Recovery, not romance, should be the focus. She went to support group meetings and quit drinking for 18 months, "which felt like forever,". Q: I've been sober for about six months now. It's going okay But for now, I'd suggest keeping the focus on yourself and your recovery. Do what. I've been in and out of step recovery programs (like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) for almost 20 years. I've had many.
'I was fresh meat': how AA meetings push some women into harmful dating
People in recovery need to take their recovery seriously, and that means not becoming obsessed with the idea of finding a partner at any cost. As an additional layer of protection, a person in recovery should also not date other people in recovery.
The idea of fellow program members combining their sensitivities and weaknesses is fraught with danger. For anyone going through treatment, relapse is always a possibility. Being involved with someone for whom that possibility also exists greatly increases the chance of the two people falling back into the same habits — only this time, together.
After the inevitable relapses, she recommitted herself to her treatment program. Her experiences and her treatment taught her that a partner who could respect and support her sobriety would also respect and support her as a romantic partner. Whether repairing the bridge to a spouse or romantic partner, or forging ahead with a new person, a sober person has to give the relationship a chance to develop. This may mean putting off intimacy for a long period of time until the partner has made a clear commitment to the relationship, and both parties are on the same wavelength; this may mean a lot of dates and meetings where there is minimal physical contact.
The point is that sobriety has to be established as a priority from the outset.
'I was fresh meat': how AA meetings push some women into harmful dating | Society | The Guardian
As the people speaking to The Fix can attest, damage will inevitably be done if a relationship based on an unhealthy foundation is allowed to continue. Dating without drinking entails accepting that even as other parts of life look better in recovery, the quest to find love or companionship, as applicable can still be a long, occasionally ugly activity. It is made even harder by the ubiquitous presence of alcohol in American life. Happy hour, dinner with wine, and nightcaps are frequent enough on their own, and even more so when love and sex are considered.
Such is the pervasiveness of the presence of alcohol that deliberately steering clear of alcohol on dates might send wrong messages about intentions and interests.
A person in recovery has to look for the fun and excitement in dating while dutifully avoiding any temptations and, in the process, eschewing a rite of passage that millions of people take for granted. Most people think nothing of stopping after a glass or two of wine, or warming up the night with a draft beer. When they hear that a person cannot drink, that can change the entire tone of the conversation.
Writing in The Fix, a sober woman confesses that a man she started dating expressed his disappointment that they could never share a glass of wine as a couple. For abstinent people, this can be especially disappointing.
Their sobriety is an achievement, a successful overturning of years of alcoholic behavior. They had to sacrifice a great deal to become healthy again. The woman decided to keep seeing her partner, but they broke up a few weeks after that conversation. In conclusion, the woman writes that her sobriety has helped her regain control of her life and her mind, but it has made her romantic life much harder than it used to be.
Sobriety is great for health, but bad for dating. In the early stages of any relationship, the people involved struggle to find the right balance that works for both of them. For a couple where one party carries with them the specter of substance abuse, that balance can seem wildly off, especially when the people involved are still getting to know one another. Unless the topic has been broached, avoiding alcohol can be misinterpreted as a sign of only mild interest, with no intention of raising the stakes.
Communication in the nascent stage of dating is never easy, especially when both parties bring their own insecurities and doubts to the table. The Salon writer ruminates on how, when he and a potential date were not clicking, he longed for the feeling of having alcohol in his system, the freedom and the energy it provided to get through moments of awkward silence. Even for all the trouble their drinking caused, they never had problems meeting other people. For a drinker, alcohol makes people feel more interesting, says the Salon writer.
Take that out of the equation, and dating when sober can seem confusing, frustrating, and even boring by comparison. Top of Page Couples in Therapy Vice Magazine conducted interviews with two couples on how difficult sober dating and relationships can be.
In both couples, one person is a recovering drinker, and their respective partner drinks a lot. The sober partner in one of the couples admits that falling in love with a woman who actively drank was a threat to his sobriety; seeing how much fun she had when she was drunk, using her intoxication as a cover for his own desire to indulge, kissing her and smelling the alcohol on her breath, all pushed his abstinence to the brink.
Alcohol is, officially and scientifically speaking, a social lubricantbut sometimes, merely being in the presence of someone who is drunk — or drinks in general — can be a lubricant all on its own. When the dynamics of gender psychology are exacerbated by substance abuse and the rehabilitation thereof, the perspectives can become even starker.
Sober people, for example, are still working through their past issues with alcohol; being around a drinker and being involved with a drinker can make for an uncomfortable relationship. Eventually, it may come down to accepting harsh realities. As most people in recovery will say, becoming sober entails living in a world that is not sober, and a dating scene that is inherently linked to alcohol consumption to make things happen.
Jezebel writes of the importance of communication. At 15 years old, Hankel not her real last name was already addicted to drugs.
By 18, she was running Narcotics Anonymous meetings in her community in New Orleans. At her facility, she was set up with a personal therapist who paid attention to the specific issues beneath her addiction.
If people in rehab programs only focus on their dependencies, they are only scraping the surface of the problem, painting over a broken-down foundation without fixing the splintering wood beneath, Hankel explained. Without delving down to the root of the problem, it becomes more likely to grow again. Treatment, such as rehabilitation and therapy, is run by professionals who start with their clients from where they are and work with them through a variety of medical and psychological means to build their autonomy, he said.
In contrast, support groups like AA or NA provide merely a peer-to-peer network of individuals supposedly working toward the same goal. In essence, an environment that is touted as a safe space can be anything but. From easier access to substances to sexual harassment, abuse or even outright murderthese programs can inflict further damage. Hankel said she was frequently the only woman in a group of 15 or more men, because there was simply no other option in her area.
Before a couple years ago, she said, there were no women-only meeting at all. AA boasts over 1. Being hit on at AA was a daily thing for me. No kid wants to see their parent dating, anyway, but the guys from AA bring it to a whole other level.
I was offered drugs there every single time. But what about me? I should put up with that? When she turned 22, she decided to get help, and started going to AA and NA. Her first week there, she met a man who had four years sobriety and began dating him, only to find him isolating her from her friends and family, policing the way she dressed, and eventually hitting her. When she tried again, months later, to recover, she found AA to be a dangerous place even without an abusive relationship tinging it.
I loved that all eyes were on me all the time. In hindsight, I realize I was never really able to focus on my sobriety. She said the drug courts in south-east Georgia, where she and Alexia reside, mandate offenders to go to AA meetings.Why Men Suddenly Lose Interest After 2-3 Months of Dating
When she complained about this procedure, she was told they could go to any meeting and to find a different group.