Is Drinking the Cause or Consequence of Loneliness?

Okay so it is Day Two here. I’m on support forums and feeling strong. And still thinking lots.

I moved to a new city last fall. It’s been intensely lonely adjusting here. It’s almost like the geography of my home city for over forty years was also a friend I lost — it was perhaps the friend I had even when I was alone in the sense of not being with other people.

Now everything feels alone.

So yeah. I have known for a while I’ve been feeling lonely. So I drink more.

But here’s a thing: what if drinking more makes you feel lonelier? Like in a vicious circle sort of way? What if the sense of shame is it brings can subtly cause you to start isolating yourself? Because you don’t think you can form healthy relationships, or because you’re scared, or because you don’t think you deserve them?

A couple of years ago one of my grad student friends professed that he rarely has alcohol in the house. MY beer buddy. We’ve banged back a few pitchers over the years. I felt… what… shock? That was weird. And then betrayal; I was kind of pissed off at him. Also weird. And finally: shame. Like I was lagging in the adulthood game.

When you drink, it’s easy as hell to rationalize it. “Everybody does it,” you say to yourself. And then you bask in all the evidence that supports your confirmation bias.

But the thing not everybody does it. I am trying to stay open and curious about a way of being in the world that doesn’t involve drinking.

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