Sober, but Still Don’t Have friends?

Sober, but Still Don't Have friends?

So I just finished watching intervention, it’s my favorite show on TV. It’s pretty much the only show I watch on TV, anything that’s reality. I just don’t like made up things. And I’ve been sober for about 13 years, and even this guy on intervention, he was, you know he was drinking a gallon of vodka every day. 

Sober, but Still Don’t Have friends?

I’ve never seen anything like it and he was on all these painkillers too. And he had like 15 bottles of prescriptions in his room and he was always articulate. The only thing that was obvious about him using so much was his withdrawals in the morning, his seizures and sweating profusely. 

But at least he had a friend and his friend came over and would check on him, make sure that he was okay and he would help clean his house and stuff like that and I was thinking about how I don’t even, I mean I haven’t had a friend since I got sober in 2008. 

And so I guess there’s some underlying issues with what’s going on with me it’s not just alcohol. That was just a bandaid for what was going on, deep inside of me I just I’ve always had really low self esteem and self worth issues ever since I was a little boy, very sensitive to my surroundings. 

My dad was strict; he scared me with his anger and his rage. And so I just hid – rocking back and forth as a boy, they call that stimming in the Asperger’s community, or autism community, and then music was my best friend growing up, but I always had one or two really good friends growing up and I’m not complaining. 

My childhood was great, you know, some of my teachers were mean they, I’ve actually been hit by a couple of my teachers growing up and my dad hit me a couple of times and you know there was bullies in school but nothing, you know, it was a small safe town and I grew up in a middle class family, nothing too scary. Nothing out of the normal. 

My parents didn’t even drink, they wanted to provide a safe environment for my sister and I, and they didn’t drink because their parents drank and they didn’t want to be like their parents. So, I guess. I started drinking when I was 17, and I started really slow. I was kind of scared of it. I didn’t know the potential of it or how powerful it was. So I’d only have a couple beers at a time but I loved it. Once that buzz hit me, I just felt immortal, and I thought that was, it was my magic potion, you know, it took all my concerns away, I felt free, uninhibited. 

I could talk to anyone, and I had unlimited energy. It felt like the whole world opened up and I had only one day to live and tell everyone about it, that’s how alcohol fell in the early days, and I still had friends. 

Then when I was 20, I started dating an older woman, and she was an artist, and I was a poet, so called, you know, want to be poet, and she really liked my poetry and she invited me over and we started drinking wine together and then I just lived with her, and I started to get rid of my old friends because they were like jocks and, they weren’t privy to the art world and they weren’t artsy and, they didn’t read books, they didn’t do art, or anything like that.

So I started getting rid of my jock friends and then got rid of my stoner friends and all I had left was pretty much this older woman. So I started drinking heavily with her and then started drinking heavy with all my girlfriends. And towards the end of my drinking, when I was 36, I was just hanging out with homeless people that lived next door to me. 

I was really in bad shape. I was getting drunk twice a day drinking malt liquor. And, you know, had no life. And that was 2008, and I had maybe one friend and he was like dude, you’re gonna die in a year if you don’t stop. That’s pretty much my intervention. That’s not what made me stop, but after that I got sober. 

I had to get rid of everything that reminded me of my past, so I got rid of all the drinking friends. I got rid of all the triggers, you know the old places where I used to drink, bars, everywhere I just would not go anywhere. I just hid behind my work and I picked up two jobs. I was working from morning until night in the restaurant industry and for pleasure I would just, you know, eat m&ms. I had a heart attack a couple of years earlier than that, and so they gave me Xanax, so I would pop a couple Xanax and smoke a little weed and smoke my cigarettes and eat candy bars, and that was the beginning of my sobriety and then finally I quit all those things but the friends never came back. 

I still have a girlfriend today, that’s not an issue. I’ve always had, you know, a girl by my side. But the friends are hard to come by, especially with this lockdown. You know, I’ve had a couple of friends over the years on the internet when I was doing affiliate marketing or internet marketing, or, you know, blogging, I met a couple blogging friends and we talked about our blogs and what we’re doing with them and how we’re getting them ranked and stuff like that.

Then I had probably a dozen people that I talked to when I was in network marketing, but there was never any really close bond, not like my childhood. So I always look up to them. I always, I really like movies where there’s camaraderie between guys. You know I never had an older brother. So I like those guy movies where they, you know, I even like monastery movies. I like real stuff that’s part of my Asperger’s. I hate fiction. 

So, my two favorite types of niches to get this male camaraderie from is prison documentaries and monasteries, where they’re all guys, and I have nothing against women. But I do miss having good guy friends. And there’s something about the routine in prison, and in monasteries that I really, I’m really drawn to that. Because people with Asperger’s like structure, they like routine, and they like to do things a certain way. 

In fact that’s what made me realize that my dad probably had Asperger’s and I have it too. It’s hereditary. And my dad was a perfectionist, and what he put his mind to he accomplished a lot. But he would always just hide in his workshop working on his cars. He restored cars for fun after he retired from owning a couple businesses around town and he was really good at what he did. 

He restored several beautiful cars I mean we’re talking, Porsche 356 speedster, a MG TC and a Jaguar XL or something like that. Beautiful he does everything, the welding, the paint job. The parts, you know he has like a metal lathe.  

But growing up, there was a lot of structure in our house, we had dinner exactly at 6pm every night, we had breakfast exactly at 7am Every morning, and he liked a quiet, structured household, and Sunday was family days so I couldn’t go play with friends. 

When I was 16, we butted heads because we’re a lot alike. And so I gave him the silent treatment because that was the only defense I had that was the only weapon I knew of is withholding love. So, from 16 to 18, I didn’t talk to my dad, my mom cried to me, pleading to talk to my dad. You’re killing your father, you got to talk to him. 

I didn’t, and then he kicked me out when I was 18. And so, the last couple years, I’ve, you know I made amends with my dad when I was 25 that was like 15 years ago, but I still have regret that I heard them. I still have regret that we couldn’t get along, you know, we couldn’t get along. We butted heads, he was strict. I didn’t want to follow his rules, and that was the dynamic. 

So I got this weird thing with my dad, you know, I want to still please him. I want him to be proud of me. And, you know, he went to counseling when I disappeared when I was 20 and started dating that older woman. I only lived like two blocks away from their house, my parents house, they didn’t know where I lived for like two years. 

I ignored them and had a lot of rage, you know, it was eating me alive. And so even today I’m just like, Dad, I love you, I’m sorry, and, he’s like you don’t have to. You don’t have to apologize, I’m proud of you. And it doesn’t seem that he’s proud of me so I guess it’s a my self worth issue I have to revisit that. 

And I guess I need some friends, or I don’t even want friends, most of the time I get irritated when people talk too much to me. Or they talk about stuff that I’m not interested in so I have  a real selective attention span, you know, but if you talk about certain things I light up. I’m just like, Yeah, you know. So I guess my interests are Asperger’s, sobriety, the monastic lifestyle or even prison, you know, if you’re an ex felon, hit me up. No, I don’t know. 

You guys know what I’m talking about, I mean, do you miss, did you ever have an older brother. Do you miss your older brother? Do you have a younger brother? Do you miss them? You guys keep in touch or how are you doing with your dad, you know, you get along with your dad – did you ever forgive your dad or forgive yourself  before he died as he is he still alive?

My dad’s gonna be 80 next year, and he wants to come see me. We’re in Texas now and he’s in Washington State, I don’t want to go back to my small town. I got too many bad memories there from drinking, being the town drunk, and don’t want to see any of my old friends. And since I quit high school, I have never gone to any high school reunion or anything.

And I guess I was a punk. You know I was rebellious and did drugs and alcohol and my role models were punks and they’re negative, they were drunks. Well I wouldn’t say Hemingway was a punk but, you know, he took his own life, so I guess that’s very selfish to commit suicide. I would never do that, I’m not suicidal. I guess that’s one good thing to be proud about. Never been suicidal. 

But I’m almost 50. And sometimes when I wake up from a nap. I get this many life reviews. And I feel really empty, like I did nothing with my life. The only thing I did was throw a big tantrum in my life and I became drunk, and I tried to art. And I tried college. Eventually, I tried Merchant Marines quit that tried modeling quit that. You know, it seems like most of the stuff I’ve done I’ve quit. 

But I am very proud of my sobriety. And I got 13 years, had a couple today relapses in the beginning but I’m not counting those, I’m not starting my clock over. If I did start my clock over I’d probably be 10 years So 11 years of sobriety still really frickin good. I got that, because I don’t want to die. 

I don’t want to just be homeless, I would be hanging out with the bums and the homeless guys because that’s what I did the last couple years of drinking. I hung out with the homeless guys because they drank like me, and they were humbled, they’re beaten, they’re beaten down by life, and to me that equated to egoless, they didn’t pick on me, because they’re always hung over, down on their luck, poor, and their dads were mean to them.

You know I used to hang out with these guys next door. And at first it was fine because I was a writer and I wanted to do research on them. I was always interested in abnormal psychology and hung out with them. And then pretty soon I became one of them. And those guys are dead. They died a long time ago 10-15 years ago and I’m still here. 

And I think the only reason I’m here is to help somebody either find God, or get sober, but I’m really having a dilemma with, I guess loneliness and wanting that connection with, you know, some guys. You remember how good it was in childhood? How you can just laugh so hard you almost peed your pants, or you laugh so hard that you can’t even -all the wind gets knocked out of you, you laugh so hard. 

I did that one time on LSD, actually, a guy ran in front of me, and then he dashed behind a bush, and it looked like he disappeared, and it was the most hilarious thing in the world. I laughed so hard it just instantly knocked all the wind out of me. I was like this. I mean I almost suffocated. I just laughed so hard. 

I worked in the restaurant business from 16 to 35. I met a lot of cool guys, you know that just, they were hilarious. And I always felt proud of myself, if I can make them laugh, but they made me laugh constantly. I was never a leader in groups, I was always kind of like, like my best friend, I always called him Fred and I was Barney. I was always a sidekick with people, but you get me with a really funny alpha male and I compliment them very well, you know, we can just spin jokes off of each other all day long, make funny little noises; try to make up our own little foreign languages and do funny stuff; Singing stupid songs and screw them up.

You know, I’ve seen it all in the restaurant business, and now you know, I’ve been working from home since 2016 – Just me and my fiance and I watched a couple documentaries that remind me how fun it is to hang out with guys, so I guess that’s my story today. Leave a comment, you know, if, If you can relate to any of this, you know, leave a comment and we’ll continue this conversation later. Have a good day. 

Here’s more Resources for Autism and Addiction

Sincerely,

Erik C Johnson

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