Ahhh dating. It can be a real emotional rollercoaster at the best of times – but let’s also throw sobriety in the mix for the hell of it. Oh and Covid, let’s not forget about him/ her?
I’ve asked around my sober sisters (yes I cringed just as much as you writing that) to see their opinion on whether they date only other sober people or also ‘normal’ people also. The response was varied but for this post I can only really speak from my own thoughts and experiences I suppose. AA advise that you don’t date for a year but even this can be a little confusing for people who don’t regard themselves as addicts but simply ‘problem drinkers’. Does this apply to me? I can tell you straight out the gate I will not be abiding by this. Because I’ve already done it. Rebel.
Saying this I am pretty recently out of a relationship and sometimes I need to remind myself of that as it’s easy to think it’s been longer than at it has. Though that’s to be expected when you’ve made this many lifestyle changes and realisations about yourself. I mean I almost feel like a whole different person, not completely, but almost.
I think it’s quite natural to want to throw ourselves into dating soon after a breakup as its a form of escapism, quick gratification and for us souls with addictive personalities it’s just bloody typical. We are the ones who are always told to ‘take your time with it this time, no need to rush things’. Eh?? Maaaate it’s what I do best! Hearing those words brings feelings of resentment which probably means I know deep down that it’s true. I want it all and I want it now. All of it, all the time, now now now.
New shiny Kayla still has these same tendencies of course. Even though I’m a whole 42 days in (please sense the sarcasm). But I am trying very hard to be mindful about it, aware of it and take time to sit with just myself and my emotions.
I used to use alcohol as an escapism, to keep busy and as a result chase the night. The thought of going home to my own thoughts didn’t feel comfortable and so I would avoid it at all costs. The actual reality was once you actually do go home at a decent time and maybe pick up some food it’s rather lovely. But drunk me has the memory of a gold fish so that rarely happened. It’s the same with dating. I’ve been noticing that I was starting to feel burnt out and it’s because I was investing too much time and emotion into people when I dont have the capacity for that yet. I’m still too vulnerable. I was also doing the ‘keep busy’ thing without even realising. This is where morning and night meditation and mindfulness is so important so you can take note of how you’re feeling and what you need that day.
I’ve dated both sober and non-sober people but I think at this early stage it’s important for me to surround myself with mainly sober people. I would not be comfortable dating someone who was drinking around me as I don’t know how strong I am in my sobriety yet. No need to put myself in unnecessary danger.
Will I still go to the pub when they re-open you ask? Yes ma’am I will. But only with the right company to begin with at least.
My main concern right now is to surround myself with positive people who support me in my sobriety. In terms of dating I have finally understood the importance of sharing the same values and lifestyle choices. And I will not budge on this for even the prettiest boy. I will say though that I don’t see anything wrong with some human contact if spending time with a person makes you feel good. And after all, sex is good for the soul. I have never struggled with sex as an addiction – the only troubling times have been when mixed with alcohol. Then I have made some questionable decisions for sure. But sober sex is a whole different blog post I think.
So that’s where I’m at. Trying to take my time, not closing the door to the possibility of something in the near future but dating myself a bit too. Also being very aware that lockdown is easing soon and the challenges that will bring.
Our addictions jump around and attach themselves onto whatever they can, be it alcohol, food, coffee, and people – especially if you remove one out of the equation the others tend to up their game. The goal is to find a balance with it all. I am nowhere near there yet but just having an awareness around it is a big step and just knowing that is comforting.
Today is Sober Day 42, Smoke Free Day 10.