I used to hate being alone. And when I say hate I mean with a white-hot passion reserved only for poor grammar and whining. Quite simply, I just did not particularly like my own company.
I thought it was because I was a natural-born party animal who craved the company of others. Or that my less than perfect childhood had left me with a need to be with normal people so that I could absorb all their normalcy. OR that, because I had never lived on my own I didn’t know HOW to be alone.
Poppycock! (Fancy word for bullshit.)
Turns out my need to be in the company of other humans is directly proportionate to that big, God size hole that has been inside me since I was about four. You know the one. The one I tried filling with control, over-caring, over eating, exercise, smoking and alcohol. By being alone and without any of those coping mechanisms (for the most part), I was left to deal with that hole and face all the demons and emotions that were hiding within it. That hole was a scary hole and I wanted no part of it.
Never being alone = Never dealing with my feelings.
However, things like the business trip I’m on right now laid me bare on a regular basis. I would start planning where and with whom I would have dinner, or socialize, or shop, the minute the trip hit my calendar. The thought of having one unoccupied moment in my itinerary left me weepy and, quite frankly, scared shitless. I remember vividly those few times I was left to fend for myself at dinner and entertain myself the rest of the evening.
The words “panic attack” come to mind…and that’s no exaggeration.
Since becoming sober, my business trips have changed dramatically. In the early days I would rush back to my room and pray no one invited me out to dinner. All I wanted was to be alone in my room with room service and a book or TV because the thought of going out to dinner with a group of boozy bankers made me REALLY uncomfortable. Many times I feigned a migraine or upset stomach to keep from having to go. The excuses weren’t that far off.
Slowly but surely however, I began to enjoy my time alone. I didn’t mind eating alone either in a restaurant or in front of the TV. I learned to just…be still. That everything was okay and that these moments were few and far between and I should be enjoying them rather than wishing them away.
The hole was beginning to fill from the inside out.
Which brings me to this trip. I spent the most wonderful evening last night…alone. I got back in from work and laced up my shoes and hit the gym until my Fitbit buzzed. Then I ordered room service and sat down to write an article (more on that later) and get some work done. I left HGTV on all evening (woo-hoo). I relaxed, recharged and rejuvenated. I slept well (you know…for being in a hotel).
Here’s the craziest thing, while I still missed my family, I enjoyed my own company for the first time in…well…maybe ever.
I’m hoping that this means that while I may never LOVE business trips, maybe I can learn not to be afraid of them.
Because I get to go with someone I’m beginning to know very well.