Sunday, December 12, 2010

Solitude

For a long time, I've known that I'm somebody who needs a lot of alone time. Maybe it's because I'm a caretaker by nature and hypervigilant, so when I'm with others, I'm paying attention to them and figuring out what they need and how I can make that happen. I don't know if that's just part of my nature or part of my upbringing.

When I first got sober, I really avoided solitude. In those last years, I'd become an apartment drinker, a loner with the bottle. I'd grown tired of hiding how much I was drinking, pretending to be sober when I wasn't, pretending to drink very little. It was just easier to be home with my bottles of wine and my TV and drink and sleep. I could do that for days on end and while I knew there was something not right about that, I needed it.

But sober, I was afraid to be in my apartment alone. I needed to get out, to be with others, to hide nothing. I went to lots and lots of meetings, often two a day and three a day on the weekend. I went to the movies, I shopped, I ate out in places that had no liquor license. It took about 5 years to be okay with being with me again. And once I was, it was a source of solace from a too busy life to have a day at home all by myself.

This weekend I've had lovely solitude. I have gone to the gym with my buddy Melanie each morning. But other than that, I've been at home. Yesterday I worked on a big project for a client. Today I worked in the morning, decluttered my bathroom this afternoon, and then did collage cards for each of the members of my creativity group, which meets tomorrow. I've taken care of odds and ends around the house, taking advantage of a rainless hour to get rid of the dead plants on my porch and the recycling that had accumulated on the terrace. I've had one of my favorite kinds of days: doing whatever occurs to me next.

And I've been alone. Well, not strictly speaking. Reinie and Frannie and Nellie have kept me good company all day. But I feel recharged for the social week ahead as friends gather for holiday parties and birthday celebrations. Glad to have had a good dose of solitude this weekend.

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