Hitting a Wall in Sobriety - Page 2

By Kristen McGuiness 04/03/12

Sometimes just being sober is good enough, but sometimes it's not. What do you do when recovery is driving you crazy?

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Romance is another area that can exacerbate depression in sobriety. Gina, a 46-year-old part-time nurse, lives in Philadelphia, where she just celebrated 10 years sober and seven years single. The mother of an 11-year old, Gina’s loose curls and hippie garb echo back to another time. But being a sober single mother has taken its toll on her. “I don’t go out as much as I used to,” she says. “I don’t meet people. I don’t go hear music, which I love. I don’t go to the lake with my kid or go hiking. I can say I’m lazy, but I think the bigger thing is I’m afraid. Because any time I meet a guy and he shows a little interest, I think there must be something wrong with him because underneath it all, I think there’s something wrong with me.”

But, according to experts, all of this is part of the sometimes painful process of growth. “Once people get comfortable in recovery, they’re still left with life,” says Dr. Jaffe. “Whatever they were masking, whatever environmental or childhood issues they have ignored, they are now coming to the surface. Inevitably the goal of recovery is to get to the point where people can live their lives—with all its challenges and difficulties and rewards that come with being an adult.”

Gina, who has begun to work on those issues that she was able to hide under the carpet while raising her child, agrees. “I am doing better now—just taking each day as it comes,” she says. “And I am feeling better about myself. The funny thing is when you feel better about yourself, people notice you, and you notice them noticing you. Patience, tolerance—all these principles that I thought we were supposed to be applying to other people, I am finally learning to apply to myself. And because of that, recovery is becoming powerful again. I get to have a whole new experience in it.” 

Kristen McGuiness is a freelance writer and regular contributor to The Fix who wrote previously about old timers in AA and sober travel, among many other topics. She is the author of 51/50: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life

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