How to Crush Your Bday When You're Single and Sober
I'm settling into my angular and oh-so-uncomfortable yet chic nordic style stool at my fave coffee shop on the east side.
I'm noticing the pop music playing on the sound system and without getting irritated, I slip my headphones on and hit play on Soundcloud. It's playing this sweet set I found last night - a perfect mix of tech house and burning man vibes.
I always get the $5.40 half-caff americano and it's worth every penny.
Good coffee is hard to come by in this city. I'll take it wherever and however I can get it.
It's one of my ONLY vices left! I'm living like a puritan these days and I dig it. All hands are on deck rn to help me achieve the level of health and productivity I know I'm capable of.
Alcohol, drugs, shit quality foods aren't on the 'yes' list when healing your body from years of trauma, drug and alcohol abuse.
I'm ok with that. I'm actually more than ok with that. But it's taken me a few years to understand how I can be social, not a complete bore, and still live according to my new-ish values (I've been off hard drugs and binge drinking for many years now).
It's my 37th birthday tomorrow. In the past, like many others, my bday success was measured by how many people I had at dinner, how much fun I *kind of* remembered having while pounding shots and being the life of the party AND how much I felt my boyfriend loved me.
K. None of that is on the radar now. None of it.
It's almost been a year since my breakup and yup, I'm still talkin' about it.
Because it was wildly traumatic and painful. And I know this happens to countless other people who not only have a hard time healing from it but also may never if they don't learn of tangible tools to do so.
I write about my processes to help get over heartbreak and deep pain so that maybe even one person can find a softer way to move through their healing.
Though, also, my traumatic breakup was also the catalyst that literally catapulted me into a year of the most intense healing, progress and strength I've ever experienced.
It's not all bad. Not at all. All of the bad has actually been fertilizer to create some pretty stellar good!
K, back to being single and sober on my bday. Great.
I don't even remember what I did last year on my bday. I was with my ex, obviously at the tail end of a 3 year union and nothing was really memorable. Everything was kind of grey. Expectations, niceties, traditions.
I'll cook you dinner, be extra 'nice' to you, buy you something, tolerate your friends a little better...
Yea, I accepted it as good enough even though I saw right through it. My heart felt that it wasn't good enough or authentic. It wasn't raw, real love. Passionate love. The kind of love I will now forever hold out for.
The ideal day for me if I were to be in a partnership? Mad, passionate lovemaking first thing in the am, hearts connected, walking hand in hand to grab coffee, stroll around the hood for a long time talking about all the things that we give a shit to talk about with each other cause we're genuinely interested and give a shit about what's coming out of each other's mouths...naps, food (Ubered or homemade, don't care), and then some type of gathering with the dearest of souls in my life where EVERYONE FUCKING LOVES EACH OTHER and the energy is free from stand-offness (it's a word) and simply tolerating each other to be polite - for Cass's sake.
There's care, interest, presence, fun, loving and generousness everywhere.
Will I have to move to Spain to find such love? Maybe! But until then, imma do my bday like so:
I'm not waiting for someone to plan something for me.
I'm not waiting for or expecting some grand gesture...Some big reveal from a secret admirer.
I won't be disappointed if I don't hear from a hundred people or get a bunch of gifts.
I don't care that I won't be having passionate lovemaking first thing in the am or any of that...that may come one day in the future. Until then...
I WILL be taking the day off from work
I WILL take my time, move slowly, enjoy MY own sweet and loving energy. I will be giving myself tons of that.
I'll hit the gym, drink a beautiful green smoothie and have a decadent bath infused with gorgeous organic salts and oils.
I'll take myself to Body Blitz and laze around all afternoon in water therapies, let my girls hang loose, detox, read, sleep on the day beds, get a massage and spoil this body who works so hard for me everyday (poor thing lol).
I will make no dinner plans. I'll take myself out somewhere I really like..yes, I love to dine solo. It never makes me feel awkward, I really do love it. I'm a massive introvert and go to movies, clubs, festivals, restaurants etc. solo. My best work is done when I'm alone.
And, of course, I'll pop into Butternut Baking Co for some keto, gluten free, dairy free cake cause dessert will always make my day better.
I will not feel sorry for myself that I don't have someone. That's irrelevant. It has no weight on my worth and when I look back on my immemorable 36th bday, I know that I can show myself a kind of love and a good time that no one else has been able to to date and that's 100% ok.
One thing I've come to realize as an addict is that the compulsion to use an outward source of energy to fill the void that lives so deeply within an addict's soul can either be filled with a healthy and self-loving concoction or a destructive and depleting one.
We want to raise our dopamine. That's fine. Let's put the energy into doing so in restorative ways, shall we?
It's taken a TON of energy to learn what that looks like for me, then implement it.
I no longer look to alcohol and drugs on my bday to deem it a good time.
I no longer look to meaningless sex to make it a good time.
No more bad food, drugs, bowing down to expectations, giving into fears of judgement from others or, Sandy, my bitch of an inner critic.
Our brains are plastic. We can unloop traumas. Untangle anxiety and pain.
We can change the way we internalize life, being single - we can retrain ourselves to live our most unapologetic and authentic lives.
What does that look like?
How does one get there?
Great questions! Love it. This is how I've achieved this level of self-acceptance and peace.
1. Stop giving a fuck what others think of you. Their opinions of you are shaped based on their own life experiences. Their own fears, pain, wants etc. and people will project those onto you as much as they can if you allow them. Not because they're malicious or bad but because that's what people do! Don't give them the opportunity. Simply stay true to what you need and want. No questions asked.
2. Sit with yourself for a while, maybe do this several times, and think through the things that make you most happy. What makes your heart swell, when you feel most grounded, at peace, filled with joy. Make a list. Find a way to incorporate as much of that into your day as you can.
3. Don't wait for someone to come and rescue you. You don't need rescuing by anyone. Your soul wants you to be the one to 'rescue' it.
I'm positive there will be a day when I share my bday with someone who is so on the same page as me that we're in a sphere of connected energy. I truly do. My bitterness and pessimism of romantic relationships is fading.
I'm working with a therapist who specializes in PTSD and addiction and I'm piecing together a lot.
I can feel my heart opening. It's taken time. I'm not rushing it. And I know now that I can take my time to truly get to know someone instead of rushing in and being disappointed 3 months later (then staying for waaayyyy too long).
Because I'm investing in my growth, my healing and recovery I know I have an insanely positive and loving future to look forward to. For now, I trust that I can experience that on my own and I will not be frustrated or sad that I don't yet have it.
I will not turn to drugs, alcohol or meaningless sex to fill a void.
There is no void. I am enough. You are enough. More than enough.
We know exactly how to give ourselves what we need. Why are we so afraid of that relationship? What if we were to put the amount of energy into cultivating and growing that instead of the swiss cheese relationships and experiences we keep slapping on our sandwiches?
Cheese is pro- inflammatory anyway, so byyyeeee!
This is the first year in a long time that I'm actually looking forward to my birthday.
Imma spend it with my best friend. Me. Don't laugh! She's rad, fun, mischievous, playful, open-minded, loving and non-judgmental, she's a fighter, fierce, she's here to make the world a better place and I get to have her with me all the time.
What do you absolutely LOVE about yourself? What makes you proud to be you? What do you love to do that brings you so much joy?
Do more of that.
Feel all of the good stuff.
Just go on and create the life YOU want. Don't wait for someone to provide it for you.
Now, go 'n get it 💙
Be well with hope,