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OMG! Sober Dating Is So Like...

Drunken hook-ups are easy, but finding a boyfriend, that's a total test of sobriety. You know what I mean?

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By Twinkle Powers

05/08/13

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Hi, I'm Twinkle and I'm an alcoholic. I'm in my 10th year of sobriety. I have a sponsor. I go to four meetings a week. I attempt to practice the principals in all my affairs. Soooo, dating.

Dating has been quite an adventure. When I was drinking, I never had a boyfriend. Well, there was one time I kind of did. I was friends with this gay man, Brad, who worked at the Vegan Bakery. I hung out there a lot. He told me there were rats in the basement and rat shit in the food. I ate it anyway.

Tangent: At one point I was dating this guy Tim I met there who had long blond hair and was skinny and beautiful. He was a straight edge, vegan minimalist. I thought since he didn't use, it would help me not use. He was impotent. I told Brad, and Brad said that Tim didn't eat enough fat, and that was why he was impotent, so Brad would sneak flax oil into Tim's smoothies to help me. It didn't work. After two months with Tim, something went awry. We were out at a Pescatarian establishment and I decided to have some fish. I had been newly non-vegetarain at that point because I was too spacey with the drugs and being a vegetarian. I somehow found out that eating meat might help me stop being so spacey. I didn't think that maybe stopping smoking pot all day would also help. Anway, it was the first time I had eating meat around Tim (well it was fish) and he wouldn't kiss me cause he was so grossed out that I had eaten it. He broke up with me cause I ate that fish. Okay, tangent over.

So, he was my first boyfriend. It lasted about nine hours. That was when I was about 22.

So Brad. After a while of Brad and I growing closer—remember I only knew of him as a gay man—he revealed he was attracted to me. He was really cute, so I was like, okay. One night he was over, and before we went to sleep he asked if I would be his girlfriend. I never had a boyfriend before, so this was a real opportunity to do something I felt ashamed I had never been able to do. I said, "Well, can I date other people?" And he said, "Okay, but you have to be my main squeeze." I said I would do it. We went to sleep and I had a terrible time sleeping. I've had a lot of trouble sleeping in the same bed as people. I felt so angry and tired that I couldn't sleep that night. In the morning I told him that we needed to break up. He was like, okay. He was mellow. So, he was my first boyfriend. It lasted about nine hours. That was when I was about 22.

I didn't have my next boyfriend till I was in my, shoot, maybe my fourth or fifth year of sobriety. This kid was 10 years younger than me. He was hot, fresh, and young. I didn't really see him that often. I felt like it was a practice boyfriend. It's actually hard to remember, but I think our conversations mostly annoyed me. I'm sure we had some fun times together, but can't think of them right now. That lasted eight months. I just felt so proud of myself that I had my first real boyfriend. Yes, he was driving me crazy by the end of it, but whatever.

Oh, let's back track for a minute. So, when I was using, I had a lot of one-night stands. I remember one night when I dressed up slutty and went to this bar called The Slipper Room. I met the bouncer. He wasn't hot, but I wanted to get laid. I waited till everyone went home and we were making out in one of the booths. Of course I was drunk. We almost had sex, but I was like, this guy is fat and gross, so we just did other stuff.

When I was in my first year of sobriety I had a fair amount of casual sex because I was so used to it. People warned me that I would feel emotional about it. They said avoid emotional entanglements, but I didn't feel emotional. I was numb or I just felt generally crazy, like I was on acid.

I didn't really "thaw out" till my second year. My second year I cried every day. I was so lonely. I was kind of dating someone from the program who was unavailable and was very emotionally dependent on him. It was painful.

In my third year something really amazing happened. I got a job that involved being on the road for a month. Before that, I wasn't really working, just living off savings that I was terrified of blowing through, and winding up destitute. At least I always eased my fears by the thought that maybe I could join a commune or something if things got really bad. So, I was on this job and I met a guy who was a total cocky heartthrob. He had a girlfriend back in his country. Okay, this is gross, but he had herpes on his mouth. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I rationalized that it had scabbed so much that it wouldn't be contagious. Not only did we kiss, but he also went down on me, down there! I was scared of getting herpes, but I did it anyway. Also we had sex. (Somehow, I didn't contract herpes.)

When I told my roommate about it, she made me feel bad. She said, how would you feel if you were the girlfriend. She showed me how I was harming both of them. I had never thought of it that way. She wasn't even in the program. She was just a good person with morals. Everything I've learned about how to be a good person has come from people telling me or showing me. I did not get to learn these things from my family, because that's just not how things went for me. So, I've been a slow learner, but grateful to be coming along.

Anyway, back to the story. So, the years moved on, and in my sixth year or so I attained my second boyfriend. At first I thought he was gay and that we were just hanging out as friends, because he was very feminine and artistic and wore black turtlenecks. He also mentioned that in high school he was part of something called Gay/Straight Alliance. But I was just hoping he might be straight and it turned out he was.

The first few months were really fun. He was very involved in lots of fun activities and at that point in my sobriety, I was a little stuck and depressed, and not doing that many fun activities. I actually met him at my singing group, which was one of the only fun things I did. So, we went hiking, and went to his church group, even though I'm Jewish. I was just glad to be out of my self obsession. I became very close with his family. So, I still had my issue of not being able to sleep in the bed, so I would make him sleep on the floor. I was a jerk. I realized I didn't really like him, I just liked his family and all the fun activities we did.

So, to make a long story short, a year ago I met the man of my dreams. We get along so well. It's the first time it just feels easy and right. We live together and have talked about marriage and kids. To sum up, dating has been quite a roller coaster, but I stuck it out, and am so grateful to be with this amazing, funny, smart, successful, generous, fun, supportive man.

Twinkle Powers is a sober girl living in a town in the USA.

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Last February, my oldest friend died of a heroin overdose at the age of 49. He beat me to recovery, and he beat me to death. He also gave a final, drug-alogue interview on my radio show 20 hours before he died.

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