Sober — and looking for a date who understands

Originally Published: February 6, 2009 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 5, 2009
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Dear Alice,

I am an ex-hardcore drug user — speed and cocaine to heroin — with 25 months of sobriety from drugs and alcohol. Now that I do not go out to clubs or party, I am finding difficulty in relationships.

Women do not understand why I do not drink. When they ask, I tell them where drugs and alcohol have gotten me in the past. This always seems to scare them off.

I feel guilty not telling them that I used to be an intravenous drug user, but when they ask about the tattoo on my arm that symbolizes a promise to myself never to inject again I am honest about what it stands for. I never shared needles, I have been tested for AIDS/Hep-C and all of the tests have returned negative.

I am having difficulty finding someone that understands.

Dear Reader,

First of all, congratulations on your recovery and 25 months of sobriety. It sounds like you are committed to staying sober and dealing with the related challenges. Although revealing your drug and alcohol history to a potential partner may not be easy for you, it's an important part of who you are and any partner should respect your honesty and history.

Finding someone that understands may seem like a challenge at times, but it is certainly possible. Anyone looking for dating and relationship opportunities, sober or otherwise, could do well by expanding their social network. Asking friends or family members to introduce you to eligible dates, bring you along to social functions, or join other group activities together, could help you meet new people. If these dates and new acquaintances trust the friend or family member who put you in touch, s/he may be less skittish when it comes to talking about your past drug use.

There are also a number of groups for recovering users. Columbia students may join a group for early substance abuse recovery and talk with other students in similar situations. There is also an option for individual counseling through Counseling and Psychological Services. A mental health professional may help you find ways to cope with difficult social situations, and help you find strategies for dealing with difficult relationship issues.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is another option, with locations around the country. At AA, you may meet others who are dealing with similar issues in their social circles, and they may be able to offer you suggestions and strategies. Similar organizations, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), may also provide a new network of sober friends and understanding people. Whether or not going to meetings is a part of your personal recovery plan, you may find they are a good way to meet people who understand that having "a past" doesn't have to predetermine your future.

If you are interested in meeting others who are sober for a romantic relationship, there are a number of online resources for individuals seeking partners that understand substance abuse recovery and/or a desire to live a sober lifestyle. For example, these websites offer a place for sober individuals to meet:

Even though it may seem challenging, take one day at a time and stay strong in your commitment to sobriety. There are some amazing people out there who will understand your history and desire to abstain from alcohol and drugs, it just may take a little effort to find them.

Alice

June 2, 2009

21556
To the reader:

I can relate. I'm going on seven years of soberity and it is still hard to date! Most men freak out when they discover that I'm not going to be a drunk quick lay. Hang in there! You...

To the reader:

I can relate. I'm going on seven years of soberity and it is still hard to date! Most men freak out when they discover that I'm not going to be a drunk quick lay. Hang in there! You have to be true to yourself and have faith that you will not be alone. You don't want someone who can't see the courage that it takes to live as we do. Take this time to learn about yourself. The first five years of soberity are very useful in learning your sexual ideal and not needing to morph into who others think you should be. We will both find a partner who admires our perserverence!

February 20, 2009

21517
To the reader:

Congratulations on your sobriety. I recently gave up booze completely. The hardest thing was returning to a social life without booze. Many friends were shocked and some gave me...

To the reader:

Congratulations on your sobriety. I recently gave up booze completely. The hardest thing was returning to a social life without booze. Many friends were shocked and some gave me a hard time about it. I use a various scripted responses (white lies) to people who ask or pressure me to drink.

To new acquaintances:
"My stomach is very sensitive to alcohol. One drink seems to make me vomit. My doctor told me to stop before I get an ulcer. Some sort of food allergy he thinks." (A medical excuse is usually enough for people not to ask again, I've found.)

or

"I'm on blood pressure pills and the doctor told me never to mix it with alcohol." (This is true for me.)

I use this last excuse with ex-drinking buddies who just won't quit pestering: "Come on buddy, I can't. Drink as much as you want, don't let me stop you. But we don't have much of a friendship if a glass of cola is going to come between us."

On a personal note, most people will understand... but if the friend refuses to get off your back about your sobriety, YOU NEED TO FIRE YOUR DRINKING BUDDIES.