Addicted to isolation

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.


“Hi, my name is John, and I’m not an alcoholic, but it’s very complicated. In some ways, I kind of wish I was, because then I would be among friends. But that’s not quite true either, because if I were among friends, I wouldn’t know what to do. I do not like fitting in. I’ve always avoided it. I think it’s because I think of myself as above or beyond most groups. So every group I’m near, I find some way to not really be a part of it. I’ve tried to figure out where this comes from, and the best I can do is surmise it has to do with being told I was special as a child, and God had set me apart for a reason. Of course I believed it in ways that set me over others and made for different (more lenient) rules for me than for them.

And then I’ve turned into a professionally vulnerable person — what I do to make a living is to be somewhat publicly vulnerable in my writing/speaking/singing — but privately, private. I’m an Isolationist, not in a political sense; I’m an Isolationist in a personal sense. I keep my distance. You could say I’m addicted to living like this. It’s how I cope. And try as I may to change it, I’m powerless. It’s a consciousness I can’t shake.

I’ve attended a few Al-Anon meetings, and as the adult parent of an addicted child, I belonged there. I had stories to tell like everyone else. I had much to learn. I had a seat in the middle of the room, but I also sat over the room in my head. I wasn’t really there; I was observing. I might write about this. I might use this experience for something. I wasn’t “in” the experience, I was “over” it.

This is what I turned up in my recent moral inventory.

Hey … I have an idea. Can I be in your group? Can I walk alongside you?  Can you help me lose this addiction to isolation?


Not the Only One

by John Fischer (on his “Some Folks’ World” CD)


I used to think that I was right

A lonely candle in the night

And while the heart of the world was breaking

I could not feel the aching

The mantle had passed down to me

This thing was my destiny

And while the world was out there dying

I was in here lying to myself


For all the knowledge I had gained

Put me on a higher plane

And I became another

No one was my brother

And the loving message He brought down

Turned into a hollow sound

And then I heard Him calling

And His words sent me falling to my knees


You’re not the only one with truth

You’re not the only one with eyes

You’re not the only one — the only one who cries

You’re not the only one


And suddenly there was with me

An ocean of humanity

A sea of many faces

In waves of warm embraces

And while I questioned how to judge them all

Who would rise and who would fall

I found myself among them

And it mattered little who was wrong or right


And then I saw Him lifted up

The wounded One who drank the cup of death

For all the dying

The end of justifying

And I laid my mantle on the ground

And felt the rain come pouring down

The rain of my religion

Falling down like weeping from the sky


You’re not the only one with truth

You’re not the only one with eyes

You’re not the only one — the only one who cries

You’re not the only one

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4 Responses to Addicted to isolation

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    OK yet once again (it’s similar to talking to a wall) I’ll try to politely suggest if you like to gain some more & helpful insight to your Personalty Type, Pastor John plz consider doing yourself a favor. Read Dr. Robert Rohm’s Book DISC Method of understand Personalty Type. The minute your done with it and gain the insights – I guarantee your writing will change.

  2. I’ve built walls
    A fortress deep and mighty
    That none may penetrate
    I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain
    It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
    I am a rock
    I am an island

    Don’t talk of love
    Well, I’ve heard the words before
    It’s sleeping in my memory
    I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
    If I never loved I never would have cried
    I am a rock
    I am an island

    I have my books
    And my poetry to protect me
    I am shielded in my armor
    Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
    I touch no one and no one touches me
    I am a rock
    I am an island

    And a rock feels no pain
    And an island never cries…

  3. Wow! Someone a long time ago told me that was the loneliest song there ever was……
    Cynthia Vera

  4. Lindaj says:

    First, reading your Catch today John really spoke to me, and now reading the comments, bobnearseattle writes down the words of one of my favourite songs that describes how I’ve often felt. I remember first hearing that record ( which I still own 😊) when I was a child. I’m an isolationist because it (falsely?) protects me from being rejected. It’s easier not to allow people to get too close and then when they don’t really show any interest in being your friend it doesn’t bother you as much. Or at least it’s easier to pretend it doesn’t. I’m struggling with attending church at the moment as I question what is church supposed to be. Community? I’ve attended my church for many years and I struggle with some social anxiety and making small talk after the service so I either try to leave ASAP or stay and chat but it’s apparent that people aren’t in any hurry to come over and say hi. Ah the battle over the knowledge that I need to get involved and put myself out there and pursue relationships and yet the fear and truth that although I’m a nice person I’m not really likeable. Just my isolationist struggle.

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