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SOBER AND SINGLE | 11 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you are sober and single, then this is the best place to start! Here is Olivia’s (one of our fabulous writers) take on her sober dating experiences, and her “Top 11 Things You Need To Know About Being Sober and Single.”
1. How do I date sober?
My first piece of advice, and this may sound obvious, is to get treatment and get sober. Find a treatment center that is nothing like where you used, and has staff who know what it’s like to be in your shoes. Spend a year in “self-care.” When I first got sober, I didn’t know how to date. I didn’t know if I should be on Tinder, Grindr, Facebook, or waiting for my IG to blow up. I didn’t want to be single, which is why I kept dating all the wrong players. It didn’t matter if they drank or used like I did. I kept searching for connection in all the wrong places. It wasn’t until I “self-cared,” spent some time with myself, that I was ready to date sober.
2. Is there a 90-day or a 1-year wait rule?
It depends on you. I dated the same way I drank: continuously to the point of frustration and loss. Ultimately I would wind up picking up a drink (or a needle) again and again. So, for me, taking some time off was a good thing, provided me with a fresh start, a new point of view. There is no “rule,” but it is suggested in meetings and by therapy that a person can change drastically in a 90-day period of being clean and sober. If you need time, take it. If you crave contact with people (as long as it’s not pushing you toward your addiction), find it. I took a year and came back into the dating pool a different person, and that was right for me.
3. Does 13th-stepping really exist?
Yes, it does. It’s something to definitely look out for. Getting off drugs and/or drinking is hard, and a lot of people look for a replacement. When I was newly sober I dated all the wrong types. Every month almost, I would find myself scrounging up a date, the “my type” guy, the “bad boy,” the freshly “sober” guy, every guy except the good guy. I was meeting anyone just to replace the drugs and drinking, and it was not good for me or my recovery.
Specific dangers of 13th Stepping include:
• You are usually extremely vulnerable in early recovery.
• New sexual relationships are distracting to the primary goal of sustaining your sobriety.
• When a relationship fails, you may feel it justifies relapse.
• It can be a betrayal of trust, driving new members away.
• 13th Stepping can damage the reputation, goals and purpose of individual groups, along with the fellowship of 12-Step groups as a whole.
4. Is it hard to be alone?
Yes and no. Of course, in the beginning it’s new and scary. I had to overcome anxiety at first, but it did get better over time once I learned about “self-care,” which I had to do in order to start being a productive member of society. I wish I’d had KLEAN at that time.
KLEAN would’ve taught me coping skills. While you may feel like you’re alone in your struggles, rehab gives you a new sort of “family.” It can still take a lot of time to re-learn how to read a book, relax, take a bath, do everyday activities that we had long forgotten, but time for self-care is priceless.
5. How does KLEAN offer a way to get away from old using grounds (and that ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend)?
KLEAN offers a chance to get away from the only life you know–the addict’s life. For me, that life included two drug-addict parents and a chaotic household. I wish I’d had KLEAN when I needed it. It would’ve given me the opportunity to “breathe”–a break from my previous life, and a new perspective. KLEAN offers inpatient rehab, outpatient options, and you can bring a piece of home with you: your dog. Though I hung outside rehabs and went to over 1000 meetings in my first year sober, I still could have benefitted from the kind of personalized care KLEAN provides such as women’s rehab. It took me years to find out that I needed personalized healing, therapy, and time away from my chaotic household.
6. What is the best way to meet people?
Meetings, alumni gatherings like KLEANs, mutual sober friends, the gym, tattoo shops, art shows, concerts, even Facebook.
7. How can I find a healthy relationship?
I fully attribute my sobriety to being able to be in a healthy, fulfilling relationship. I didn’t get sober in a rehab, but many of my friends did. I hung outside the rehab by my house until I was able to put together some time and meet new friends. My current relationship came out of having multiple acquaintances and not jumping the gun for once. We met organically after I wasn’t interested in anyone anymore. I had been previously been engaged to a woman early in my sobriety. I took a period of time in sober living to work on self-care and change my whole perspective on life. Being sober and single was the hardest thing I ever did, but ultimately the most rewarding. Finding a healthy relationship takes good timing and a lot of self-love, and the help of others.
8. What advice would you give to newly sober couples?
Sometimes being in a relationship is the last thing we need, even though it may be the first thing we want. Because relationships can be so emotionally chaotic, they can be problematic for your sobriety. Relationships can tempt you to relapse if your partner goes out and parties. It can be hard to know what actually makes you happy when you’ve been away from normal living for so long. That’s not to say that you won’t meet that person who is right for you, and will help you stay sober.
9. What should I avoid doing?
The opposite of addiction is connection. However, after getting sober I found that I was just replacing my old vices–the spoon, the needle, a drink–for new vices. The need to be loved in the most co-dependent way quickly followed in the wake of my turnkey sobriety. I was never the type of person to seek out sex for the sake of sex, but after getting sober I found myself having sex out of a need to be liked and for affection. Don’t replace one addiction with another.
10. Is patience important during this time?
Yes, being patient is important. Allow yourself the time and space to recover, recharge and renew. Knowing what I know now, I believe the structure rehab provides is essential in the first 90 days of sobriety and helps to provide a strong foundation on which to build a relationship. I did not use resources such as rehab to get sober, and I wish I would have known how valuable they are. A progressive rehab such as KLEAN provides space, privacy, and quality of care, as well as a place that nurtures patience.
11. When is it safe enough to let go?
We have discussed all the things to consider when you are sober and single, but ultimately one of the most important commitments you will ever make is the one that you make to your sobriety. And the first step to letting go is finding the right treatment center. One that understands your addiction and your recovery. One thing that differentiates KLEAN from other rehabs is its staff. Everyone I’ve met at KLEAN has experience with someone who has struggled with mental illness or substance abuse. Unlike many rehabs, there is a doctor on staff 24/7. There are nurses, therapists, counselors, techs, and more. KLEAN isn’t trying to push you through rehab and back out into the world. The staff at KLEAN cares, and they want you to succeed. They understand that your success is their success. The treatment world can feel overwhelming, and even unethical at times. I know that is not the case at KLEAN. When you realize that you don’t need a drink to abandon your inhibitions, and you feel “safe enough to let go,” you become your true self. Your confidence will arise not from the bottom of a rig or a bottle, but from yourself.
Thank you for reading “11 Things You Need to Know About Sober and Single.” We know that addiction is hard, but getting treatment doesn’t have to be. If you find you need help for drugs or alcohol abuse, you can call KLEAN at 855-774-7839 or text 310-401-0808 to speak with a KLEAN Treatment Advisor.
More KLEAN Video:
KLEAN Treatment Centers Contributing Writer – Olivia
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or TEXT 310-401-0808