I was raised in an adoptive home with people who did not have much of a social life - we lived in a small town, but we may as well have lived out in the bush, for the amount of social interaction that we were exposed to in that house. We lived a fairly isolated life, and once those doors were closed and locked, that was it. People didn't come to visit without advance notice, and a fair amount of planning. It was a "closed system:"
"A closed system is one that does not accept information from its environment. External factors are not welcome and it governs itself from within itself allowing no interactions."
(definition from Ask.com)
That seems an excellent description of what happens to us when we isolate. We don't accept any information from our environment, and we allow no interactions.
Why did I do this? Because I was fearful. To begin with, I was afraid of what people might think of me, of being judged and found wanting. Then as I became more trusting of the people in my early Al-Anon groups, it became more about not wanting to have to change my thinking. I was still firmly ensconced in the position that any problems were caused by the alcoholics in my life, and there was no room in my frame of reference for the understanding that even without those particular alcoholics, much of my thinking was self-defeating and negative.
Changing my thinking could be painful, difficult, and bring up feelings with which I would rather not have to deal.
I liken it to days such as today, when my back problems are making themselves felt. I awoke stiff and sore, uncomfortable with movement even though sitting still is equally as painful. I know that when I get up out of this chair and go to have a hot shower before church, I will feel better, the hot water will loosen my muscles, and the movements, stretching and bending required to shower and get dressed will help. But overcoming the inertia, to stand up and move around, when I'm feeling like this, requires an effort of will, and a belief that I will feel better if I do this.
Just as in program, I must make the effort to change my thinking, trust in my Higher Power to help and guide me, and believe that the effort will bring rewards, both immediate, and long-lasting. It may be painful, frustrating and difficult to begin with, but if I perservere, soon I will be out in the sunshine walking to church, looking forward to giggling with my friends, and feeling hugely grateful for the love and serenity in my life.
But none of that good stuff will happen if I don't get up out of this chair, open the door to my apartment, and go out to greet this day.