Knights in shining armor, love at first sight, and Nicholas Sparks novels are all fun in fantasy, but expecting that kind of romance to happen in reality can lead to problems. Here’s a more realistic–and potentially much more fun–life goal: to be self-reliant, empowered, and successful in sobriety and life at large.
Independence and Sobriety
If you have spent time with us at Great Oaks, or are entering one of our programs, you’ll soon find out that much of what we learn in recovery is how to be independent. We learn to step away from dependence on substances, on toxic thought patterns, and on other people for our happiness and fulfillment.
This last step can be uniquely challenging, as many of us have been taught that love relationships are the ultimate achievement. And yes, the prospect of falling in love and eventually building a family can be super attractive. It might even be the only thing you’ve ever wanted.
Intimate Relationships in Sobriety
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to develop an intimate relationship of mutual support with someone you love. That said, battling addiction requires an unwavering commitment to yourself. Sobriety requires learning how to be happy with yourself. It’s hard: addiction can cause–and stem from–feelings of unworthiness. Maybe you feel like you don’t deserve a partner or that you’re not capable of being in a love relationship.
We would argue that instead of looking outside yourself for confirmation of your worth, you must first come to know your own worth and believe in it.
To that end, being single can be a gift as you transition to sobriety. And it can ultimately prepare you for and make you more grateful for the relationships that will come your way–whether or not they lead to a permanent union with someone.
Addiction breaks down relationships. This can cause intense emotional pain. In sobriety, it can feel like a top priority to alleviate that pain by repairing relationships, or finding new ones, as quickly as possible. But in most cases building trust takes time. Sobriety teaches patience. If you are single and sober, you have an even greater opportunity to learn patience.
Sober and Single
Singlehood does not have to be lonely or make you feel inadequate. Being single can be an empowering, happy state of being that doesn’t lack anything or anyone. The same principles that can help us develop mindfulness and self-love in sobriety can also help us build, maintain and repair our relationships–and not just the romantic ones:
Often in recovery we learn to give our worries and anxieties over to faith or a higher power. If we find ourselves in a mental and emotional space where singlehood is uncomfortable, we don’t have much choice but to accept that feeling and surrender it. Fixating on the lack of partnership, just like fixating on a lack of substances, isn’t going to change reality. Singlehood is a daily practice of acceptance. It adds to our emotional work in sobriety in the best way.
When we don’t have to focus on a partner, we have time to reflect and to grow at our own pace. We can more clearly see what our issues are and from where they stem. Relationships can often be highly distracting. They can delay the self-actualization process. They can make us a little bit lazy, thinking that we can rely on the other person for our happiness and stability rather than developing those qualities in ourselves.
When we’re single, we have to face states of depression, anxiety, self-pity, and fear with our own inner resources. During these hard times, it helps to remember what we’re grateful for. As our inner strength grows, we get to a point where we realize that a relationship isn’t essential to our happiness–instead, it is a perk and blessing that we can enjoy but don’t necessarily need to survive and thrive.
- Self Respect
There’s nothing like being alone with ourselves–our triumphs and failures–to create a sense of self-appreciation. We learn that we can do anything and everything without a partner. This can be incredibly empowering. It can also train us to reject potential partners who make us feel like we’re incapable.
We Are Here to Help
If you are struggling to find a sense of peace in sobriety or if you are relying on substances as a quick fix for emotional pain, you are not alone. Reach out to us today, and let us help you get back on track.