“The street-addict is like the rats in the first cage, isolated, alone, with only one source of solace to turn to.”
The above quote is from this article written a few years ago about a Ted Talk author who, while also trying to sell a book at the time, was professing that the likely cause of addiction has been discovered, and it’s just simply loneliness and an unhappy environment.
I disagree in calling someone a “street-addict, or addict really. But I do agree that loneliness and an unhappy environment can contribute to drug use. It’s true that people can feel isolated and alone from their childhood into their adult life, I know I certainly did, but that doesn’t mean everyone who develops an addiction feels that way.
Many people who develop a substance use disorder have friends. Successful business men and women, school teachers or other professional types, and loving parents come to mind. People who also seem happy in their surroundings or living conditions, but sadly, may not be happy with themselves.
They appear to be all right to others, but fears and insecurities, ones they’ve denied and kept hidden from the outside world continue to reside inside them. They often don’t feel good about themselves despite any successes they have in life, and although they go about acting as if they’re happy, most know different. The same drug that made them feel better about themselves fails them, and this is when they can began feeling isolated and alone.
After I stopped drinking I found friends in Alcoholics Anonymous, but other than having occasional lunches with some of them, I didn’t hang around with anyone long enough to form a true friendship.
I’ve now been sober for over 21 years and I stopped going to meetings several years ago. I’m also a self-professed loner, (although being married and having a best friend in my wife isn’t really being alone) who admittedly does have a few close friends, but I don’t really do much with any of them.
My point is that I drank and hung around with more people than I call a friend today and had some type of connection with them, yet I have no desire to start drinking again.
Personal growth, self-confidence, and self-love are all factors in being happy with who we are, and it doesn’t matter if we have a lot of friends or not.
These things allow us to love and help others, and that along with an environment that we have improved on can be enough to help us remain sober.