All by Myself: My Theme Song of Disaster

Matt Salis
5 min readNov 17, 2020

Do you know why geese fly in flocks? I think it’s because when a goose catches a glimpse of its own reflection, it doesn’t believe that a bowling ball with wings could possibly get off the ground. They all depend on each other to prove to themselves that they can actually fly.

How about monkeys? Have you ever seen a monkey picking the bugs off its own back? I don’t think so, and that’s why monkeys stay together in packs. If bees didn’t swarm, we wouldn’t have honey. If ants didn’t colonize, we wouldn’t have dirt piles jutting out from cracks in our sidewalks. And if moths weren’t looking for places to congregate annoyingly on warm summer nights, why would any of us have front-porch lights?

When are dogs happy? When they are sniffing each other’s turd ejectors or having their ears scratched by humans. Even cats make my point for me. They are largely solitary creatures, and they are mostly grumpy and scornful. They only purr when receiving affection from another creature.

I used to get frustrated easily when the people around me weren’t doing things the way I thought they should be done. I had a habit of refusing the help of others, preferring to do stuff myself because that was the only way I could ensure it would be completed the way I wanted.

“Is that you and all of your friends working on that?” my wife would ask when she saw me hoarding a group project for myself. Or she would hum the tune to the 1975 classic by Eric Carmen, “ All by Myself.” Cute. But I never complained for fear she would ask if she could help, what with all her ideas and perspectives on the task at hand. No thanks. I just kept my head down and pushed on, now with the lyrics stuck in my head. “All by myself, Don’t wanna be, All by myself, Anymore.” And a tear sliding quietly down my cheek. Sing along if you know the words, both figuratively and literally.

It is generally accepted in the recovery community that sobriety isn’t the opposite of addiction. Connection is. Ah yes, connection. Reach out for help when you need it. Get to a meeting. No one can do it alone. Rubbish! I thought all of that advice was ridiculous. I spent ten years rejecting the need for connection and support. Coincidentally, I also spent that same ten years relapsing and failing at sobriety. Back then, when I…

Matt Salis

I live in Denver, Colorado, with my wife and four kids. I write and speak about addiction and recovery. Please follow my blog at

Recommended from Medium


See more recommendations