Addiction: A Lonely, Isolating Illness

Those people who have very little experience of alcoholism or addiction will often have a stereotypical view of a park bench drunk with a bag full of booze, or a junkie in the gutter. Such people sadly exist but the reality – which would shock many people – is that most alcoholics and addicts are out of sight in their homes. Their horizons become more and more limited as their illness progresses.

I was at the funeral of one such alcoholic this week. He was a bright intelligent man, public school and university educated who had pursued an excellent career. He had family and friends who loved him and had touched many lives. As witnessed by the 250+people at his funeral. Loved music and some of his favourites were played at the funeral. Despite having all this going for him, he spent his last weeks confined within his 4 walls, only venturing out early mornings to buy his alcohol.

Death Due to Alcoholism

In his sermon, the vicar confronted the ‘elephant in the room’. He acknowledged that this man’s untimely death (he was in his early 50s) was due to alcoholism. An illness which affects many more people than most of the people in that church realised (though all now had personal contact with the devastation alcoholism can cause).

Recovering Alcoholics

Many of us recovering alcoholics went through exactly the same experience of loneliness and isolation but fortunately got help before it was too late. As our drinking progressed. It became increasingly difficult to go about our daily lives and we spent more and more time in our homes (a so called net curtain drinker). For a lot of us we had a favourite room we confined ourselves to. Usually our bedrooms but I know of people who lived on their own who sat in their kitchen or sitting room all day. For myself, I ended up not just in my bedroom but in a certain position sitting on the side of the bed a lot of the time (later lying in or on the bed). I hear of younger people who end up confined to their rooms. With just their computers and computer games, or televisions.

Even if surrounded by people, we become very isolated and extremely lonely.

No Longer Alone in Addiction

When we come into recovery, one of the first things we gain is a feeling that we are no longer alone. Some people describe their first meeting with fellow alcoholics and addicts as a feeling of ‘coming home’. We meet people with whom we might have little in common if we did not have this illness. But with whom we share an extremely strong bond. Begin to feel a part of a group – instead of apart from it. We feel comfortable, begin to make friends and our lives change for the better.

Get Help for your addiction

If you are currently that lonely isolated person, heading towards losing everything . Your family, friends, job, home.  While it might seem unlikely. Being a park bench drunk, it does not have to continue like this. Get help, go to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, go to rehab. Become part of a happy ‘shiny’ group of people!

The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drug rehab clinic which offers detox and counselling for people with addictions.

Call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice.

Addiction: A Lonely, Isolating Illness