Single & Sober

I woke up one day and realized I was one decision away from a different life, so I decided to make some changes.

Throughout my recovery journey, I’ve learned so much not only about myself, but those around me as well. I’ve learned to love and appreciate myself in every way possible. I’ve embraced the changes that an alcohol-free lifestyle has brought me. I’ve noticed changes in my body – less pain, less bloating, weight loss. My anxiety is easier to manage, my sleep patterns have improved. I feel refreshed and in all honesty, more vibrant and alive each and every day.

Over the last 8 months, I’ve had many people tell me that they don’t think I was actually an alcoholic. They didn’t think I actually had a problem. I couldn’t be an alcoholic, they’d seen people kill themselves and ruin relationships over their alcohol abuse patterns and that wasn’t me.

The reality of alcoholism is this… if it controls your life and / or your thought patterns you most certainly have a problem. If you can’t go a day without thinking about it, you have a problem. If alcohol is your bestie and who you turn to in immediate times of need, you have a problem. I may not have been the alcoholic sitting in a pool of her own vomit asking for her next drink, but I still had a problem.

Not all alcoholics look like “alcoholics.” Sometimes they are the closet daily drinkers that function just fine in normal society, but covertly drink to numb out the pain and struggles of day-to-day life. Or sometimes they are the ones that don’t drink daily, but when they do drink they can’t control themselves. There is no cookie cutter mould on who is and who isn’t an alcoholic. If someone believes they have a problem, chances are they probably do. Admitting you have a problem takes a lot of balls. It’s a tough pill to swallow to admit you’ve been the one causing all the problems in your life. Ownership of your shit is no easy task and has never been for the faint of heart.

so, if someone tells you they have a problem, just love and support their decision however they need you.

Picture this.

I hadn’t drunk to get drunk since high school. Actually, this isn’t entirely true. On my 30th birthday I had a big party to celebrate my “coming of age” and my freedom. I wanted to get drunk that night… but I couldn’t. I WAS drunk, but I didn’t feel drunk. I drank my weight in alcohol, but felt like I had been drinking water. I may not have felt drunk that night, but I can assure you the hangover matched the amount I drank and kept me humble.

I can’t even remember the last time I blacked out from drinking, but I am pretty sure it was induced by and encouraged by uncontrollable emotions and a mental breakdown.

I could drink and not destroy my life, but the truth of the matter was that it DID dictate a huge part of my life. I thought about it throughout the day. I looked forward to getting home and pouring myself a glass of wine every single day.

I used alcohol to manage my stress.

I used alcohol to take the edge off a rough day.

I used alcohol to relax after a long day and unwind before bed.

I used alcohol to be more social.

I used alcohol as a means of curbing my boredom.

It has been eight months without so much as a sip of booze and there are still more days than I’d like to admit where I think about how much I want another drink.

Some days are super easy and it’s barely an issue, but there are those days, the particularly hard ones, where all I want to do is drown my emotions in a good ol bottle of red.

No, I didn’t drink every ounce of alcohol I could get my hands on and destroy relationships and ruin my life. I was responsible. I went to work every single day. I managed my responsibilities as a single mother. I functioned and adulted just as good as the next person, but it was still a staple in my life. I still used alcohol to cope with my emotions and make the stresses of life more palatable.

There was a time, not even all that long ago when I couldn’t even imagine a life without alcohol.

No wine on evenings after work? No wine-girls nights on weekends? Pfft, fuck that.

I will also mention that this round of sobriety is not my first attempt. I have had MANY Day 1’s over the course of my adult life. I’ve even made it as long as 6 months in the past. Listen, there is no shame in starting over. If you are starting this journey and keep slipping, that is ok. It happens to the best of us. Just don’t wallow in it.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start over again.

Sober & Single.

Being a sober woman in the dating world creates far more challenges and reduces the list of available options significantly. Being single and sober takes something that is already incredibly difficult and stressful and makes it just a little bit harder. It’s disappointing – even more so than before.

Usually when I tell a potential date that I don’t drink, they start treating me differently. Most men don’t know what to do with someone that doesn’t drink.

“Where would we even go?”

“What do you do if you don’t drink.”

“Well, I can’t even bring you anywhere now.”

“How do you have fun then?”

Seriously guys? Is it really that hard to think of something creative to do outside of sitting in a bar?

Who knew my not drinking was going to be such an inconvenience for them.

It’s pretty sad when we, as a society, have come to rely on alcohol as a means to simply enjoy life. Is life really that bad that we need to constantly numb our senses in order to get through it? At one point, I thought it was, so I am not sure why I am so surprised when other people feel the same way I did.

In all honesty, being sober while dating is a great filtration process. Yes it adds a level of difficulty, but it helps to weed out the people with a different mindset and core values. As someone who has made a conscious decision to not drink, do you think I really want to end up with someone whose life revolves around beer and partying? I’m in my mid-30’s, I’m looking for someone that has reached a level of maturity that plays well with my own, and someone that drinks excessively is probably not going to be a good match. It’s best those types are ruled out nice and early.

Through this journey, I’ve realized how much of crutch alcohol is for pretty much anyone that drinks.

People who drink. their lives revolve around their next drink. If someone were to come into their life and interrupt that cycle, it just wouldn’t work. At least, not if they aren’t ready to make that change themselves.

I’m not saying this is a problem, I am saying that being sober in a society so hung up on alcohol means that the difficulties of trying to find a decent life partner with common core values and interests become a little bit more of a challenge.

Another thing to note about being sober is that you can’t expect anyone else to jump on board with you. This is a decision that needs to come from YOUR heart, nobody else’s. If you are giving up alcohol simply to appease someone else, chances are you are going to get frustrated, start resenting that person and be unsuccessful in your attempts.

Are you sober and dating? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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