Are you convinced that the one thing you need to complete your life in recovery is a romantic partner? Are you staying in a relationship that is lukewarm at best because you fear being alone? The fact is that being single in recovery comes with a number of benefits. While settling down may feel like the ideal, it can come with a host of serious problems that may not only stop you from becoming who you are meant to be but may also derail your recovery along the way.
Here are just a few of the benefits of being the captain of your own ship as you navigate the seas of recovery:
- You get to eat where you want, when you want, and what you want. It sounds like a little thing, but food has a deep impact on your recovery. When you are in a relationship, you very often eat with your partner and thus will have to compromise on what you may want for yourself to accommodate their needs and desires. When you are single, you do not have to eat with people who are negative or drinking with their meal because your partner wants to. You can choose to eat healthy foods without concern that your partner is bored with your food choices. You can choose to eat when you are hungry rather than eating according to a schedule that is determined by when your partner is available. You can choose to eat healthfully and at the same time keep your recovery in sharp focus at all meals.
- You don’t have to deal with someone else’s negative moods at home. You cannot control how other people feel or what they do, and if you are in a relationship, you will have to deal with your partner’s ups and downs as they come. This means that if you are having a great day, you will be brought down by their mood, and if you are having a tough day, it is not going to get any better and will likely get worse when you see your partner.
- You do not have to process someone else’s judgment in your personal space. It is normal in recovery to worry about what other people think, especially a partner. If you are single, you won’t have a partner judging you and your choices.
- You do not have to worry about your partner relapsing. If your partner is in recovery, their relapse will likely lead to your own relapse or great stress that threatens your ability to stay sober. It’s also not helpful to be with someone who is not in recovery and potentially drinking, using, or under the influence around you regularly.
- Concerns about “cheating” or a partner falling for someone else will not be realized. It is stressful feeling unsure of yourself in recovery. It can be even more stressful to feel unsure of the status of your relationship.
- Dealing with romantic drama is not part of your life. There is enough drama in life as it is. When you are single, at least you have no romantic drama complicating things.
- You will be available to your friends when and if you feel comfortable. It is common for relationships in recovery to become codependent, making it difficult for you to spend time with friends and develop a support system outside of your relationship. You need your support system in recovery, and if you are single, you will be free to pursue that without concern that your partner will be jealous and/or not approve of the people you choose for your life.
- You will be able to pursue your own dreams and your own personal path of self-actualization in your new life in recovery. As you get used to being sober, you will be able to turn your attention to developing spiritual areas of your life, exploring new hobbies, and developing a career for yourself. When you are single, you will be able to do this uninhibited by the thoughts, opinions, and likes and dislikes of a romantic partner who may have an undue influence on the direction you take and potentially cause you to stall out just when you are getting started.
- You will not be defined by others as “so-and-so’s partner.” You are not only discovering your authentic self in recovery for your own personal edification, but you are also developing a reputation and presence in your community. When you are always with a romantic partner and/or connect with someone who is a strong persona in the recovery community, instead of being known for who you are, you will be seen by many as half of a romantic relationship.
- You will have the freedom to date whomever you like. Why tie yourself down? You are going to meet so many amazing, brilliant, interesting people in your journey in life as you are discovering who you are and how you want to be in the world. Why not give yourself the opportunity to allow things to develop as they will along the way and entertain a number of different possibilities before settling down?