I Realized “Using” Can Apply to Sex Too…
I want to be an independent woman but my codependent self won’t let me. In the last few months, my home life has unraveled. My fiancé moved out and I’m suddenly a single mom with two boys under five.
A hundred things have changed. I had to resign from my position at work and apply for another job in a different city to make childcare work. My finances are precarious. I no longer have the support of my ex’s family and I haven’t any family of my own. I am four and a half years sober and my life has collapsed.
I am grateful I built a solid enough life in recovery that I know I can’t turn to using.
I know that a drink or drug is not going to make anything better. I might find temporary relief…but I know it’s not worth it.
Yet, I still need relief. Sometimes I don’t want to be a mom or go to work or be responsible. Sometimes I feel like I got the short end of the stick. He’s doing whatever he wants and I’m “stuck” with kids, childcare issues…and everything else.
I am in a world of pain and seeking relief. I won’t drink or drug. Food isn’t doing it anymore—I’m too stressed to eat. The house isn’t getting any cleaner. So I’ve turned to my old favorite distraction…men. I need to fill the void. I want to feel good about myself. I NEED TO BE VALIDATED. Sex was a huge part of my past and I know how to tread softly (at least that’s what I told myself).
I was seeking out men that I knew were “safe.” I told myself to be careful—I told myself not to get attached. It’s just sex…no strings…blah blah blah. That works at first—until I begin to get attached—then I get hurt. So I find another one. And another one.
I get so wrapped up. Then I crash. Hard.
It’s like I’m speedballing with dating.
It’s hard to be a sober single mom.
But I realized that when I date someone and they don’t make some sort of sexual advance, I usually wonder what’s wrong with me. I’m taking a good hard look at that reaction and trying to turn it around. I’m spending more time with guys that don’t treat me like an object. It’s refreshing to go hang out with someone and just talk.
I’ve stopped seeking out guys. I’ve set a couple standards I’m trying to adhere to. I tell my tribe what I’m doing, even when I know they are going to give me shit about it. I share the ups and downs and through that, I can see myself. I’m trying to see myself as my tribe sees me and I’m working to get the men in my life to see me through that lens.
I’m getting a better idea of who I want to be and who to surround myself with. I am learning how to show people that there’s more to me than my body. I like to do stuff and go places and share my interests. If you can’t share that, I’ve got no time for you.
It’s all new. I never cared about that before…it was always physical, always “what’s in it for me?”
I don’t know that I’m going to stop seeking companionship, but I am damn sure going to be as smart as can I about it. Hell, I might even learn a thing or two along the way.
Now…if you’ll excuse me…I have a date.
Nicole is an East Coast mama in long-term recovery. A survivor of all the things, she is a fierce advocate for women, loves the “f-word,” practices kindness, and loves patchwork. Nicole is a newly single mom living north of Boston with her two sons.