The Deadliest Place on Earth: Being Alone
Out of all of the most dangerous cities, violent alleys, and crime-filled streets, the most dangerous place on Earth is being alone. Loneliness is something I do not wish upon my worst enemies because it truly can be deadly. To humans, companionship may be as vital for their survival as food and even water. People function at their very best when they are surrounded with friends and have good emotional support.
And on the other side of the equation, humans who are lonely are genuinely in terrible emotional and physical health. There was a period of my life where I experienced deep, dark, and depressing loneliness but today I am surrounded with great, compassionate people and I couldn’t be more happy and content.
The Dark Times
Everyone can think of dark time they’ve endured in their lives, whether it is the death of a family member, the loss of a best friend, a breakup, or a loss of any kind. This pain can be unbearable and lead a lot of people down destructive paths. The darkest of times I experienced were caused by my drug addiction.
I started abusing drugs early on in my life, probably when I was twelve or thirteen, although I don’t remember the exact age. It was fun in the beginning. Getting drunk with my friends and smoking weed was our idea of a good time. It was recreational and strictly done at parties for a while. Then, suddenly, I started developing a habit. Instead of just getting high or drinking on the weekends, it became an everyday occurrence.
By the time I was nineteen, drugs were all I cared about. I isolated myself from everyone and decided that I liked doing drugs more than anything. The only time I left my room was to get more drugs and I spent most of the time in the dark by myself. I didn’t have any friends and this to depression, anxiety, loneliness, and a plethora of self-esteem issues. I hated myself and I thought everyone hated me as well.
I do not wish loneliness upon my worst enemy. Sitting alone stuck in my head was hell. It was me and my own demons and that was it. In order for me to recover from drug addiction I had to experience a painful traumatic experience. I was hardheaded at the time and negative consequences had virtually no impact on my life.
Deep loneliness drove me insane, not just a little crazy, but full-blown insane. I was inadvertently trying to take my own life. After staying up for five days in a row, I decided on taking what I had left of my Adderall prescription. Even though I had hallucinations before, finishing that bottle produced the scariest moment of my life by far.
Previously, hallucinations induced by mushrooms or acid were always a good time, but these were different. These were real-life vivid hallucinations caused by a lack of sleep and too many amphetamines. It was terrible but it was actually the start of a new life.
The Lighter Times
When your life is completely in shambles there are two options. The first is to continue doing what you are doing. The second is to seek help and start all over. They say that if you are a true alcoholic or addict and you continue to use, you will end up in one of three places: a jail, an institution, or a coffin.
I needed treatment but not just for my drug addiction. I suffered from other underlying issues, such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and anxiety, and I was borderline depressed. My parents helped me financially to go to one of the best dual diagnosis rehabs in the country.
Detox from amphetamines is different than other types of detox. With amphetamine detox, the physical symptoms do not last long and are not severely painful. However, amphetamine withdrawal is extremely severe on your brain. For example, for about three months I was having auditory hallucinations, I had a difficult time sleeping and I had heart-racing anxiety all of the time. And even after detox, drug treatment was a long, painful journey. I thought I was going to be away for thirty days but my condition was so bad I was held in treatment for ten months.
Dual diagnosis rehab (rehab that addresses both addiction and psychological issues) saved my life but my real sober life started after leaving. When I moved home from rehab I was told to avoid my old drug-using friends and find a new group of supportive friends. It was difficult. I very much felt alone in the beginning. It was a tough transition but then magically I found an AA meeting that was filled with young people my age. The rest was basically history.
I have been sober for over seven years today and my support group is all in AA and sober as well. I am extremely grateful to have friends who understand me. No matter what happens in life I am never alone as long as I continue to stay sober and consistently go to AA meetings. Friendship in sobriety may be the most important aspect of recovery. Friends have showed me so much over the years. Having fun for me isn’t possible without others, and the laughter I experience while hanging out with my friends is unmatched.
There is no darker place than being alone but there is no better place than being surrounded with good people. So, tell your best friends how much you appreciate them.
About the author: Ben Emerling enjoys writing, helping people with their sobriety, and watching and playing all sorts of sports.