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Author Topic: navigating sobriety and dating
PepperAnne
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Member # 96715

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So, I have been completely sober for three and a bit years now. Even though dating was a dreadful experience before, it has just become exponentially more difficult. I've always had a problem with getting too intimate waaaaaaaaaay too fast, and it was causing me a lot of emotional turmoil. When I realized that drinking was the cause (and that I was trying to use it as a solution for the anguish) I stopped. So that's better, but now I feel like the sole survivor on a deserted island.

I started graduate school back in September in a new city, so I don't have any friends outside of my program. It's a small group of people and all anyone ever seems to want to do when they're not studying is get drunk. Beyond having to put up with being mocked and feeling like an outsider because I'm not drinking, hanging out in bars doesn't exactly help me meet people who share my values. It can also get annoying/depressing really quickly on the nights when I'm constantly trying to avoid getting pawed at by drunk classmates (who won't give me the time of day when they're sober).

I would like to date someone with the purpose of getting to know them, ideally with the intent of having a long-term committed relationship. I'm not necessarily one of those people for whom sex is completely off the table until marriage, but given my past experiences I don't have any desire to be intimate with someone without knowing them really well first. The problem is that this seems to be antithetical to the prevailing belief that all "romantic" relationships should be meaningless and casual.

Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to navigate the world of dating without compromising my sobriety or crossing the boundaries I've set for myself? I'm going a bit stir crazy over here!

Posts: 11 | From: Edmonton | Registered: Aug 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Kudos on taking such great care of yourself, PepperAnne. [Smile] And for putting what you need in front with this, too.

I wonder if online dating has ever been something you have tried? I ask because that's a way to easily put limits up front, and screen more easily for the kind of folks you want to be dating. It also allows you a way to take some time getting to know someone before you go out with them at all!

For sure, I'd opt out of bars or groups of drunk or getting-drunk people. Are there any AA meetings at or around your grad school? If so, that might only be a good place to get support, but also to get a little networked into a group of people who will have similar preferences, and likely also know *other* people with them, too.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68215 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PepperAnne
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Hi Heather!

I haven't tried online dating yet. It's something that I thought a fair bit about, but I'm nervous because I was acquaintances (not that close, but close enough to hear the stories) with a girl in my first year of uni who ended up being stalked by a guy she met online. I realize that it's not fair to paint all people on dating sites with the same brush, and that a number of people are going online nowadays, so I think I'd need to put some thought into a good screening process.

I honestly don't know if there are any AA meetings in the neighborhood. It's not something that I ever really thought applied to me. My grandfather was a severe alcoholic before I was born, and the stories that my dad tells are more in line with what you traditionally think of when you ask who might use those supports (e.g. drinking on a daily basis, hiding liquor from family members, lying about how much you've had, not being able to stop). I just didn't like the decisions I made when I drank.. and that sounds like I'm really trying to justify something. I just don't want to take away support from someone who needs it more. Does that make sense?

Posts: 11 | From: Edmonton | Registered: Aug 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Alas, stalking can happen no matter how we date or interact with people. I've been stalked because of the work I do, and by people I have only ever met in person. Flatly, I think it's safe to say that before meeting or giving any personal information, meeting online is probably the very safest way to meet people there is.

With AA, no one has to go who identifies as an alcoholic: that's not a requirement. Ultimately, AA is for people who have just had, or still have, their lives impacted by alcoholism and are seeking support and connection.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68215 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
OhImpecuniousOne
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I have similar problems often. [Smile] I don't have particular issues around alcohol, but I just don't really like clubs and parties that much - I struggle with all the people, I can't have conversations because I'm awful at filtering out background noise, it just doesn't really work for me as a social setting. Recently I've been poking around sites like meetup.com. They're not dating sites, but sites for finding groups of people who go out and do things you're interested in. It's not a direct line to dating, but personally I prefer that - I'd rather have circles of friends and maybe meet someone to date, if you know what I mean. If you're looking for friends as well as a partner, it might be worth looking into similar things in your area. There are a bunch of other websites like meetup; lots of local groups have facebook pages; and there will probably be university societies etc. which you might also be interested in, though you may find that they're targeted towards the 18 year-old undergrad demographic that you're trying to get away from. [Razz]
Posts: 106 | From: UK | Registered: Apr 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PepperAnne
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Member # 96715

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You know, it's such a relief to know that there are other people who don't think that clubs and partying are the be-all-end-all of socializing!

Unfortunately, a lot of the groups on campus are oriented toward the 18 year-old undergrad demographic, but you make a really good point, OhImpecuniousOne. Definitely a significant part of the problem is that the only people I know in the city are the people in my program (who are the people dragging me to bars), so it would be wonderful to make friends where that's not the focus.

I find it amusing sometimes how many people have told me that they met their bff in university, or their ten closest friends were all in the same grad program as them...but it doesn't seem to work that way if you're anything other than perfectly "normal".

Posts: 11 | From: Edmonton | Registered: Aug 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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