Introversion vs Isolation

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time alone and I’m not sure if it fits under the label of isolation or introversion.

Anyone who knew me in my prior life would have claimed I was extroverted. I spent as much time as possible with others and was not a stranger to anyone. For a period of time, I believed that as well. What I didn’t realize that the extroversion was a combination of my drinking and my inability to spend time alone with my thoughts.

Since I’ve stopped drinking, I have found I need more time to recharge alone and have become comfortable being alone and with my thoughts. While I wouldn’t consider myself a full introvert, I’ve discovered that I have introverted side that needs to be nurtured along with my extroverted side. For me, it’s about maintaining a good balance of being social and spending time alone. 

However I also pull away from the world when I am dealing with things. I don’t like to ask for help or even interact with anyone. I have a friend who calls it going dark. As an alcoholic, getting in this place is extremely dangerous for me – my thinking doesn’t always provide me with the best solutions. I need to reach out to my network and make sure that I have perspective on what is going on in my life and how to proceed.

Introversion and isolation share a fine line in my life. While it is important for me to recharge, I need to make sure that I am not using alone time as an excuse to isolate. Long-term isolation only has one outcome for me – drinking. That will undo all of the progress I’ve made in the past 18 months and I am not willing to let that occur.

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