Dear Single People in Recovery, on Valentine's Day:

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Dear Single People in Recovery, on Valentine's Day:

By Rebecca Rush 02/14/18

One day you’ll date again, take a lover, enter into an ethically non-monogamous domestic partnership, whatever. But that day is not today.

A vintage image of a woman in flapper clothing looking at herself in a mirror
It's you and me, baby.

Congratulations! You’re doing it. It doesn’t matter how many relapse romances, rehab romances, or codependent conga lines it took to get here. What matters is that you’re here, doing the hard work of loving all the parts of yourself that society has programmed you to disown.

One day you wake up and look in the mirror and see the only person who’s gonna be with you on this ride the whole time is you. And then you look in your own eyes and you say the hardest thing it is to say into a mirror: I love you. And you say it again. And you keep on saying it until you can do it without crying. Until you can do it on repeat.

Until you start to believe it.

You’ve come to understand that your therapist was right when he said “Two dead batteries can’t start a car,” and that when people refer to dating in early sobriety as “shopping in the dented can aisle,” that dented can? It’s you.

Water seeks its own level. So you rise.

Our culture pushes the idea that to be single is to be less than. There are dozens of laws that exclusively protect married people. Usually when someone says they’re single what they mean is that they are aggressively pursuing a relationship; that they’re on 17 dating apps and holding eye contact too long at meetings; that they’re going on date after date looking for something they lost inside of themselves.

But you, you beautiful genius, you realize that society also pushes booze and pharmaceuticals and fear and that hasn’t worked out for you either. So you were like: fuck that noise.

You browse Seamless instead.

It’s like that song by Cardi B: you don’t date now, you make sober moves. You don’t gotta date, you make sober moves. See a cutie on the street, you know what you gotta choose, you’re a boss you’re a fighter kid, you make sober moves.” Or something like that.

The only way to love yourself is not through another person. The only way to ensure you won’t keep dating the same he/she/they/ with a different face is if you change yourself on a cellular level. And that requires you go to some pretty dark places. But the darker you go, the more you bring up and out into the light.

You’re changing the world by changing yourself. I know you know this. But I also know how easy it is to forget.

One day you’ll date again, take a lover, enter into an ethically non-monogamous domestic partnership, whatever. But that day is not today. You’ll know that you are ready for a relationship when you finally feel at your core like you don’t need one.

The world is full of interesting paradoxes like that.

And you don’t have to avoid Valentine’s Day, or use it as a hammer to beat yourself, or get all hateful and celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day. You’ve got a veritable Big Love going on with all your personalities anyway.

Celebrate them all!

Maybe you go to yoga, a word that means union. Maybe you spend time with a dog. Dogs are the only true till death do us part, anyway. Maybe you book a weekend by yourself at a resort in Monterey that looks like the fancy rehab you always wanted to go to.

Whatever you do, remember this. It’s easy to find someone to date. Charlie Manson was married TWICE.

What you are doing is HARD. I salute you. I am here with you. I celebrate you. I love you.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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