When you’re single, it can be very easy to lose yourself in a never-ending thought cycle of, “What’s wrong with me?” or, “Why can I not seem to find anyone to love me?” Not only are we constantly asking ourselves these kinds of questions, but it can be even harder to accept once we start getting asked about our relationship status from friends and family. When you’re single AND sober, things can get a bit more challenging. Not only are you still hoping to stumble into someone special, but now you have to explain why you’re sober in the first place. If and when you do find someone that you are willing to discuss this with, it is still hard to explain to someone who may not understand. And while you may be thinking to yourself that your sobriety will cause you to be single longer than you already were, maybe now is a good time to learn how to love yourself instead.

Early Sobriety Pairs Very Well With Being Single

First, I must preface this with the fact that you do not have to be single to get and stay sober. Now, with that said, in the beginning stages of my sobriety, even though I may not have thought so at the time, being single was exactly what I needed at that point in my life. With the end of my drinking and drugging came the end of a toxic relationship that I was in with someone who was also battling their own alcohol and substance abuse. It became very clear to me when I made the choice to get sober that I would only be able to remain that way if I also removed the people in my life that were enabling my toxic behaviors. So, I made a choice: Single and sober it was.

Now, I just had to learn how to love myself. By leaving behind what was holding me back, having to learn how to be alone, and developing coping skills from the ground up, I was slowly but surely able to see the beauty within myself. It was then that I finally started learning how to be in love with the life I was given without needing people, or substances to keep me from that.

There Is a Huge Difference Between Feeling Lonely and Being Alone

When we feel lonely, it’s usually due to a lack of love within ourselves that causes us to feel this way. When we’re able to be alone, it is because we have learned how to love ourselves on our own. The prior is what I was experiencing when my recovery began, and the latter is where I am now that I have allowed the process of recovery to work in my life. Throughout this sober journey of mine, I have had to face many emotional barricades that I have had to work hard to get over.

Facing certain truths regarding my substance abuse disorder, codependency, and mental illness, have all come to the light while learning how to love, and accept myself. One of the most important lessons I have learned while being single and sober is recognizing that loneliness is something that is created in our mind. That is extremely important for anyone who may be feeling lonely, because you need to know that our thoughts can be rewired into much more positive channels. We do not have to feel lonely, but we are more than capable of being alone. The first step is being able to recognize this huge difference.

I Am Always Learning How to Love Myself!

I have come a long way in the 30 months of my recovery, but don’t get me wrong, loving myself is still proving to be a challenge on some days. In the time of my recovery, I have remained single, and I am still working on things such as my love addiction and my fear of intimacy. I have a bad track record of losing my identity when I involve myself with other people romantically, and it has been a decision of mine to remain single because I love myself enough to know that I am just not ready yet. Being able to say that out loud, and recognizing that I still have areas to work on — that is a good example of me loving myself.

Being single and sober is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it is a sure sign that you are taking a stand in your own life, and making a big statement to the world. A statement that says, “I am going to choose to love myself, with or without someone, because I am not lonely. I am alone and I have been able to love myself more because of that!”