It's simple; don't overthink it.
In early sobriety it’s important to keep it simple, no big changes, right? But over time things will happen: people will move, relationships will start and finish, new jobs will be attained. It’s exciting, but also stressful (for everyone) so patience and staying present is good. Take it easy on yourself, keep sobriety at the front of things and always remember you are where your feet are. Don’t live in the future, it’s a scary place. You’re right here in the right now and if you’re sober you’re in the right place. If you’re struggling, you’ll get there soon!
Dating in (and out of) sobriety is tricky business, what with the messiness of feelings and such, but there are great rewards in opening up and allowing ourselves to connect with and trust another person.
I’ve dated sober men and not sober men (some really not sober) and I’ve found there are pros and cons to them all. Sober people speak the language and there’s compassion built in; you share this thing and that’s comforting. You don’t have to explain it, it’s unspoken. But we are a wild bunch, we are often sensitive and intense and that sometimes doesn’t work. Being with a not sober person can be refreshing. Some say two addicts in a relationship is too many? I don’t know. Maybe for me it’s the neurotic hyper self aware self conscious addict type that’s too much because it’s too similar to me. It should be noted that non addicts can be just as crazy. Or maybe you like crazy, I certainly do, but I have to know my limits and look for someone whose personality balances mine out, I personally need to be calmed and reminded to stay present and the right partner can do this. Sober or not.
Like most things in life it’s about being open minded, trusting yourself and being patient and present.
I know people who wait to tell the person they are dating that they are sober, but I am quick to share it. Maybe it’s a test, I don’t know, but it’s a big part of my life that will play a part in any relationship I have. Just as I respect someone’s decision to drink, I hope others respect my sobriety and for anyone who I choose to get close to, that understanding is essential. They don’t have to get it, as in be sober or read the Big Book cover to cover (though that’s a perk), but respect is key. Every relationship has complications, every person has “stuff” we are not terminally unique and it’s our stuff that makes us special; the hope is that we are open and up for dealing with our issues somehow. That’s what I find attractive: sober or not, someone who gets that life is an adventure and sometimes complicated and messy, but if we try to be open honest and compassionate, we stand a pretty good chance of having a grand time.
This is my refuge. This is my kingdom. With the door sealed shut and the world locked out, I am free to destroy myself in the solitude of white walls and curtains closed tightly. I make myself up for a night of staying in and present myself with a bottle to be shared with no one. I pour shots of vodka, which I drink like water and pretend I’m drinking wine. I make believe there’s still elegance in what I’ve become. I drink until that moment of relief, when everything recedes and there is a lightness to the world. And then because I do I just keep drinking, because the world needs to be lighter, things are too heavy still. Sadness returns. The brief respite from myself is over. My belly full of something that is draining me, toxins flowing through my veins and into my mind. I am a mess. I am worthless. I hate myself. The cracks are showing through my skin, I’ll soon break into a thousand pieces.
Every feeling has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
And for everyone’s safety, keep your eyes on where you’re walking.
That’s all it takes. A slip and a fall. I’ll reach out and take a sip and in one second my sobriety will be broken. I worry about this all the time. When I pass a wine tasting booth at the farmers market on a sunny afternoon… How easy it would be. And I don’t even like wine. I have to be vigilant, I have to be careful. But I also have to take it easy and remember these thoughts will come, they will pass and as long as I don’t take that first sip, I am doing great today. Celebratory Shirley temple!
And it was fun in the beginning, like most things are. I did drugs and I got drunk because I was curious, because I wanted to fit in and because, for a few years, I had a great time most of the time, including after I quit for those few months. Even after I stopped doing drugs, I continued to drink because I continued to enjoy it. I was at college then and eager to be accepted. People drank, and I did too, but while others drank to heighten the mood, to celebrate and let loose, I drank to find the bottom of the bottle. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. It was the phenomenon of craving, triggered by that first drink and one was never enough. My drinking progressed, and then it stopped being fun. I was always blacking out, forgetting the night before or drinking during the day. I was drinking because that routine was all I knew, it was who I was. I only felt like myself when I was drunk, but I was completely checked out and not present. I knew I didn’t drink like other people, that drinking alone in my bathroom wasn’t normal, but I couldn’t see a way of stopping. I thought if I stopped, I would lose myself, lose the one thing I had to hold on to and I was terrified of being alone. Sometimes I wore my alcoholism as a badge of pride, like at least I was something: the self-proclaimed saddest girl in the world. The truth was any relief drinking brought me came in the form of brief emotional anesthesia, but there was always this ever-present, haunting sense of emptiness that felt inescapable and that drinking only deepened.
It was fun in the beginning…