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When you attend anything as much as many of us go to meetings in a 12-step program, it is hard not to feel like it’s your entire life—especially when what used to be your entire life is now just an empty barstool.When it comes to treating addiction, bonding with others who struggle with the same illness is an important component of creating a support system.
When you are new to 12-step, it is generally frowned upon to make any big changes within your first year—moving, changing jobs, chopping your hair off, ending a relationship (barring obvious exceptions) and especially beginning one.This is just a suggestion (as everything in 12-step is) but it was invented for a reason—to avoid hasty, emotional decisions you will probably regret.Early sobriety can be challenging enough without inviting in the complications of another person.But, since I have never been the kind of girl to keep her panties on in a crisis, I needed to test out this unwritten rule.I was a year-and-a-half into recovery when the relationship I’d been in pre-sobriety ended and I found myself single in sobriety (which should be the name of a reality show).Since I had always met men at bars and drinking parties, I was kind of at a loss as to how I was supposed to start dating again—something I needed to do ASAP if I wanted to avoid having to spend time with myself (something I was not prepared to handle).
Between 12-step meetings and fellowship (aka going to a diner after the meeting), I was spending an average of 15 hours a week with AA people, so it seemed only logical to use this time as an opportunity to scope out potential partners.When my sponsor told me that dating another recovering alcoholic was not the best idea, I responded, “That doesn’t make sense.If I am sober, why wouldn’t I to date someone else who is sober?” “Because we aren’t swimming in the ‘well’ pool,” she said, referring to people in AA, “and two sickies don’t make a wellie.” I laughed so I wouldn’t tell her to fuck off.This was terrible news and I resented how casually she was delivering it to me.Two years earlier, I could date anyone I wanted and now I was apparently a “sickie” who couldn’t date anyone who drank anyone who didn’t? Maybe she hadn’t had success finding love in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous but she wasn’t me. At six years of sobriety, I got involved with someone who had 29 days (please, hold your applause for several of us here).