“Loneliness does not come from having no people around, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.” Carl Jung
It’s like the chicken or the egg scenario. Did I start drinking excessively from such a young age because I was lonely? Or did my drinking cause me to isolate, which resulted in loneliness?
I have always felt alone. Not always lonely, but certainly alone. Booze took on the role of my life companion: someone to hang out with, keep me company, block out the feelings that I had nobody I felt connected to. I was single for most of my life – a couple of longer relationships here and there but nothing serious – so I would go to school /college /work then go home and drink. I never took vacations or had many plans to fill my time. I was biding my time, waiting for something to happen, yet I never knew what I wanted that to be. I had friends and family but my family basically ignore me, and friends eventually partnered off and started their own families. I continued to drink to soothe and comfort.
It’s only in recent years that I am in a stable relationship. This has created a secure base from which I now have the freedom to begin to let go of that which no longer serves me: booze. For over 20 years it was what I used to alleviate my inner (unacknowledged) distress and I am at the point where it is not needed any longer. In having a secure base (which doesn’t have to be a relationship but I didn’t know how to create my own earlier – I am not being a smug married), I am allowing someone to love me, which in turn opens me up to the possibility that I am worthy of love, which opens me to loving myself.
I now endeavor to bring a gentleness to myself that I have never held before. I was always so sharp and critical, beating myself down, telling myself how much of a fuck-up I was, when it would have been more beneficial to hold myself with care and kindness. I keep a photograph of myself as a young child on the refrigerator to remind myself that there was a time when I was without addictions, that my default, inner child is one of purity and clarity. I chat to her occasionally, telling her all the things that she would have liked to hear growing up. I am soothing her and myself.