Most single’s have been hit with the two pronged ‘Are you seeing anyone?, Don’t worry, you’ll find someone’ taser at social occasions.
Sometimes it’s difficult to say; “For the first time, I am seeing myself”.
In recovery, stopping vandalizing ourselves can be just the beginning. When I stopped harming and dosing myself, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t still more than ready to allow someone else to do a disservice to me, and treat me as though I wasn’t enough.
Dating people who would be drunk and absent. Cancel on me at the last minute, time after time. Talk down to me. People so emotionally unavailable, I felt alone in every second I dated them anyway, and started to wonder what was unlovable about me. People so wrapped up in their own struggle that they were inaccessible to themselves, let alone be in a position where they could provide any comfort or connection to me. And people who had no regard for anyone else and hurt me, simply to get what that wanted.
It wasn’t until I started dating sober that I started to experience people more fully. I really believe that, sober, we can see intoxicants of any kind more clearly. I wonder whether some of these people who I dated, or saw casually, for a few weeks sober, would have still be around for months or even years if I were still drinking; All the time banging my head against a brick wall and hoping they would magically open a door to honesty and affection where they realised at last that I had some value!
We have to stop putting other people ahead of ourselves.
If you don’t drink, maybe, in an ideal world, your potential partner wouldn’t either, but the chances are – they will. Being alone and focusing on ourselves means that we can gain a clearer idea of what we will accept, and what we wouldn’t. We can’t aim to change people, but we can decide which quaities would make us consider a entertaining partner, or not.
I know that someone choosing to drink would never be a temptation for me to. Or stop me from getting to know
their drinking them. And eventually, if a relationship was right, it would mean my partner wouldn’t choose alcohol as a priority and me as an option – so it wouldn’t be a problem. I would expect a partner to want to be present, with me, and not intoxicated anyway. And if my sobriety was a problem to them: well that’s a different story.
Apparently, being single and sober can sound pretty lonely and awful to other people – especially over the festive season (and at weddings) – but, I can tell you:
Being lonely in an unfulling relationship is SO much worse than feeling lonely alone.
There is a lot more you can do to love and look after yourself when you are alone. Being single has meant I have built relationships with people (including myself) that I love, and who serve me in every area of my life.
The people in my life bring as much to me as I feel I bring to them now, and that’s all I want.
And please let’s not kid ourselves and pretend we couldn’t all be in a relationship if we wanted to be. We’re all single by some kind of choice:
I choose to be single until I can find someone who deserves to reap the benefits of all the work I’ve done, and continue to do, on myself.
Getting sober has meant uncovering the best parts, and being the best version of myself I can be – my unwillingingness to compromise that will be worth the wait, and I know my next partner will be pretty amazing and have done some of this work on themselves too.
We should always refuse to lower our standards to meet someone that refuses to raise theirs.
And I don’t think it will be
possible easy to find someone who ‘ticks all the boxes’ – but I do know that when we find someone that we have a real connection with, compromise in a relationship will be easy. Because it will never compromise our happiness.
This blog was written by me nearly two years ago, when I was single – and had been for a long time. I wanted to repost, for anyone who is experiencing the pressures of being in a relationship or having a drink this festive season. Look after number one and don’t let the judgement touch you, yeah?