Sobriety in Isolation

I thought there were few things as isolating as the the first days of recovery. And then I found myself living alone during a pandemic lockdown.

The anxiety, fear, and boredom of early recovery feels a lot like what we're all dealing with today.

I wanted to fast-forward through this dull segment. I want to skip to the part when I was no longer broken and busted up. Was that day coming? Could we skip this part and get there soon? I'd spent years losing time, nights gone in a finger-snap, but now I found myself with way too much time. I needed to catapult into a sunnier future, or I needed to slink back to a familiar past, but what I could not bear was the slow and aching present. Much of my life has been this way. A complete inability to tolerate the moment.

So says Sarah Hepola in her 2015 memoir Blackout : Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget.

In June, I'll be marking five years of sobriety most likely in my home, alone. I'm grateful to have a few years of recovery under my belt, and I feel for those attempting early sobriety during this time of social isolation. Isolation upon isolation. Sobriety clears the mind, burns off the fog, and forces you to deal with emotions you've long been pushing away. Everything feels raw and ragged. Reading about other people's struggles; someone putting words to what you're feeling, it makes things just a little more bearable.

AA reminds you much of our stories are the same...We all want to believe our pain is singular-- that no one else has felt this way-- but our pain is ordinary, which is both a blessing and a curse. It means we're not unique. But it also means we're not alone.

I've read a lot of sobriety memoirs and lately I've been returning to them for comfort and wisdom. There's reassurance to be found in seeing yourself in someone else's experiences, be it recovery, or world-wide health crisis.

Check out some of our favorite addiction and recovery literature below and find solace in knowing we are all in this together.