'I was fresh meat': how AA meetings push some women into harmful dating | Society | The Guardian
Dr. Schiavo's most important dating tip for those in recovery is to: “Take in AA, says that she found the “old fashioned tips” worked best for her. Welcome to our sober dating site for people in recovery. Are you ready for a healthy relationship? We want to help you connect with like-minded single and. I've been in and out of step recovery programs (like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) for almost 20 years. I've had many.
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.
I think keeping both feet firmly planted in the reality of non-drinking life vs. Part of that reality is that some folks we wish would be willing to be our allies or more are going to opt out. I wanted to comment on one other thing not specific to this woman you are dating: I strongly feel that as a general practice, if you are pursuing someone with romantic intent, waiting a few months isn't fair to the other person. They might develop an attachment to you during that time that would make it difficult for them to make a clear-headed choice.
If I were being courted by someone, and they didn't let me know this very early in the process, I would be very perturbed, even though non-drinking isn't a deal-breaker for me. It removes my agency to make healthy decisions for myself in a timely way. One of those decisions might be that I'm not wanting to date someone who has a specific approach to not-drinking that may be at odds with my own.
Whether we think that is fair-minded or not, it exists. Otherwise, hell yeah, listen to your intuition. Maybe AA is important to you but not part of how you want to immediately present yourself to another human being. I think that is perfectly OK and does not cast dark suspicions in my mind on the validity of your recovery as if another person could ever know this.
I think the "bead" idea sounds good to me. I wouldn't lie but I also wouldn't dump it in someone's lap, nor would I appreciate it being done to me. I think saying what you have said so far is honest and real and I would appreciate the chance to ask you questions about it, and to tell you about myself in the process.
If it's just scared, I'd go against that feeling. Get it out, get it over. I don't think it's a big deal if you wait a bit until it feels more comfortable, though, as long as that doesn't turn into weeks and months.
I suspect this is the remark that prompted your date to tell you about her relative. I would say this: Just tell her and let her take the lead on how much you go into it. If you guys get off the ground there will be plenty of time to tell all. I think this is not as big of a deal as it feels like to you. I bet she has a pretty good idea of where you're coming from. I think the biggest reason to say something soon is so you can stop fretting about it.
This does not have to mean they think any less of you - it is a big and brave thing to begin recovery but I pesonally have pulled away prior because I'd want more chance of being someone who can be there for me more than I have been accustomed to. I have to say I found it incredibly difficult to do this. It might go your way and you clearly like her, just know too that there can be a lot of residue from an alcoholic family and some of us need to learn a different language.
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Not meaning to put a dampener on things, just another perspective. Keep your eye on soberity, as you must, however it pans out. I read the first few responses and raced to the bottom to reply. You do not have to fall all over yourself to tell her you're an alcoholic. Having said that and speaking from experience here. I just want to say it is important to point out that you sound like a great guy and this girl sounds like a great match.
It might not work out. If you told her casually that you don't drink and she didn't ask any follow-up questions or act uncomfortable, this is a great sign! Bad matches are overly inquisitive! If she knows about AA and feels comfortable talking to you about this, this is also an incredibly good sign! There is no ASAP and you don't have to poll your friends or the internet for the answer.
You are exactly in the right place. Operate from that standpoint. It's great being a little vulnerable. You don't know what she'll say. You may be of service in ways you don't understand by talking to her about your experience, gently and slowly. This could be the start of something great. There is no excuse to focus on failure when success is right in front of you. Not that someone is owed these details, just it's weird to not mention something you spend a good deal of time doing.
If someone was a gym rat for example and this hadn't come up in casual conversation, I'd probably wonder why. Have you discussed this issue with them?
Their response will be useful input into the quandary that you are facing. Judging by what I read in your question I feel that she will respond favorably to your disclosure. However, only you know the full extent of your conversations, how well you are matching at this point, and how to present this additional information about yourself. Talk to your sponsor, they know you better than any of us do.
I see absolutely no reason to hold back from telling her, and every reason to tell her the next time it comes up. She may have disclosed that about her family to make you feel more comfortable. I don't think telling someone that you're in recovery is some huge personal information item to unload on someone.
You can be concise about it, and she might be grateful to know that and to have the opportunity to ask you about your comfort level if she wants to drink, or to decide if she wants to date someone who is in recovery.
If you launched into a detailed story of how you got sober, that might be too much in the early stages of dating. I just think it can be more like, "Here is something to know about where I am in my life right now.7 Reasons Why You Should Not Have A Relationship Early In Recovery
If this woman was experiencing some sort of visceral OMG-this-will-never-work reaction, you probably would have already sensed that. In fact, you make it clear that you sensed no such discomfort. And I'd posit that her later disclosure regarding her relative wasn't "unrelated," at all. Rather, she was probably pleased to know it was "safe" talk to you about it; people who directly struggle through addiction aren't the only ones who worry about the attached stigma.
Recovery is a time for self-care and reflection, establishing structure and controlling urges. Most weeks, Saturday nights are spent at 12 step meetings. To be clear, no professional would ever recommend dating in early recovery. But, we have to be realistic and look at cases individually. Whether you are single and getting sober, or recovery is a part of your relationship, here are some tips to help you date smarter and safer.
Be in therapy Recovery is an ongoing process of self-discovery. A therapeutic environment is a necessity for learning more functional patterns of behavior and gaining insight into the origins of your disease.
In therapy, you will work on assessing readiness, especially for the dating game. Be upfront about your recovery Facing uncharted dating territory without your usual liquid courage can increase your risk for relapse. Facing uncharted dating territory without your usual liquid courage can increase your risk for relapse.
'I was fresh meat': how AA meetings push some women into harmful dating
It is imperative to approach this topic honestly, like you would hopefully approach the rest of the relationship. Your sobriety is a part of your life and there is no need to be ashamed of the amazing work you have done to get to this point. Being upfront, if not preemptive, will help you to reduce the chance of a slip up, avoid risky surroundings for dates and weed out the people who may be uncomfortable with dating someone in recovery.
However, it is important to consider that 12 step purports waiting one full year before starting a new relationship.