share together, and hopefully find out something equally as funny about you.

But in these after hours cocktail hour things, I am uneasy. I am never too sure how much to reveal, since I err on the side of showing that I am human and make mistakes to put people at ease. And maybe, that is my mistake, my "character defect." Why do I think I need to be responsible for others "unease?" How do I know they are even uneasy? And who says I have to be responsible for others happiness?

Well, this flow of consciousness just revealed something about me. I am not responsible for others feelings. This is not new - for I discovered that I - under the past conditions - felt I had to make or be responsible for others having fun and being happy.

Note to self; Look at this harder. See where else this affecting you and your life.

Aloneness and Loneliness
OK. Back to loneliness. I am in state of being between loneliness, and aloneness. I do not mind being alone. I like solitude. It is refreshing and rejuvenating. But I am also a people person, a relationship person. I like to share ideas, conversations and just hanging out. I have been using Al-Anon meetings for this, as a crutch, as I go through this transformative stage in my life. (as you may know I was married to an alcoholic and through a long period of strife, set some boundaries and this time, stuck by them).

I have no regrets. In fact this is the odd thing; I thought I would be filled with self-doubt and fear (fear of being alone - or loneliness). But I am not. Some how I feel as if I am wrong or a feeling of guilt. I have told this only to my closest family members, and now to you - the readers of this blog.

On the Personal Side
I am not necessarily alone, as I have many friends, and a delightful little child, who, at times can act like 17 or 21, and then 8, but this, I believe is normal. And this little fact is enlightening for me. I find I may be overstepping certain aspects of her life and her choices, and in other areas, I see she needs a little more supervision and - some more chores - to teach her responsibility. But I am not pushing, I am going slow, a pace, that normally, is not normal. My old normal was; I go fast, want immediate results, and I want everyone to see it my way. My old normal. I am working on this. I see the need for staying away - and saying something once and only once, in order not to push her away, and thereby making me "alone with her." I see I must practice the opposite of what I would normally do, things that make sense to me, in order to help and create that bond of father and daughter. At least, I hope I am correct in this! ;-)

In my marriage, I realized I was alone. I was by myself - figuratively - and I was lonely. But, I would have stuck it out. So, the great gratitude I have, is the alcoholism and realizing now, the protection of our daughter was/is paramount, my heath, and my well-being - both spiritually and as a human - was suffering much more than I could have ever imagined.

Alone and Solitude
I am alone however - right now - but I am not lonely.

Being alone - especially early in the morning - is my solitude and can be great to rebuilding and programming my mind for peace and happiness. I do this by reading and taking notes on my reading. It is very refreshing.

I hope this post makes sense and helps you today discern loneliness and aloneness.


Syd said...

I've always heard that we are never alone because our HP is with us. I can be lonely at times but have found that I experience that less and less now. But alone I'm not.

Anonymous said...

"Aloneness" - I find that each and everyday I am becoming more comfortable with this, as syd mentioned, I always feel that God is where I am, and that he is there. It gives me the time in my day to simple focus on "me".

"Loneliness" - Sure, there are times when I am lonely. Many times I think back on those no longer with me, and this experience runs full circle, fears, tears, and all that surrounds that. Then, thinking of the good times, the tears subside, and I find light at the end of this tunnel.

I find a smile....

I am finding that regardless of how many "distractions" I load into my schedule to offset both, it is my challenge to cope with each the very best I can, and to find contentment in my life.

Peace this Tuesday.


Catherine said...

I could really relate to your post. For me, the thing about varying degrees of comfort in work/social situations is a very fine line to tread. Coworkers are not necessarily friends. They may be drinking with you tonight and deciding whether to give you a raise tomorrow. If I treated it like a social situation I ended up startling people. And if I treated it like a work situation then I showed up, talked to the boss about the weather for 5 minutes and did a French exit. Ugh.

Anyway, it is very lonely living with an active drinker. Days go by when we don't see each other or we do and I can't broach subjects of any importance because he's under the influence. So, again, the weather.

Up ‘til now I have resisted the urge to categorize him: Unfit to Be a Real Partner, or Unable to Provide Support, or Do Not Marry. These labels would help me. I could move on. I feel like a relationship where someone is holding back their honest feelings and looking elsewhere for support cannot achieve real depth. I also believe that alcoholics fight their problems, challenges and tough times with damaging and dangerous tools.

If I accept and love this guy him as he is (something I truly wish to do), I cannot have the expectation that he will be a partner in any meaningful sense. If I regard him as my troubled yet sometimes friendly roommate, we get along great.

Anonymous said...


this blog entry reminds me of me. I am divorcing my wife, an alcoholic addict. I have been questioned about why sometimes. There is no trust left. Far too much damage. No faith in her ability to STAY clean and dry. I suspect that underlying her compulsive disorders is a Borderline personality.

So, after coming out of the denial of the fact that I was married to an addict, I swiftly moved in to protect our lovely kids, 12 and 9. I am doing this 24/7 and I choose NOT to look for a personal companion at this time. It is not that I do not want to share my sould with a woman. I do. However, I must give my children full stability and I must give myself a chance to settle.

I am lonely but I am surrounded by the love of my children, my wonderful support group and the opportunity to really strengthen myself and for now I will accept this.