Shaky Single Sobriety:
3 Signs You Need to Wait on A Relationship
8/28/2020 by Chris Cobb
It’s nice being sober. Sucks being single? Try considering the fact that if you are single right now, you have a zero percent success rate in every relationship you have ever been involved in, like me. Cold, hard truth. I’m not here to tell you what to do, but rather tell you from my experience why things haven’t quite worked for me yet with relationships, even with over 2 years of sobriety, step work, sponsorship, and so on. Here are some things I have noticed while still learning how to handle certain aspects of life while living it sober.
1: I Still Have Much Work to Do on ME.
Even though not quite as extreme, my irrational thinking and urge to be right are still there, even though I am no longer drinking. My reactions in handling situations is better, but still not as great as they could be with more work. Say when I was drinking, the person I was dating would be angry with me and give me the silent treatment. Back then, maybe I’d yell, throw something, punch walls, whatever. Now, I am much more reserved with my emotions. However, I still build up resentment, wanting to pry out of others what they are thinking even if they don’t wish to talk about it at the time. I become frustrated, angry, unreasonable, and make petty threats to leave, even though I know I do not want to go anywhere. This will usually have the majority of the same end results as before, minus the night in the drunk tank or the broken dishes and windows. Working a 12-Step program helps, yes, but: the principles take time for us to truly apply in our daily lives. YEARS of drinking, and learning how to react within a horrible place in our heads took time too. Bad things add up over time, they become second nature to us. But, so do the good things. There is nothing wrong with going out on dates, or even being in a relationship after some time, but just remember: things will not always work how we wanted them to. The best thing we can avoid doing is setting expectations on another person to avoid resenting them and being overly disappointed. Rather than dwelling on an ended relationship, use it as a learning experience so that you can keep improving. Use the things the other person claims to have not liked about you, as self-improvement advice rather than going on the defense, feeling insulted, and using it as fuel for your angry former mindset to overtake.
2: Is My Life Yet as Together as The Other Person’s?
How many jobs have we lost due to our alcoholism? How many times have we been arrested because of our erratic behavior under the influence? Do we even have our driver’s license back yet? What about the person we’re interested in? Are our standards higher than they used to be for our Dream Date? If they are, are our standards for OURSELVES higher than before? To put it in perspective: think of you as me. I’m thinking of my dream girl. She is kind, caring, generous, never misses work, keeps up her appearance and loves to relax to dinner and a movie when there is free time floating around. But what about me? In the beginning of my sobriety, I had a dishwashing job at Denny’s, a clunker of a car (now I have a different clunker), and I lived in a sober living house with a bunch of guys just like me. Broken, afraid of what the future holds or doesn’t hold, and a chip on my shoulder. Even after 2 years, I am not where I want to be. I am getting there, slowly, but surely (I wonder if her name will be Shirley). Sure, I go out on dates, and sometimes the fact that I am a videographer, social media marketer, and I.T. guy (taking girlfriend applications), interests the other person. But this is skill, not yet a career. I struggle with bills, I struggle to keep my car running, and I struggle to find a place to take my date that won’t burn a hole in my right ass pocket. I’m not a loser by any means, and neither are you. The biggest way we can humble ourselves here is to just be honest with the other person. As long as we are putting in what footwork it takes to get where we want to be in life, this person will either accept or deny our company. We HAVE to accept this. Life is too short for small talk, so walk the walk, and see where you end up. Stop holding yourself back because of one little date gone wrong. There are plenty of fish in the sea that have the same common goals and ethics. Keep moving those feet!
3: Am I Safe Around “Normies”?
I know one thing I can’t do. And that’s drink. But who am I to judge anyone else who drinks, that has never had a negative event occur as a result of their one or two here and there? Does my new spouse drink a glass of wine or have a beer with dinner every now and then? How do I feel about it if so? And finally, how long will I be okay with it before one bad day gets my hand around a bottle? I’ve dated a few that do drink, while remaining sober myself. One situation bothered me, when there was the drunken laughing loving state my partner was in that I couldn’t go with the flow about. I didn’t feel the same as her, and I felt as if though the nice things she was saying about her and I being together were not quite true, because I had only heard them while she was drinking. Another situation that didn’t bother me, was the relationship where my spouse had a glass of wine on occasion, and acted no different with than without said glass of wine. Either of these situations, whether negative or positive feeling come about, may or may not be still dangerous for me or you. We simply have to remember where we came from, why we stopped drinking in the first place, and whether or not we can handle the pressure, if any. Not only with spouse, but around family. Friends. Keep yourself in check.
In closing, I’d say overall, it’s never a bad thing to enjoy the company of another in life. As long as the other person enjoys ours as well, and we feel as safe as they do. The most important thing to do in any relationship is to keep open communication, especially those of us who have struggled with alcoholism, we have to set healthy boundaries. And remember: nothing, and no one, can put that drink in your system but YOU. Date safely my friends.