Running Down the Rabbit Hole

In recovery there is a term used called, “isolation.” I know all too well what this term means because even in recovery I find myself isolating from time to time. I have close to four years in program with three years of sobriety under my belt and still I find myself falling back to old habits of isolation. It doesn’t matter if I’m sleeping hours away, not communicating with my fellows or just locking myself in my house for days on end. I’m isolating myself away. In addiction this was the norm. Every day I hide away from even my wife and the world. This is different now because I’ve learned how to adapt myself back into society. I call this, “running down the rabbit hole”, where the isolation and the world can’t touch me. Where I alone can sit with my thoughts. This is not a good place, on the contrary, when I recognize it I work very hard to pull myself back out to engage back with society. I know it’s hard to pull oneself back out of the rabbit hole, but I can tell you it’s much worse to sit there and stay. Find your way back out of the rabbit hole where support can assist you. Today I have tools and I’ve learned to use them. By the grace of God I’ve learned to use them. Thank you Papa.

15 thoughts on “Running Down the Rabbit Hole

  1. I typed this to a man I was with exactly once. I had never met him other than the time we were together, yet we had talked everyday for weeks afterwards and suddenly it has stopped. He has stopped.

    “If I manage to stay off of online personals sites today, it will be the first day in months that I will have a completely 100% sober day. I mostly look, I have answered two other ads besides yours, but they are nothing but trouble. I know exactly what I want, and it is the unattainable. I have decided that even though you are an “emotional intrigue” for me only not on your end, I know. You are not a threat to my sobriety. So I do not count you against my bottom line. But online ads, Iming, texting (which is why I shut it off), phone conversations, fucking are all on my bottom line. And you know what the next month will probably suck, withdrawal sucks, but I am done. I am fucking done, I am done giving my power to men, thinking it is me controlling them when I know damn well I want/need them to stomp all over me… destroy my soul the same way my innocence was stripped away all those years ago. Thinking that is the only way to get the attention and so-called love I crave and desire.”

    I have been doing a lot of reflecting and writing the same pattern comes up over and over and freaking over…. me chasing the unattainable. Wanting attention from those that could care less… i.e. Daddy! Well, it is time to grow up and get over it, it was 32 years ago and I am responsible for me and my actions now…

    Am I done? Who knows I want to be done, I am more isolated and alone as well as lonely now, than I have been in the last year in this program in recovery. And I know that is by my choices by my doings that I am alone it is only up to me to ask and reach out. But now the shame, it is at an intensity that I don’t think I have ever reached in my life, in my addiction. I don’t think I really ever cared what other people thought about me before as long as I got some kind of attention. Now I want to respect myself. I want others to respect me. I want to learn how to love myself and let others love me.

    I feel as if I “should” know better by now. I have not run in the rabbit hole I am under it and it takes every ounce of strength I have to make just even one phone call a day right now. I miss my friends in recovery but I don’t feel as if I deserve them, I feel as if I have failed and that I am never going to “get” it.

  2. I am so glad I am slightly out of isolation world. I feel like I am licking my wounds a little bit still, but I have managed to still reach out to my brothers and now some new sisters in recovery. I feel like I have truly surrendered this time. I am definitely missing some of my well all of my exits. But obviously they were not working for me so maybe this newly sober and abstinent life will work better.

  3. This weekend I was isolating. Not isolating in acting out but isolating in depression and grief letting go of things and people that have been my only way of dealing with life. I know these new tools will be better but I don’t feel like I am ready or want to give up the old ones even though I know I MUST!

    • “Going down the rabbit hole” – “isolating” – yea – I can definitely relate to that. When I lived with my wife I would isolate by working very long hours at work – and with my profession – its easy to do. But I justified it way too much. And I isolated by lying – lying to my wife, my kids, and my friends. I had my own secret life. Now I’m not living a double life – but isolation – in every way – is still so easy to fall into. I live alone and my wife and kids are 11 hours away – so I can isolate in every way – as much as I like. But isolation for me is a death sentence. Isolation is the fuel for my addiction. So every day I do my best to communicate and connect in some way. Its damn hard most days. Its just uncomfortable. Its humbling and makes me feel weak – why do I have to do this? But that’s the devil on my shoulder speaking. Yea…I need to be humble…after what I’ve done. I got to get real every day…and remind myself that I need others…and if I want to get well…my brothers in the program are my lifeline. And real friends…guys that when I’m with…I can truly be myself with…because hell…what have I got to hide. They know the deepest and darkest secrets. And that’s exactly what I need. Transparency and connection and staying in the light. I have to recommit to staying out of the rabbit hole every day. Its not easy…but its something I gotta do. The alternative path is paved with grief, loss, and worse. I dont’ ever want to go their. So thanks to my brothers – God bless you guys. Every day…knowing you are out there struggling as well, but in this battle with me – keeps me going. Thank you!

  4. October 14th I had one day away from personals sites… What is today March 1st three and a half months later and pretty much in the same place with a few stumbling blocks in my way now.

    1. I have started to pray every day.
    2. I call my sponsor every day, even if it is just to leave a message.
    3. I had my sponsor and partner put internet blockers on our home pc. (It has been about a week since I have been on any personals or dating sites)
    4. Even if I feel like my breath will be sucked right out of me I TRY to tell my partner how I am feeling.

    I feel like I am still in the rabbit hole but it is not quite as deep as it has been in the last three and half months.

    Thanks!

  5. Running down the rabbit hole – Isolation – Boy is that an old friend – or should I say enemy. I am sitting here with the TV on watching my favorite “Lucy” and I can recall how in my active addiction I would isolate from everyone and everything alone in my house at night and on the weekends. If I was not downtown acting out I was home just doing nothing watching TV ALL DAY!!!! It was horrible. I got absolutely nothing accomplished. I would sit and wonder what other people were doing and why they were not including me or calling me. Did I ever think to call them? NO. They had to call me. So selfish and self centered. Today I can sit here and have the TV on and enjoy my favorite I Love Lucy show, but there is a difference. It is not on all day long. I watch it perhaps when I am eating dinner or getting dressed. However, for the most part, if I am home I am doing something. I am exercising, I am working at my desk, I am playing with my dog, I am doing recovery work, I am reading or I am sitting at the sofa working on my laptop. I may have the TV on in the background to keep me company or I may not, but today I do not have to go down any rabbit holes or isolate. I don’t have to hide from anyone or anything. I have a good life today and enjoy being who I am and doing the things that I do. Even when I am alone. I am experiencing life on all new levels today as a result of this program. It is wonderful. Thank you!

  6. Tonight I feel like running down the rabbit hole and pulling the hole in behind me. I did not even want to post. I was going to justify it because I had not been on line all day. But I made the commitment to myself that I would post everyday so I am forcing myself to do this so that I stay consistent with my program and with my promises to myself and hopefully feel better in the morning. I don’ know why I am feeling like this. There is so much going well in my life. But right now I feel like shutting off. I feel very sad and I want to cry. I am tired and I need to go to bed. I have been working on my eighth step which has brought up a lot of old familiar feelings and thoughts about my past over the past couple days. Perhaps this has something to do with how I am feeling. I had a great time tonight with a new friend, but there was something that upset me. What I have learned in these past four years in recovery is that what’s important is how I think of myself and that I should not let outside influences affect how I feel or how I feel about me. Still, tonight I am sad. I feel that I am in this transitional period in my life and it is difficult. I know that I want to be here because I know that I need to go through it to get to the other side. But it is hard. And some of what I am feeling is because I am doing things for the first time ever and I am scared and nervous. So I need to remember that I am still the same person from earlier today before these feelings set in. So right now all I can do is trust the program and use the tools that I have been given. So I am going to go to bed. If I feel the same way in the morning I know what to do: pray about it, call someone, make sure to take care of myself like I have been doing, and go to my meeting, just keep doing the things that I have been doing everyday so that I don’t go down that rabbit hole because I spent enough time down there in my active addiction and I don’t want to be there anymore.

  7. I have been in a little bit of a rabbit hole lately. Partly because I have been stuck at home recovering from surgery, and partly because as an extension of that I have been out of my routine and just going from day to day without much of a plan. I am slowly pulling myself out the rabbit hole. I am making progress each day. Each day this week I have been slowly bringing my world back to where it was. And I feel good each day about the progress that I am making. I got a lot done today. I wish I had accomplished more; however, I did spend most of my day at my desk working. Tomorrow will be a good day but it will be more disconnected as I will be out and about more. But I still have a lot to do at my desk so I really need to continue with what I have been doing and I really need to keep pulling myself out of the hole. I feel better each day and I have been praying each day and I think things are looking up. That’s a good way to end a day.

  8. You know, sometimes I feel like running down that old rabbit hole. For me I think that rabbit hole looks like sitting in front of the TV, vegging out and probably eating too much food. But I don’t want to do that right now. I have a lot on my plate. I have accomplished a lot in the past few days. It feels good. I have completed some things that have been sitting around for a couple months. I have a lot to do tomorrow and I am excited to get to it. But sitting here right now that rabbit hole looks good. I just need to stay focused on how great things are, how much I have been able to accomplish, what I want to continue to accomplish and just do what I need to do. Doing my step work helps. I picked that up again today and it felt good. Things are slowly falling into place so it is good. Now I need to slowly fall into bed and say good night.

  9. What causes me to “run down the rabbit hole”? I think maybe it’s a way of hiding from my old life, trying not to run into reminders of what I was like and how many people I hurt, along with myself. Even now, in recovery, I don’t really like taking my girl friend out – afraid I might run into old partner, or that I will find myself staring inappropriately at some other woman. Afraid of the fight that might result. So my life now is turning my back on old friends, old life styles, old everything. I spend my time at work or at home. This is hiding in the rabbit hole. But I know it’s not good for me or my woman to be hiding out like this. We need to be appropriately social, make new friends, have fun in the world. Maybe as recovery continues, I will find the courage to open us up to these experiences, even if there is a risk associated with them. Time to try.

    In one of the Pat Carnes workbook, he says that none of us can have all their needs met by only one person. He suggests we should have our friends, relationships, as long as they are not addictive, harmful or inappropriate experiences. I ask my higher power to make this possible for both of us, to enrich our lives and enjoy our relationship all the more.

  10. Most of my life has been spent in some form of isolation. I am an only child; thus, much of my childhood was spent alone. We moved a lot during my youth, so I was never able to maintain a long lasting friendship with other kids. Additionally I spent my teen years growing up in Key Largo. Back in the 70′s and 80′s, if you lived in the Keys, you might as well have been on the moon. The Keys were 45 minutes to an hour away from any populated area. Obviously I spent a lot of time alone and in my own head.

    My head became an escape from the rest of the world. I was in control and nobody could tell me what to do. Isolation became a place of comfort and hiding from the things that caused me pain. Eventually I began to act out, and I grew to love isolation even more, because no one could interrupt me while I was caught up in my own little pain soothing rituals.

    When things go wrong, isolation is still the first place I turn. When I am in pain, I just want to block the entire world out and be unto myself and my own thoughts. I get angry when this “peace is interrupted”.

    However, now that I am in recovery, I find isolation to be a very dangerous place. Although isolation gives me that false sense of safety from the outside world, I find that my thoughts more often than not turn to acting out. Thus isolation is not the haven I once thought it to be. Nothing exist in isolation land…nothing. Not work, not family, not society, not even humanity. I am nothing in that world and I do not grow.

    I have found that one of the best things for my recovery is to stay connected to my family, friends, group members, and the rest of the world. Easier said than done for one so used to being alone.

    This week has been a real test. Although I am not in fear of acting out, I have had a very difficult and emotional week, and I have felt the pull of old habits. Specifically, I have wanted to be left alone to deal with some unpleasant issues.

    I was contacted by my sponsor and my therapist this weekend, and initially I did not want to speak to either. I wanted to be left alone. However, I used my recovery side of the brain, and I took their calls. Amazingly I felt better after doing so, and in so doing began to be aware that isolation is not my friend.

    Staying connected is helping me to deal with the problem better than I ever could have on my own. I realize that while isolation is not one of my middle or inner circle behaviors, it is a step onto the path that can lead me down that road. So, I am throwing up a road block.

    God please help me to stay connected!

  11. I love the rabbit hole! Unfortunately. I retreat far too often. It is something that I need to work on. I have been there a lot lately and it is not good for me. I need to stay out of it and stick with what I know works. When I am in the rabbit hole I don’t talk to anyone and my mind starts to wander. I start to feel that I am not accountable to anyone and that is very dangerous for me. When I stick to my basics I am talking to people, going to my meetings, praying, doing my step work and keeping myself accountable. I don’t want to act out and I don’t want to slip and I don’t want to have my mind wander. So I am posting tonight even though it is very late and I need to get to bed. Because what I really want to do is surf but this is what I need to do. So I am keeping myself out of the rabbit hole for tonight and sharing with you. Thank you for being there. I am off to bed. Tomorrow (today actually) is another day and I pray that I have a good day like I did yesterday.

  12. In recovery there is a term used called, “isolation.” I know all too well what this term means because even in recovery I find myself isolating from time to time. I have close to four years in program with three years of sobriety under my belt and still I find myself falling back to old habits of isolation. It doesn’t matter if I’m sleeping hours away, not communicating with my fellows or just locking myself in my house for days on end. I’m isolating myself away. In addiction this was the norm. Every day I hide away from even my wife and the world. This is different now because I’ve learned how to adapt myself back into society. I call this, “running down the rabbit hole”, where the isolation and the world can’t touch me. Where I alone can sit with my thoughts. This is not a good place, on the contrary, when I recognize it I work very hard to pull myself back out to engage back with society. I know it’s hard to pull oneself back out of the rabbit hole, but I can tell you it’s much worse to sit there and stay. Find your way back out of the rabbit hole where support can assist you. Today I have tools and I’ve learned to use them. By the grace of God I’ve learned to use them. Thank you Papa.

  13. I’ve spent most of my life hiding in the Rabbit Hole. No one could get close enough to hurt me. It was just me, myself, and my disease. I felt safe. But by isolating I’ve lost valuable time. I’ve missed out on building relationships with family, friends, colleagues, classmates, etc.. I’ve missed out on new experiences, adventures, hobbies, passions. I’ve lost myself in the Rabbit Hole, because at 28 I don’t know who the hell I am. Recovery forced me to walk out of isolation one phone call, meeting, step, reading at a time.. Today I have a program of action that helps me break out of isolation. My natural instinct is to go to the Rabbit Hole, to act out, to go into self pity, to build resentments. Today I am learning to go against my natural instincts by staying sober, being grateful, and really trying to practice acceptance.

    A friend in SAA stated that recovery was learning to do something that was unnatural. He stated that recovery was like trying to dance in the rain. He said, I just want to dance…….

  14. Isolation used to be a big problem for me. I would lose myself in books and movies to numb the pain to make my mind stop to just close off from the world. When I was reading or watching tv I didn’t have to think of anything else all that I was hiding all that I was feeling became buried. I would ignore the entire world around me and just go into that bubble of someone else’s life or world which were always so much better than mine. Because living in my darkness was where no one would want to go. I didn’t even know I was doing this until I started reading my sponsors book. Then I realized I had to actually read it and listen to the words so this is what woke me up to what I had been doing. Today other than step work I don’t read any books I have stopped watching tv and I now interact with my family and spend time with people living. I still feel like running down there at times but I know to do so will start the whole cycle of addiction again so when I feel it I go visit my grand babies and get some love from them and it helps so much to push the darkness and thoughts away and I stay in the present and today where I am in recovery and loving my life

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