The single, sober life doesn’t have to be lonely. Instead, this can be a time where you learn to love yourself and make huge steps in the recovery process.
When you’re single, it can be very easy to lose yourself in a never-ending cycle of wondering, “What’s wrong with me?” or, “Why can I not seem to find anyone to love me?” On top of constantly asking ourselves these kinds of questions, we start getting asked about our relationship status from friends and family. It can easily pile up.
When you’re single AND sober, things can get a bit more challenging. You’re not only hoping to stumble into someone special, but now you also have to explain why you’re sober in the first place. Even when you do find someone that you are willing to discuss this with, it’s still hard to explain it to someone who may not understand.
You may be thinking that your sobriety will cause you to be single longer than you already were. Instead of focusing on finding someone else to love, now is the perfect time to focus on learning how to love yourself.
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. Even though I may not have thought it at the time, in the beginning stages of my sobriety, 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 with someone who was also battling their own alcohol and substance abuse issues. When I made the choice to get sober, it became very clear to me that I would only be able to remain that way if I also removed the people in my life who 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. When we’re able to be alone, it is because we have learned how to love ourselves on our own. The former is what I was experiencing when my recovery began, but I found the latter after allowing the process of recovery to work in my life.
Throughout this sober journey of mine, I have had to face many emotional barricades that took hard work to get over. I had to face certain truths regarding my substance use disorder, codependency and mental illness 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 — 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 my recovery, but don’t get me wrong; loving myself is still proving to be a challenge on some days. In recovery, I have been 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 while recognizing that I still have areas to work on 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!”
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.