Don’t be scared to walk alone
Don’t be scared to like it
There’s no time that you must be home
So sleep where your darkness falls

John Mayer

The benefits of getting sober while single and childfree are numerous but the most important one is that you have the time and freedom to devote your focus to yourself and your sobriety.

There’s no spouse who refuses to stop keeping vodka in the cabinet or children that won’t sleep through the night. There’s nothing to prevent you from your recovery which means that if getting sober requires three meetings a day or 90 days in treatment like myself, you never have to compromise.

It’s taken me 8 years to find gratitude for my divorced, child-free, sober status because I was stuck and wished I could change the past. I’d assumed I would be a happily married, moderately drinking mother to beautiful children, with a loving husband and a house in the suburbs, but I had to accept that wasn’t and probably will never be my story.

I never drank moderately. My unhealthy marriage ended suddenly when my ex-husband violently kicked me while I was pregnant. I lost the baby; it was my second loss, and first incident of physical violence after less than two years of marriage. I left and never went back, but failed to find the right help, falling deeper and deeper into alcohol abuse to numb the pain.

My drinking seemed normal to most people because I drank alone and it went unnoticed for years. By the end, I didn’t have many friends; the only ones left drank more aggressively than I did and told me rehab was for quitters.

I was overweight, depressed, in debt and in a horrible cycle of dating unhealthy men. There was not much support for my decision to get help except from my management and coworkers who were incredibly kind and compassionate. My friends and family thought I was being dramatic and told me ‘everyone drinks too much occasionally’ but I knew my drinking was dangerous, was getting worse quickly and would one day result in something horrific happening.

I checked myself into Passages Malibu rehabilitation centre after a final written warning woke me up to the truth and made me realize that if I didn’t take dramatic action, I would eventually lose everything like so many of my family members before me. My brother, uncle, cousin and godmother all had drink driving convictions and three of my four grandparents died from alcohol related health issues before I was born.

Rather than wait for the same to happen to me, I took my health into my own hands and transformed my mind, body, and spirit through sobriety.

I looked at rehab as a wellness retreat with a focus on addiction in a broad sense rather than limit the lessons to alcohol. I applied them to multiple areas of my life where addiction was an issue like overspending, binge eating, dating and travelling to escape reality.

Being single and childfree gave me the time and resources to hire a personal trainer, nutritionist, become a yoga teacher, pay off all my debt, get promoted and lose over sixty pounds in a year because without alcohol there are no limits to what is possible. I took my therapists advice and stopped dating and communicating with men and it was the best decision I have made in my entire life.

Getting sober while single gave me the ability to get to know myself again after all the years lost to drinking and helped me remember that I am a beautiful soul worthy of a healthy and happy relationship. I became my own best friend and created a life for myself that I don’t want to escape from and instead crave the calmness of my bathtub over a crowded bar or fancy restaurant.

Sobriety after over twenty years of heavy alcohol abuse is a hard and lonely road whether you are in a relationship or not. It requires more strength than I ever imagined and I am forever grateful for the help I received. For years, I wished the past could be changed and mourned that I never had children or a partner but now I cry tears of gratitude for my freedom.

All too often people jump into relationships because they are scared to be alone but I think being alone forced me to become stronger and more sure of who I am and what I want from my life.

Sobriety requires an examination of the darkest parts of ourselves and forces us to bring them to light to heal. It’s deeply internal work and I am thankful to have had the space and time for this journey without pressure from another person to go faster or recover in a different way that they deemed to be more acceptable. For example some people might require their spouse to attend a certain number of meetings per week or have various other conditions to be met during early sobriety but I have none of those issues.

Sobriety offers the opportunity for a spiritual journey, total transformation and the ability to create an entirely new and different life for yourself. Being single, sober and childfree gives you the freedom to design that new life entirely around your unique preferences and desires. For example I want to purchase a small condo in Sun Valley, Idaho and live there during the summer while teaching yoga internationally in the winter and being single and childfree affords me the freedom to make it happen.

In the beginning it can feel lonely, sad and hard to be doing this work alone but I urge you to look at the situation from a different view to see the freedom and opportunity that lies ahead. If you are struggling please know there is nothing to be ashamed of, treatment does work and you can heal.

I am now nineteen months sober and have accepted that I am likely not going to be invited to certain events where drinking is the main focus and many people will choose not to hang out with me or date me because alcohol plays a big role in their life. This used to make me feel left out but then I found new people to do more interesting things with in my free time. The world is so big and beautiful there is no reason to fear being excluded, you just keep searching and eventually will find the place you belong.

Keep the faith and you will one day look back and laugh at the idea that drinking is fun or glamorous because you have experienced so much more that life has to offer and will see it for the scam it truly is.

Written by Karin, barely edited by Sober Fish

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