I checked "Rarely," worried that no one would want to date a 21-year-old girl who didn't drink at all. I set a limit of two hours per date, but would sometimes cut things short if I needed to.I had two rules for my potential match: no a**holes, and no big partiers. And I always kept a special dessert -- like Trader Joe's vanilla soy ice cream or snickerdoodle cookies -- waiting for me at home as a reward. At first, if I wasn't interested in someone, I would lie about why I didn't want to see him again, or just stop answering his calls. If he asked why I wasn't drinking, I had a few responses ready that I'd learned from other people in recovery: "I don't feel like drinking tonight," I might say, or "I have to get up early tomorrow," or just shrug casually: "I'm good, thanks." It never became an issue.I was hoping for someone who rarely or socially drank -- a "normie," in AA-speak. With one guy, I was so scared to end things that I just let it drag on for a month. After 90 days in AA, I lost my "sober virginity" to Steve,* a funny guy in my Greek Theater class at NYU.
Mike wasn't the first guy to be put off by my drinking.
In fact, I'd never been able to hold on to any guy for longer than a month or two.
I saw myself as a high-achieving, exceptional person who needed to "let loose" on the weekends.
So I tended to go for guys who I thought could keep me grounded: a soulful guitar player; a focused, late-bloomer theater director; a teetotal vegan actor.
All of them ended things with me after the second or third time they saw me sh*tfaced.
There was never a conversation about why they stopped getting back to me. booty calls that culminated in me just passing out on their beds. I was lonely, and I wondered if anyone would ever really love me.There were other "incidents": I seduced a guy who had a girlfriend who was out of town; I had to be reminded of a guy's name while we were hooking up; I got so drunk I peed in a guy's bed. So after quitting drinking and drugs, I also wanted to quit my disastrous dating pattern.Still stinging from Mike's rejection, I decided to date -- but casually. When you create your profile, it asks how often you drink."No major changes in the first year" is a common suggestion for newcomers in AA.It means holding off on moving, changing jobs, starting a relationship, etc. If these things don't work out -- or even if they do -- change can drive people to drink or use again.My drinking and drug use escalated so quickly in college that my life seemed in danger of becoming a cautionary tale.