I’m sober now – and lonely

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I am 38, divorced, no kids or even a dog, and VERY lonely. I was hoping you could help me with some advice.

I’ve been in recovery for four years now. My addiction – and the prison time that came with it – took everything from me, and now I’m picking up the pieces and rebuilding my life. 

After going to a a sober living transitional house after prison, and learning good job skills to build a career, I am living with my sister. It’s complicated because apartments won’t rent to me because of my criminal history, but hopefully that will go away in a few years. 

I got a divorce last year – it took about three years – but now I am single. I am not out and about meeting people because I’m not getting high or drinking anymore, so I don’t really meet anyone new. I just started a new church, and maybe my Mr. Right is there, but it gets much harder as you get older to find somebody. I worry that my past will put people off anyway.

I probably should’ve had kids whenever I could’ve. I probably can now, but I feel like I’m too old. I’m really lonely and I don’t want to grow old without a family of my own. I just never found the right person in the past to have one with.  

What are your advice and tips on what I can do – and what do you think about online dating? I don’t know if I have the energy it takes to search for someone. Relationships take a lot of work, and I’m willing to do that if I find somebody I’m interested in who accepts me for who I am. 

– Lonely and Looking


“I probably should’ve had kids whenever I could’ve.”

It doesn’t sound like that’s true. You weren’t in a good place to consider children. Also, you wouldn’t have been having them with the right person. If anything, you did the right thing by giving yourself time to get healthy.

I know that a lot of social opportunities also involve drinking, nights out, and doing things that aren’t good for you right now. But there are so many other ways to connect with humans. When I consider my group of friends, how we met, and where we have gathered, a bunch of non-bar activities come to mind. Book clubs, cooking classes, online groups for games, volunteer work, and athletic clubs. I mean, I’m not in the athletic clubs myself, but the nice thing about them is that they generally draw people who are interested in health. Sometimes I see walking groups in parks I visit. They look like they’re having a great time.

My advice, overall, is to give yourself more time to adjust to the world. Get used to signing up for an activity, attending, and finding joy in something new. Maybe try an app – just to see what’s out there. Answer the question prompts honestly, and see who you find. Practice chatting. You can leave it at that.

Please consider taking advantage of any continuing therapy services designed to help you with life transitions. Let the experts be experts.

I know you’re lonely and want big things (great love, children, etc.), but building something new takes time. Try to be patient as you adjust. Ask for the help you need along the way.

There are a lot of lonely people out there, unfortunately. The good news is that so many people are seeking company. In time, you’ll start to find them.

Also, can you get a dog? Or volunteer at an animal shelter? Sounds like you’d like that a lot.

– Meredith

Readers, yes, this stuff takes time, but advice on next steps? And dealing with loneliness?

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