By Kevin Repass
One of the biggest challenges I faced after getting sober was discovering who I am as a person without drugs or alcohol. Like many, I turned to drugs and alcohol as a medicine and coping mechanism. I never felt so lost, confused and anxious once I started on the road to recovery. Fortunately, I am here to say that finding our sober identity gets easier as time goes on. We become a new, wholesome and better person with time and patience.
Sober In Public
Drugs and alcohol made me a lot more comfortable in social settings. Substances made me numb to my surroundings and allowed me to live in a cartoon-like world. I would care less about my words, actions and how people perceived me. Starting conversations with strangers in social environments is terrifying in early sobriety. We feel nervous, uncomfortable and uneasy in our own skin without a drink in our hand or drugs in our system. Over time, we naturally learn to become more comfortable in our own skin. Our coping skills improve and we become more confident around people. I would slowly begin to remember the person I was before drugs and alcohol ever took over.
I feared the unknown roads ahead of me in early sobriety. I was motivated and committed to no longer turning to drugs or alcohol as a solution to problems in life. Family members understandably notice our struggle of finding an identity in sobriety more than anyone. We are going through a major, unfamiliar and scary transformation. I almost felt like a werewolf changing back into a human after a long, devastating path of destruction. As time goes on, however, family members notice how much sobriety changes us for the better. Our family members begin to trust us again. They become a lot more open, forgiving, sympathetic and understanding. Getting and staying sober is an uphill battle- but for people like me, it is one of the most rewarding accomplishments we can ever achieve.
Dating in Sobriety
Dating, intimacy, romance, love and personal relationships is definitely a challenge after getting sober. Drugs and alcohol gave us the “chemical courage” to speak to potential partners at bars, clubs and social gatherings. We have to learn how to love our sober selves first. It takes a lot of time and patience to become comfortable and confident enough with ourselves to step back into the dating scene. Even then, we have to be a lot more cautious and selective out of the fear of falling into a toxic or codependent relationship. The wrong choice in a partner could set us back and lead to relapse. I have come to the conclusion that a partner must accept my past as I have. They must understand I have learned from my mistakes, changed for the better and continue to work on being a better person every day. If they cannot love and accept me as I have learned to love and accept myself, I simply do not deserve that person. The right person will be able and willing to look over those things. They will only see and care about the person I am today- not who I was one, two or three plus years ago.
Kevin Repass is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He writes for websites in hopes to inspire and encourage those who struggle with addiction. He has found purpose in guiding others on the path to sobriety.