Let’s talk about dating while not sober first.
I have plenty of experience.
I only had two relationships when I was sober.
One was my first boyfriend in high school.
The second is my current relationship.
The span in between was relationship after relationship founded on alcohol or other drugs.
As you probably know, you do not make the same decisions under the influence that you do while sober.
For me, that meant dating many people that I had nothing in common with except for alcohol.
I dated people that irritated me when I was sober.
Part of that irritation was due to a hangover.
But not all of it. I was often sober during the week.
I was the kind of drunk you would label as a “weekend warrior.”
A large part of it was that I did not like the person I had a relationship with.
Most importantly, you need to like yourself, and I did not for a long time.
It is important to realize the mistakes you have made.
People teach us lessons about ourselves.
I still need to forgive myself for some of the harmful, hurtful people I let into my life.
One of the worst was a guy who ended up living with me for about six months.
I met him through mutual drinking friends.
He knew I had feelings for him, and he completely took advantage of that.
He was sleeping with me the entire time while sleeping with at least two other women.
I was suspicious, but I was not one to snoop.
I believed that if you trust someone, you should not snoop.
When I did become suspicious, I felt bad kicking him out because he had a kid.
For him to have custody, he needed a place for his kid to come to safely.
He was broke, so he could not afford an apartment.
I was getting more and more to the point where I wanted him out.
I needed proof other than my gut feeling that something was off.
He often used one of my old laptops.
I got it out and logged onto Facebook.
I did not have a Facebook account at that time, so it popped up right away.
I decided to check his messages.
The first thing I saw was all these messages to his new girlfriend, Katya.
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Starting to Wake Up
I was going to kick him to the curb. But first, I was going to tell his new girlfriend who I was and what was going on. I reactivated my Facebook account, logged in, and emailed her immediately. She responded by chat. She said, “I can’t believe he would do this after saying he is in love with me and blah blah blah.” He said these same things to me at one point. Then the conversation took a surprising turn. Katya informed me that another woman had reached out to her a week earlier, accusing him of cheating as well.
Katya also enlightened me that he said he hated my dog. If you knew my dog, you would think he was the biggest jerk to have ever walked this Earth. Trust me on this. Who could not love a pudgy, chill, and blue and white chihuahua? He is a rock star. So, to think this three-timing, no good, son of a… was taking advantage of me. As I was chatting with her via messaging, I moved all of his stuff into the back hallway. I texted him to let him know his stuff was outback. His text back was something weird like, “Let’s have this out in person.” I had zero need to see him in person. There is nothing to discuss in this case. Trust me. I did see him one last time getting the stuff out of the back hallway. I had changed the locks after he left. But I still needed to get Katya’s keys from him to give her.
I opened the back door and what I saw was the saddest, tall man with tears streaming down his eyes. He was like a kid caught with his hand in the candy jar. I almost felt sorry for him. But I could not. I told him he was pathetic and got Katya’s keys and slammed the door shut. Some people say that closure does not exist. I would say the moment where I shut the door in his face was the best closure I have ever experienced.
Dating While Sober
I started to become aware of something after an experience with a cheater. I was grasping again at love. Grasping meant going through the same harmful patterns again and again. I was beginning to feel exhausted. I would never find someone real until I started to find myself.
Things did not change for me overnight. It took time and practice. The last two people I dated before I met my current partner were steppingstones. One was a realization that I did not want to date people who did drugs anymore. This person did, and I broke up with him. It felt good. It was the first time I thought about myself rather than the other person. Then, I met another person.
We drank the first few times we hung out and started dating. We also lived in different countries. We did a long-distance relationship, and then I moved to his country for a while. I was always irritated with him, even right before I left to go live with him.
I had barely seen him and almost broken up with him. The romantic version of myself that wanted to live in another country won over. It was a disaster. I was only there five months and left, for good.
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After returning to the United States, I decided that I needed more change to avoid making bad decisions. I decided to get sober. I was not drinking much, only once a week. But clearly, that was too much for me to get my life in order. Around that time, I also lost my job. The rain came pouring down.
But my mentor Father Michael Pfleger says, “Storms run out of rain.” I walked through the storm of life on my own for a while. I was applying to jobs, deciding where to live, and taking care of myself. Every day I would go on a walk. Life was simple. For the first time, I enjoyed the lack of excitement. Constant moving and feeling like I had to prove something to someone were exhausting. I did not feel like moving at a fast pace anymore. I wanted to take the time to think things through.
I decided to work for a relative’s company while I was applying for jobs. The job was in New England. A small rural town. It sounded exactly like what I needed. The city had always triggered me to continue these negative patterns I was trying to quit. I did break loose. I started to live a sober life. While sober, I had the control to say no to people I did not desire. Dating while sober meant taking care of myself and not going with an idea that did not serve my higher self. It did not mean that rejection did not hurt. I was able to handle it better and know that the feeling would pass.
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Love Yourself First
I started to put time into hobbies.
I put time into taking care of my body by exercising.
I read all the time.
I learned guitar.
I went on hikes and felt nature healing me.
I decided to stay.
It was only six months until I met my current partner.
We met through an event.
We began a sober relationship.
We hung out and got to know one another.
We had a lot in common.
I learned after months of dating that I enjoyed being around this person.
It did not happen overnight.
But because I was sober, I enjoyed the process at my own pace and moved forward as I felt.
We are still together; it will be two years in March 2021.
Dating sober is more about finding yourself than anything.
No matter who comes into your life, you will attract the person you deserve if you are sober.
A person who will honor you rather than who you pretend to be while chugging your Miller High Life.
It is not that you will not have bad dates.
You will understand that they are a part of life, a passing moment like every other moment.
It will all be worth it to know yourself, to love yourself.
There is no love more important than the love you have for yourself.
No partner can fulfill that.